Older wines — reds released in 2001, 2002 and 2003 — were among the stars of this year's The Taste of History in downtown Medford. And since history was a primary theme, you could find that somewhat appropriate.
EdenVale of Medford's 2002 Cabernet Franc stood out, as did the 2001 Merlot from Paschal of Talent, 2003 Merlot from Del Rio of Gold Hill and 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon from Academy of Wine in the Applegate.
But some newer wines also made an impression. I liked Bendock Estate's French-style 2005 Pinot Noir from Cave Junction and two just-released wines from Daisy Creek of Jacksonville, 2005 Syrah and 2004 Lyon Red. The latter is a pleasing blend of 48 percent merlot, 48 percent syrah and 4 percent viognier (the three other wines Daisy Creek makes).
Some others of note during the downtown Medford tour on June 9 were 2005 Pinot Noir from Crater Lake Cellars of Shady Cove, 2004 Merlot from Devitt of the Applegate, Accolade Sparkling Chardonnay from LongSword of the Applegate, 2004 Late Harvest White from Madrone Mountain of the Applegate, 2003 Anna Maria Claret from Valley View of Ruch and 2005 Viognier from RoxyAnn of Medford.
Two new stops enhanced this year's tour, Elements Tapas Bar & Lounge and 38 on Central wine bar, both with superior food and superior wines.
IT SEEMS THAT ALMOST every time you turn around there's a new wine tasting room in Southern Oregon. Two participants in The Taste of History can be added to that growing list:
- Daisy Creek Vineyard, 675 Shafer Lane, Jacksonville, 899-8329, www.daisycreekwine.com, open by appointment. Look for good viognier ($19), merlot ($14), syrah ($18) and the aforementioned blend called Lyon Red ($16). There is no tasting fee.
- Windridge Vineyard/Bendock Estate, 2789 Holland Loop Road, Cave Junction, 592-5333, www.windridgevineyard.com. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday in summer, weekends in off-season or by appointment. Look for the excellent Bendock Estate 2005 Pinot Noir that sells for about $26. They also pour wines from LongSword, Daisy Creek and Madrone Mountain. No tasting fee.
SIX OF THE REGION'S SMALLER wineries/vineyards plan a "boutique winery tasting" from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 30, at Sams Valley Vineyard, 1015 McDonough Road, Gold Hill. Participants are Cliff Creek of Sams Valley, Crater Lake Cellars of Shady Cove, Daisy Creek of Jacksonville, LongSword and Madrone Mountain of the Applegate Valley and 12 Ranch Winery of Klamath County. There is no admission charge. Carriage rides and food will be available. For more details, call 855-9819.
EDEN VALLEY ORCHARDS, home of EdenVale winery, is again presenting a summer "Jazz in the Gardens" series. A variety of local jazz musicians perform every Thursday through Sept. 13 from 6 to 9 p.m. The cover charge is $5. Light fare will be available, along with wine, beer and soft drinks. All ages are welcome. Eden Valley Orchards is at 2310 Voorhies Road, Medford. For more information call 512-2955.
- Three reds from Gravity Hills of Paso Robles, Calif.: Killer Climb Syrah ($40), Base Camp Syrah ($15) and Tumbling Tractor Zinfandel ($15). These are three enjoyable wines. The more expensive syrah is a little better than the other, especially after it's had time to breathe. The zinfandel also improves after a day or two.
- And three new reds from Kendall-Jackson of Santa Rosa, Calif.: 2004 Grand Reserve Merlot ($26), 2004 Vintner's Reserve Merlot ($18) and 2003 Meritage ($12). The Meritage, a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc, is my favorite of this group and quite a deal for the money (really cheap for a meritage). I didn't care for the less-expensive merlot. The Grand Reserve is superior.
Cleve Twitchell is a retired Mail Tribune editor and columnist. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.