CELLAR SELECTS

Non-Bordeaux Beauties

Abacela 2008 Tempranillo, Southern Oregon • $20 (1835 cases) 

The class of a classy class continues to be Abacela’s skillful take on Temp. A crescendo of components and beautiful balance are what it’s all about here. Expansive flowers, hints of coffee and caramel on the nose, plush blackberry in the mid mouth supported by silky tannins.

Cliff Creek 2006 Estate Syrah, Southern Oregon • $25 (1760 cases)
Another winner from a winery that’s making a singular statement with its rendition of the Rhone valley’s regal red wine grape. A chorus of full, distinctive flavors — cocoa, cola, almonds, smoke, leather, cassis — blend harmoniously in the mouth. Drinking nicely now, but well balanced for cellaring.

Chateau Lorane 2006 Tempranillo, Umpqua Valley • $20 (76 cases)
This is an irresistible immediate drinker that offers dark chocolate and earthiness with hints of smoke and youthfully fresh fruit. Not complex but very tasty.

Abacela 2008 Syrah, Southern Oregon • $19 (292 cases)
Youthfulness keeps this deep, dense wine from showing its full potential. But a slightly hard edge can’t hide the expansive fruit whose rich, plummy and bright berry flavors lie just beneath the surface waiting to burst forth with a bit more time in the bottle.

Kandarian 2009 “Anomaly” Mystery Block Zinfandel, Applegate Valley • $20 (100 cases)
Who says Zinful wine comes only from California? This Southern Oregon Applegate Valley example proves otherwise. Juicy, red cherry fruit is complemented by a dollop of chocolate and bit of butterscotch. The result is a flavor-filled quaff you’ll want to pop in your mouth like candy.

Delfino 2008 Tempranillo, Umpqua Valley • $25 (156 cases)
Lots of flavor makes for current drinkability with considerable character. Tasters said sí; sí to coffee, chocolate, cherry, caramel and currants all wrapped in an invitingly soft, round robe.

Viento 2008 Chukar Ridge Vineyard Tempranillo, Columbia Valley • $24 (48 cases)
Looks like the only way to savor the rich, round, black cherry, mint and clove flavors of this gem with the promise to gain even more character in the years ahead, is to drop by the winery. A long, lingering finish makes this Spanish ex-pat even more memorable.

Seufert 2007 “Flying Figurehead” Syrah, Columbia Valley • $20 (200 cases)
Syrah is supposed to be big and bold. But when a robust physique leads to a soft, supple core, it becomes a tantalizing teddy bear of round, ripe flavors. Jammy, juicy, yummy marionberry with a touch of honey lend the tastiness to this black beauty.

The Oregon Wine Press tasting panel has selected the following wines based on overall quality and value within their respective categories. To the best of our knowledge, they are currently available in the retail marketplace. But a call to the winery or your favorite wine merchant will best determine where they may be purchased. The above wines have met the following criteria: Produced by an Oregon winery; retail price up to $25 per 750 ml bottle for all still table wines except Pinot Noir, which can be up to $35, $25 per 375 ml bottle for dessert and $35 for 750 ml sparkling wines.  All wines must be currently available to consumers. Recommended wines were selected using a double-blind method and a 20-point ranking system for appearance, aroma, taste, balance and finish.

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