Panel explores non-Bordeaux big reds
In the season of cozy fireplaces and wintry landscapes, turn to Oregon’s diverse red wine offerings perfect
for warming you inside out. From inky Syrah to savory Tempranillo, plus interesting varietals from Italy and southwest France, Oregon wine intrigues the palates of even the most adventurous wine drinkers.
Maryhill Winery 2012 Columbia Valley Syrah
With flavors as dark as the inky purple that fills the glass, this smoky Syrah tickles the nose with pipe tobacco, violets, cedar, vanilla and forest floor with a surprising note of honeysuckle, too. Concentrated flavors of dark cherry, cocoa, dried prune and vanilla finish with a flinty memory.
$26; 639 cases
Abacela 2012 Umpqua Valley Barrel Select Syrah
While this Syrah smells somewhat like Grandmother’s kitchen, with baking notes of warm sugar, marzipan, dried plums, vanilla and light floral notes, the palate is far more masculine with smoked meat flavors backed by an appealing tannin texture, balanced acidity and a viscous, warming mouthfeel.
$29; 285 cases
Ledger David Cellars 2013 Rogue Valley Syrah
Aromas of boysenberry syrup, plum preserves, vanilla, baking spices and sweet pipe tobacco conjure up the scene of a cozy breakfast by the fireplace. On the palate, those purple fruity flavors become layered with red currant, vanilla, spice and leather. A complex yet welcoming wine with a lingering finish.
$42; 83 cases
Folin Cellars 2012 Rogue Valley Tempranillo
Earthy aromas of medium-roast coffee, toasted hazelnuts, tea leaves and bay leaf are joined on the palate by raspberry, peach pit and toasted oak. Beautifully balanced, the wine can be enjoyed with, or without, food. Described as “sexy and feminine” and as “one swell wine,” — sounds like a “helluva gal.”
$32; 200 cases
Abacela 2012 Umpqua Valley Barrel Select Tempranillo
From a winery known for its leadership in crafting this varietal comes this 16th release. Smoked meat — sweet mesquite — presents as the dominant aroma and flavor, including the caramelization resulting from roasting mixed with spice and cola notes.
$32; 596 cases
Silvan Ridge 2013 Rogue Valley Tempranillo
Aromas of coffee grounds, tea leaves and spice predict a savory palate with the fruitiness of strawberry leather, dried prunes and cherry reduction. Bright acid enlivens the mature flavors of the wine that “drinks beyond its years.”
$26; 240 cases
Abacela 2013 Umpqua Valley Tannat
Here’s an opportunity to try a rare varietal, Tannat, more commonly grown in southwest France and an important variety in Uruguay. Cola, menthol, basil, cherries and black licorice on the nose. Its well-integrated flavors of clove-studded oranges, orange oil and cigar smoke get a lift from a bright citrus top note.
$30; 73 cases
Delfino 2012 Umpqua Valley Zinfandel
Looking for a sophisticated, savory representation of Zinfandel? Expect those berry flavors — blackberry, cranberry, etc. — and then get ready for an uncharacteristic mix of forest, pine needles and sweet resin. Forget the heat often associated with this lush varietal; this Zin is beautifully balanced and would play very nicely with food, especially an Oregon blue cheese.
$27; 257 cases
Maryhill 2012 Columbia Valley Barbera
Barbera, classic to the Piemonte (Piedmont) area of northwest Italy, finds a home in the Pacific Northwest, resulting in a savory wine smelling of tobacco leaves, smoke, roasted meat, fern, moss and muted red fruit. The palate adds dark purple berry, spicy cherry and grassy notes. On first sip, expect a burst of flavor that lingers through a long, gentle finish.
$26; 589 cases
Delfino 2012 Umpqua Valley Dolcetto
Like a summer breeze through an Italian country meadow, this wine wafts in with light floral, herbal notes, and then glides across the palate with a lovely raspberry flavor. Soft tannins add to the wine’s approachability, and a hint of salinity on the tongue — the sneaky addictive trick of potato chips — means you will crave sip after sip.
$25; 117 cases
Quady North 2014 Rogue Valley “Bomba” Grenache
A happy little wine, uncomplicated and ready to drink — perhaps, even slightly chilled. Cherry cobbler, cinnamon, strawberry, floral and candied notes present in the aroma and on the palate. A self-proclaimed fruit “bomb(a),” what’s not to like?
$25; 200 cases
TeSóAria 2014 Umpqua Valley Bull’s Blood
A “bloody” farce worthy of Monty Python, the Bull’s Blood tale can be found on TeSóAria’s website. Using the only commercially grown Kadarka grapes in the U.S., the wine’s aroma is quite fruity with rich, dark cherry tart, plus baking aromas of yeast and toast, as well as floral notes of sweet pea. Surprising flavors of black licorice, pepper and stewed plums follow on the palate.
$30; 625 cases
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 marketplace. Wine must be: 1) produced by an Oregon winery; 2) priced according to schedule below*; and 3) 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.