Tasting Notes – Oregon Applegate Wineries and Southern Oregon
On our way to the Willamette Valley, we spent a delightful afternoon wending our way up the Applegate Trail.
The Applegate Trail, was used since 1846, as a southern alternative to the western-most segment of the Oregon Trail, with its users leaving the original Oregon City-bound Oregon Trail route near Ft. Hall, in what is now southeastern Idaho, and following the California Trail west along the Humboldt River, to where the Applegate Trail branched off to the northwest. The trail was considered as being safer, quicker, and more secure from potential British control should war break out over the Oregon Question, the trail (which was also known as Applegate's Cut-off, the Southern Emigrant Road, and simply as the South Road or Southern Road during its main period of use, (1846-1860) was intended to bring wagon trains of settlers into the Willamette Valley. Although the number of emigrants who used the Applegate Trail was limited, it played a part in the settling of the Rogue River Valley during the 1850s.
The grape varieties in this area are surprising given the predominance of Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley. Rhone Valley varietals can be found in abundance here along with Tempranillo and other Spanish grape varieties.
Our first stop, Valley View had a charming, modern tasting room and offered delicious Rhone Valley varieties along with a great Tempranillo (we were fast finding out that these varieties are typical of that area of Oregon), along with a sensational late harvest Sauvignon Blanc.
Our next winery visit, Devitt, offered a cozy, rustic ambiance along with terrific representations of the local wine varieties such as Viognier, along with Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Our travels next took us to the quaint tasting room of John Michael Champagne Cellars where we sampled some amazing sparkling wines and a sparkling sake (a first)!!, Definitely worth a visit.
Plaisance Ranch was our next stop. Plaisance owned by Joe Ginet is actually a working ranch. Actually, it’s a number of things including a cultivation stop for root stock. We had an amazing tour with the owner, Joe, in between sampling Plaisance’s fantastic wines. We particularly loved the Merlot and Syrah.
We made a real find discovering Abacela Winery. Tucked away on Lookingglass road near Roseburg, this exquisite winery has delectable wines and an amazing tasting room. Varieties include Albarino, Tempranillo, an amazing Malbec and a port made from Portuguese port varieties. Definitely worth a stop.
For a total different pace, Spangler Vineyards offered a rustic, cozy tasting room with some great wines such a very nice Claret, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. Fun atmosphere to relax and enjoy
Another truly great discovery was Evening Land Vineyards. Their tasting room is tucked away in Dundee, Oregon, Evening Land offers a true Red and White Burgundy along with a great Gamay. Plan on stopping for a while to work through the wonderful wines.
Panther Creek was one memorable stop with their phenomenal range of Pinot Noir. Located downtown McMinnville, stop by to sample some truly great Pinot. Quaff wine that helped to build the Willamette Valley reputation for amazing Pinot Noir.
Brooks Wines is another great find. Located in Amity, it boasts some truly unique wines and some fantastic Riesling unlike any others.
Firesteed Cellars in Rickreall is another must stop to sample more of the fresh fruit Pinot that Oregon is so famous for.