Southern Oregon Wine Adventure . . Day One

As a belated birthday present, my wife and I ventured south to the Rogue and Applegate Valleys in order to sample some of Oregon’s great warm weather varietals.  Part of the plan was to hit one of our wine club locations and as many others in that area as possible.

We left our home in the Portland area and hit the road south on I-5.  We arrived in the Applegate Valley region about 12:30.  Our first stop was Schmidt Family Vineyards.  We decided to sample their full flight of 6 wines.  I started with the Pinot Gris . . which for me is a tough call, because for the most part, I really don’t like Pinot Gris.  This one was in that grouping. . . not great.  Second came their Viognier, a staple white varietal for this warm weather area.  Much better . . . fruity, tart, and with a bit of acidity.  Nice choice for the patio on a warm afternoon.  Their Rose’ falls into this category also, fruity and light . . . nice sipper.  Their single varietals (Syrah, Malbec) were just OK. . . nothing worth mentioning for me.  I did actually like and purchase their Smoke Stack Red, a 50/50 blend of Syrah and Cab Sauv.  Much better together.

Our next stop was Troon Vineyards, the Mothership of the club we belong to in Carlton.    I’ve written a bit about their delicious wines in a previous blog about the McMinnville Sip.  Our favorites continue to be Druid’s Fluid (both Red and white) and their Insomnia port-style.  Too wonderful for words.

We came upon an unexpected stop next at Bridgeview Vineyards.  I’d seen their wines before in the store and we decided to give them a try.  I will cut to the chase . . .for me. . .most offerings were not to my liking.  The only ones they had that were deemed palatable were their Riesling and Gewurztraminer.  We did walk away with their Sweet Riesling, it was the best choice in what we tasted.

Our last stop on Day One (Friday 5/22/15) was in quaint and picturesque Jacksonville, Oregon and Quady North Winery.  Herb Quadywas winemaker for Troon Vineyards for 10 years, and has been growing Quady North since 2006.  His take on the grape varietals that grow in this part of the PacNW is unique and definitely must be checked out.

  • First out was Pistoleta . . a white Rhone blend consisting of Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc.  This a fantastic white, very fruity with plenty of citrus notes.  Slightly dry, as befits the varietals, but in my mind at least, exactly the right amount of dryness.  Superb!
  • Next was his Rose’ of Grenache.  My favorite grape for Rose’s is Grenache and this beauty did not disappoint.  Wonderfully supple and fruit forward as well as a mouth-watering dry finish.
  • Now. . the one I was waiting for. . .GSM!  For those who don’t know, GSM is wine short-hand for Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre . . .  the grapes this loveliness was derived from and a staple wine blend of the Rhone Valley of France.  You may hear wines such as this described as a Cotes du Rhone blend.  Most typically that means the primary grape is Grenache.  The other players to change somewhat, with Syrah or Merlot generally playing the largest supporting role.   But I digress . . . The GSMwas so wonderfully fruit-forward and smooth. . . like velvet.  The tannins, while bold in this blend, were perfectly aligned and silky.  All in all the GSM was exceptionally well balanced and luscious.  A definite jewel in Herb’s crown.
  • We got a chance to sample his ’09 Syrah 4-2-A.  There was quite a story of involved in the re-acquisition of this  library offering, but I’ll let you visit and get the straight scoop yourself.  It too was exceptionally smooth and hardy at the same time.  It showed a wonderful fruitfulness as well as the boldness that is great Syrah.  Another huge plus.
  • The final sample of the day was a dessert wine that was different than any other I had tried before.  Essensia is full-bodied sweet wine made from Orange Muscat grapes.  This wine was developed and continues to be produced by Herb’s family winery in California, Quady Winery.  To me it was like drinking Orange Sherbet . . . so luscious, decadent and refreshing all at once. A terrific way to complete our first day of our wine adventure in the Applegate Valley.


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