The zinfandel was made with grapes from the Alexander Valley of California, but future zins will have estate-grown fruit. The syrah is young but enjoyable.
Future Agate Ridge wines will include grenache, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon.
Agate Ridge's winemaker is Will Brown, who studied with Sarah Powell and Gus Janeway at RoxyAnn Winery in Medford. The winery's label suggests an image of nearby Mount McLoughlin. Its wines are sold at the winery, through its wine club and at a few retail outlets and restaurants.
Tasting room hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. While some area wineries now charge tasting fees, Kinderman decided against it, explaining, "I'm proud of my wines, and I want people to taste them."
IF YOU HAVEN'T BEEN out to the RoxyAnn Winery tasting room for a while, you'll be in for a surprise. They have expanded the tasting room — really expanded it.
The new space occupies most of the interior of the historic (circa 1900) barn at Hillcrest Orchards. "We've tried to maintain the character of the historic barn," says Michael Donovan, the winery's managing director.
Patrons can sample wine at a 360-degree bar or sit at one of several tables. A second bar seats up to eight people for wine and food-pairing seminars.
There's more space for displays of the wines that RoxyAnn sells — both its own label and those of custom crush customers. Refrigeration units are stocked with cheeses, meats and fruits. Visitors could create their own picnic. There's an emphasis on local products from firms like Gary West, Rogue Creamery, Harry & David and Dagoba Chocolate.
A farmer's market, featuring produce from Hillcrest and Carpenter orchards, will open outside the barn on June 20.
The old tasting area will be converted into a conference room. The new space is available for rent for private parties after 7 p.m. It can accommodate groups of 30 to 50 people, says Donovan. RoxyAnn does wine but not food, he mentions, so anyone wishing to have a party there should line up a caterer.
DOWNTOWN MEDFORD'S "THE TASTE OF HISTORY" comes up Saturday, June 9. Hours are 1 to 5 p.m. The tour starts at Vogel Plaza and visits about 15 stops around downtown, each serving food and wine or other beverages. Several historic buildings also are on the tour. Tickets are $25. They will be sold at Vogel Park on the day of the event, or those interested can make reservations online at www.thetasteofhistory.com. For more information, call 821-1774.
ALSO SAMPLED RECENTLY:
- Edgefield 2005 Chardonnay. If you dine at a McMenamins restaurant, like the North Bank in Eugene, you may find that all the wines on the list are Edgefield. That's because of an ownership connection between the two. This chardonnay is a good choice. It's made from grapes grown in the Rogue and Columbia valleys and also Yamhill County (McMinnville). The result is a nice, somewhat fruity, not overly oaked white for about $14 retail, $20 at the restaurant.
- Kendall-Jackson 2006 Sauvignon Blanc. This one is better than many sauvignon blancs I've tasted, with smooth, tropical fruit flavors. It's $11.
- Kendall-Jackson 2005 Syrah (Jackson Estates grown). It's just average on the first day but gets better. I found it delicious on day three. Price is $12.
Cleve Twitchell is a retired Mail Tribune editor and columnist. E-mail him at email@example.com