"quality," or lack thereof... - Printable Version

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- cpurvis - 01-12-2001 04:51 PM

Note: This could just as well go in the Rants thread.

The wine writer for the local paper recently lauded the "quality" of southern Oregon reds. Perhaps he lives in some other s. Oregon. The grapes being grown here are becoming known for quality, but the wines produced here haven't caught up.

As Bucko knows, Griffin Creek & a couple of others do have decent offerings. However they are in price ranges that I generally avoid..$25+. And why would anyone pay $38 for a Tempranillo from the Umpqua Valley when very good Spanish reds can be had for less than half the price?!! As we all know, higher prices don't necessarily equal higher quality anyway.

For example, Valley View Winery, one of the larger producers in this region, produces an "Anna Maria" label for varietals/years that are considered very good..thus, it's a reserve label (all at $20+). A recent tasting of the Anna Maria Merlot, Zin & Cabernet was (I'm being generous here) unimpressive.

I can get better merlot for $6-8 at local stores. The Cab was a very light style, drinkable w/ some red fruit but no complexity. And the zin...well, IMHO they've simply insulted the varietal with their version. The grapes come from someone's bad idea of a local east/southeast facing bench. The $3 cheapo discount Foxhorn label would probably fair well against the VV in a blind tasting.

Am still tasting my way through Illinois Valley offerings, but have found no particularly appealing reds yet (from Foris, etc.)

The one glimmer of hope here is Ashland Vineyards in the Rogue Valley: the reds are produced for consumption on release (they claim an 8yr cellar life, but IMO you would have a dead, brown "red"). At $10-12, the merlot and cab are both good, & the Millenium blend of cab. sauv./cab. franc (made for the local restaurant trade) is a decent table red. The '96 cab (current release) is dominated by the most distinct black cherry flavor I've tasted in a cab.

Will continue to search for local quality. I am certainly open to feedback & recommendations on other s. Oregon wines to try (Bucko & CCK may have some thoughts?).

- Bucko - 01-12-2001 05:26 PM

**As we all know, higher prices don't necessarily equal higher quality anyway.**

The BIG point in wine drinking that so many miss....

CA, OR, and WA (to a point) are going to price themselves out of the market. So many European counterparts are cheaper and of higher quality, especially in the Rhone-styled wines. Rhone and Loire wines offer exceptional value and have no equal peers IMHO.


- barnesy - 01-12-2001 05:34 PM

Have you tried La Garza Cellars? To my recollection, they had some nice, inexpensive offerings in their reds. They are right off of I5 in Roseburg.


- cpurvis - 01-12-2001 06:06 PM

Haven't tried La Garza. Girardet (also in the Umpqua Valley) makes some inexpensive, table quality reds.

I should have been more specific in noting that my Southern Oregon complaint pertains to the Rogue Valley appellation, incl. the Rogue, Applegate & Illinois valleys.

Note: the Applegate Valley, reportedly at the request of The Academy winery, has now also been granted appellation status.

[This message has been edited by cpurvis (edited 01-12-2001).]