Southern Oregon and Spain share a similar latitude, making Tempranillo grapes the perfect choice among Applegate and Rogue Valley vintners. The final outcomes are softer and lighter than similar varietals produced in Northern California wine regions. So, it’s no wonder that 318 acres of the 414 total acres of the varietal planted in Oregon are located in Southern Oregon. They’ve been generating award-winning Tempranillo at competitions up and down the West Coast.
Pick a self-guided tour and head out this weekend, or anytime, for your own taste test. Great views, hospitality, (and wine, of course!) at each of them.
Ashland Tempranillo Tour
Co-owner Al Silowbitz’s white Tempranillo is a fruity, golden elixir. In a process devised by his notable winemaker, Linda Donovan, the juice and grape skins are separated and not merged back together. The result is a crisp and smooth wine down to the last drop. His gold-winning traditional Tempranillo hints at black cherries and hidden spices. Altogether, the white Tempranillo is vastly different than the red. While still sharing some characteristics, it’s more subtle than the classic pronounced flavors.
Weisinger Family Winery
Weisinger’s 2014 Estate Tempranillo won double gold at the 2018 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Wine Press Northwest Platinum, and Best in Show at the 2017 Oregon Wine Experience. Notes of cracked pepper and purple raspberries characterize this awarding-winning wine, making it a striking and memorable glass. The winery’s philosophy uses the simplest methods possible so that the fruit can do what it is supposed to. Using as little oak as possible allows the grapes to ripen and be processed as purely as they can, creating rich and fruity wines.
The Kerwin Family and their winemaker, Heather Nenow, draw on the traditions of Spain, France, and Italy, to create some of the most established wines in Southern Oregon. With pronounced characteristics of fresh cedar and classic spices, Belle Fiore’s 2014 Tempranillo took home a gold from the Cascadia Wine Competition in early 2018. The tasting room, with its iconic Italian architecture and gardens, boasts acclaimed views to the west of Ashland hills and sunsets.
Tempranillo Tasting From Medford to White City
Eden Valley Orchards
The land began as an abundant pear orchard that gradually transitioned to wine grapes, with one of their first offerings a Tempranillo. A double gold winner at the 2016 Wine Experience, Eden Valley Orchards’ 2008 Tempranillo was barrel aged for three to four years and bottled aged for two to three years before the first glass was poured. Its other, “Crianza” Tempranillo, has an age life of only eighteen months, producing a lighter and more tangible flavor.
2Hawk Vineyard and Winery
The 2015 Darrow Series Tempranillo is named after the vineyard’s most popular soil type. Grown in the Bear Creek sub-basin, 2Hawk’s grapes thrive in a land rich with volcanic layers under the surface. The unique soil types provided 2Hawk Winery owners, Jen and Ross Allen, the opportunity to understand the importance of the vineyard. Oregano, leather, and cherry liqueur comprise this Tempranillo’s flavor profile. The winery suggests keeping the wine in a cellar until 2020 for optimal quality and richness. Since earning 24 awards in 2016, the 2Hawk has continued to garner attention for its winemaking style. This winery offers the most extensive lunch options on the tour with charcuterie, salads, flatbread pizzas, and wraps.
Opened in 2003, the winery tasting room is set in a 118-year old “honor barn”. Since renovated to a larger space in keeping with its historic roots, the tasting room offers ample indoor and outdoor seating, an extensive organic wine selection and tapas from the gourmet kitchen. Although their Claret and Viognier might be better known, the 2014 Tempranillo shines with a dense concentration of fruits, specifically raspberry, blueberry, blackberry and rhubarb on the palate, with notes of leather and oak.
Kriselle Cellars is situated near the beautiful Rogue River, which means their soil consists of bed rock. The challenge to their vineyard has given the grapes character and resilience. The attention to wines that go well with Southern Oregon summers gives favor to Kriselle’s Tempranillo. When you try a bottle of the 2014 Tempranillo, you’ll think of ripe plums, mocha undertones, and blackberries. The recommended pairings with this wine are chile rellenos and smoked meats. The 2013 Tempranillo won silver at this year’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, and their 2014 is just as delicious.
Applegate Valley Tempranillo Tour
Before you head out for your afternoon in the Applegate: The new Jefferson Farm Kitchen offers an eclectic to-go menu of sandwiches and salads using all organic locally-sourced ingredients.
Valley View Winery
Grown on vines planted in 1976, the Pioneer Reserve was bottled back in 2011. Perfectly aged and teeming with history, this wine contains tannin, red plum, and blackberry notes. Whether you decide to enjoy the wine right as you purchase or well into the future, Valley View Winery guarantees a consistent and aged wine (sipping on the wine in the 100-year old converted hay barn wouldn’t be a bad idea, either).
Red Lily Vineyards
With 500 cases in the cellar, Red Lily’s Tempranillo fuses together flavors of fig and black cherry. What the winery describes as a “full mouthfeel” is a vibrant and complex glass that reveals why Tempranillo sets Red Lily apart. The vineyards’rich soil ha provided the ideal medium for Tempranillo. Founder and Owner Rachel Martin and her team have established a foundation of Tempranillo winemaking now commonplace to the Applegate Valley.
Although tobacco might be a turnoff if someone used this to describe a wine, it undoubtedly is a positive for this Tempranillo. Along with flavors of tobacco are leather and herbs, resulting in a full-bodied varietal from the first glass to the last. Plaisance Ranch doubles in winemaking and raising beef organically.
Crushing each grape by foot at Troon Vineyard has been integral to the winery’s back to basics, biodynamic approach. Two different Tempranillo have come out of their manual process: the 2016 Troon Bistro Selection Tempranillo and the 2015 Vineyard Selection. The idea behind the Bistro Selection was for guests to enjoy a younger wine with old world traditions. All Troon wines originate from LIVE and Salmon Safe certified vineyards. Fermentations are native and no enzymes, acids or sugar are used at any point in production.
Schmidt Family Vineyard
Nestled in the pristine countryside of Grants Pass, Schmidt Family Vineyard is long known for their expansive and arresting gardens surrounding the tasting room. It has also produced two Tempranillo wines just a year apart. A true family business, owners Cal and Judy Schmidt, along with one of their sons Rene, work closely together to actualize their winemaking dreams.
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