Five Essential Southern Oregon Wines
Kriselle Cellars – Sauvingon Blanc
There aren’t as many whites coming out of Southern Oregon as there are reds, but that doesn’t mean those that do are any less mighty. Kriselle Cellars Sauvingon Blanc is a fantastically complex wine, with a smooth yet vibrant feel and a nice long finish. It has hints of caramelized pineapple and passion fruit with a light citrus vibe.
Plaisance Ranch – Pinot Noir
Paul Giamatti’s character explained Pinot Noir thusly in Sideways: “Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot’s potential can then coax it into its fullest expression.” While he didn’t specifically name-check Plaisance Ranch, they embody the sentiment. Plaisance’s Pinot Noir is a sleek, surprising wine, with a bold smoky flavor courtesy of a cherry tartness and hints of berries, an acidity balanced by hints of truffle. How do you feel about that Mr. Giamatti? “oh its flavors, they’re just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and… ancient on the planet.” Darn right. Now scram out of Napa and get thee to the Rogue Valley.
Jaxon – Forte (merlot/malbec/cab franc/syrah blend)
Jaxon’s Forte is the wine equivalent of a super-group, bringing together a bounty of top-notch grapes for a greatest hits experience in your mouth. There are hints of spice and tobacco, supple textures, aromas of violet and minerals and a delicate finish that lingers like a boss. That’s why Forte has won a Rogue’s gallery of awards, including double gold at the 2015 Oregon Wine Awards, Best of Show in the 2015 Southern Oregon Grape Fair, and silver at the 2015 Sunset International Wine Competition. It’s like the Rhonda Rousey of local wine; it will knock you right out cause it can’t be beat.
Red Lilly Vineyard – Tempranillo
After being forgotten for a while, Tempranillo is making a comeback in Southern Oregon, with its bright and bold style coming back into vintner vogue. Red Lilly Vineyard is killing it with their Tempranillo, dishing out a wine chock full of lush aromas and flavors, everything from ripe currants to hints of spice and chocolate, all of it concentrated and supported by a bevy of chewy tannins.
Roxy Anne Winery – Claret
Another panty-dropping red blend is Roxy Anne Winery’s claret, bringing together Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Petite Verdot / Carmenere, and aging them for 18 months in oak barrels for a dark and lush wine, with touches of mocha beneath flavors of ripe currant and blackberry.