'Best Red Wine' in Northwest is local

Quady North Winery of the Applegate Valley has won a major regional award. Its 2006 Flagship Syrah was voted the Northwest's Best Red Wine at the annual Northwest Wine Summit held recently, selected from among thousands of entries from throughout the Northwest, including British Columbia.

Grapes for the syrah came from the Applegate Valley estate of the late Frank Ferreira, who passed away in 2008. Winemaker Herb Quady started the Quady North winery with his family in 2006 and recently opened a tasting room in Jacksonville.

Quady also is winemaker at Troon, so the results of the competition were good news for that winery, as well. Wines made by Quady won a total of 10 medals, four of them gold. Eight of the medals were for Troon, and two for Quady North.

Speaking of the "best red" award, Quady says, "I think the honor is a great one, not just for us, but for the Applegate Valley and Southern Oregon in general."

Other Southern Oregon wineries winning medals at the Northwest Wine Summit included Abacela, Cliff Creek, Del Rio, Henry Estate, RoxyAnn, Spangler and Volcano Vineyards.

THE REGENCY GRILL restaurant in Medford's Rogue Regency Inn has expanded and upgraded its wine list. Southern Oregon representation, which was already pretty good, has increased.

On the new list are 55 wines (excluding sparkling and dessert wines). Nearly half are Southern Oregon labels. Most of the wines are available by the glass, starting at $4.95. Bottle prices begin at $18.

Besides the expected chardonnays, merlots and cabernets, the list features a number of tempranillos, gewürztraminers and muscats. Local labels include Bridgeview, Crater Lake, Daisy Creek, Del Rio, Foris, Rosella's, RoxyAnn, Slagle Creek, South Stage, Troon, Valley View, Velocity and Wooldridge Creek.

The overall selection is commendable, with wines from Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain as well as California, Washington state and elsewhere in Oregon.

EVERY FRIDAY IS "locals night" from 5 to 9 p.m. at South Stage Cellars, the Jacksonville tasting room that features wines made from grapes grown by Don and Traute Moore of Talent. Glasses of wine cost $5, and hors d'oeuvres are complimentary, The room is at 125 S. Third St.

EIGHTEEN LOCAL WINERIES poured samples for guests at this year's The Taste of History in Medford. It was a festive event with art, history, good weather and fine wines. We'll have a report in the next column.

KENDALL-JACKSON OF CALIFORNIA is known for a variety of good basic "vintner's reserve" wines — priced from $11 to $18 and widely available in Rogue Valley supermarkets. It also offers a higher-quality, higher-priced "grand reserve" line. These start at $20 and range up to $35.

At a recent sampling, I enjoyed the bright, fruity texture of the winery's 2008 Grand Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, although it lost something after being open awhile. In contrast, the 2007 Grand Reserve Chardonnay ($21) just kept getting better with time — tasty yet gentle.

Of the three Grand Reserve reds I tried, the winner was the 2006 Merlot ($28), a rich wine with great depth and lots of flavor. The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon ($30) was notably soft, as well as flavorful. The 2005 Meritage ($35) — a blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot — seemed more average at first but improved with time.

For really serious wine fanciers, K-J has a still higher-quality line called Highland Estates, wines that have earned 92 or more points from various wine publications.

CARMEL ROAD, A MONTEREY County, Calif., winery, makes good chardonnay and pinot noir in two distinctly different price categories: $14-$16.50 and $35.

Its 2007 Monterey Chardonnay ($14) is fruity and zesty, a good buy. Meanwhile, its 2007 Arroyo Seco Chardonnay ($35) is just that much better — fruity, light, well-balanced and with a long aftertaste.

The two reds illustrate a similar path. The 2007 Monterey Pinot Noir ($16.50) is smooth and fruity, better than many more expensive California pinots. The 2006 Arroyo Seco Pinot Noir ($35) at first seems no better than the less expensive wine. But then it blossoms and is truly excellent after being open for three days.

Cleve Twitchell is a retired Mail Tribune editor and columnist. E-mail him at clevelinda@msn.com

Share This Story