Its All About the Slope: Talent’s Upper 5 Vineyard
To explain U5 it is necessary to explain the geography; after all, the name sounds more like a geological survey than a catchy vineyard name. Developed on the upper five acres (hence, U5) of the historic Bagley pear orchard, just a little above Talent, off Wagner Creek Road, the north-and-west facing slope of the land softens the effects of summer heat characteristic of the Rogue Valley—and, also offers a charming and dramatically different view of our beautiful valley.
Originally planted in 2003 with young, heat-loving Syrah, Tempranillo and Sauvignon Blanc vines, owners Terry Sullivan and Molly Morison soon added Grenache to the repertoire. Right away, Terry and Molly began application of organic practices, promptly receiving full Organic Standards Board certification. Biodynamic practices followed, and merits of their high cultivation and production standards resonate from every bottle from their small and closely watched, limited production estate. As Terry proclaims, “the best fertilizer is the footprints of the farmer,” and “wine is made in the vineyard”—typifying hands-on farm practices and hands-off winemaking; quite clear where, at U5, hands and feet belong! Indeed, such quality emerges as the norm in the up-and-coming Rogue Valley AVA.
Featured at the spring release and food-pairings club-member pickup party (partnered with chef Bryan Zenner): 2015 Sauvignon Blanc—lean, dry and refined, accompanied by spring-greens and asparagus with sweet-pea and oyster aioli; 2015 Rose of Grenache—tangy with nice acidity and fresh berry notes, fittingly balances the salty, smoky crostini of smoked salmon; 2014 Grenache—starts soft, with lingering spicy intensity; alongside seasoned lamb koftas and strawberry/rhubarb sauce; delicious and brisk; creative conflict between acidity of sauce and wine; 2013 Tempranillo—complex but gentle for a Tempranillo, yet still hearty enough to match spice and cherry notes with a rich, decadent chocolate mousse tartlet.
Winemaker John Grochau of Grochau Cellars, Amity, OR, does the honors for U5 as well. Look forward to their joint event, the Plate and Pitchfork Wine Dinner, at Grochau August 21. Also forthcoming: U5’s traditional Pig and Paella fall release event, September 24 at U5 in Talent, with new releases including 2014 Syrah and 2014 Oso Grande (40% Syrah and Grenache; 20% Tempranillo). To schedule tastings or for wine-club memberships and benefits, call (541) 285-8359, or visit upperfivevineyard.com.