recently visited Oregon, I purchased only a single bottle, a high end Tempranillo from Abacela Vineyards. It was a most impressive wine.
Abacela Vineyards and led us on a tour of the winery. Living with his wife, Hilda, in Pensacola, Florida, Earl had a passion for Spanish wine, specifically the Tempranillo grape. From that passion spawned the question for Earl whether Tempranillo could be successfully grown in the U.S.or not. As he searched for an appropriate region, he found that Southern Oregon occupied a similar latitude as sections of northern Spain, including parts of Ribera del Duero and Rioja. Further analysis and investigation, including consultation with his son Greg, led him to believe that Tempranillo could potentially do well in this area. So, in 1992, he purchased land on south sloping hillsides in Umpqua Valley, hoping to fulfill a dream.
Wildlife Safari, trading hay for manure, which they will use for compost/fertilizer. Like many other Oregon wineries, they care about the environment, and work towards supporting it, rather than working against it.
Greg has assisted his father in understanding the climate, soil and terroir of the estate. In 2013, they have only had about 8.8 inches of rain so far, which is unusual, and they expect to harvest, only hand harvesting, about 200 tons of grapes. Earl stated that it is still too early to determine the signature grape of Southern Oregon. Though he, and now other wineries, are having success with Tempranillo, more time and experimentation is still necessary. Earl conducts plenty of experiments, from different grapes to different barrels. It is a continual learning experience, gathering lots of data each year, constantly seeking to improve.
As we toured the winery, we sipped some of their 2012 Grenache Rosé ($16). They crop tbeir Grenache differently for their rosé than they do their red, and Earl noted that Grenache can be a challenging grape as it needs a long time to ripen. The rosé undergoes only four hours of skin contact, giving it a nice, pink color, and it has an alcohol content of 13.1%. It reminded me more of a French rosé, dry and with restrained but complex red fruit flavors. Delicious, and the type of rosé I prefer to drink.
Besides Spanish and Portuguese grapes, Abacela also does well with their 2009 Malbec ($25), a smooth and approachable wine with lush black fruit flavors and plenty of spicy notes. Good complexity and a long finish enhance this wine. The 2009 Estate Syrah ($30) is another easy drinking wine, big and fruity with restrained tannins and mild spice and earth elements.
This was an amazing wine, and reminded me of some high end Spanish Tempranillo wines. From its alluring aromas to its complex melange of flavors, this wine impressed from start to finish. I think it was very drinkable now, and will continue to remain strong for years to come. It is difficult to describe this wine, which is something you need to experience and which mere words cannot adequately encapsulate. Each sip brings new flavors to mind, and it is a wine to slowly savor over dinner, with great friends. Earl should be extremely proud of the Paramour, and this wine is evidence of how well Tempranillo can be produced in Southern Oregon.
Clear Creek Distillery, and aged this Tawny for five years in neutral oak. Only 200 cases were produced and it has an alcohol content of 19%.
A delicious and complex taste, with plenty of flavor, including raisin, fig, ripe plum, caramel, and nutty notes. Very concentrated flavors, well balanced, smooth and with a lingering finish. In a blind taste test with Portuguese Tawny Ports, you would likely be hard pressed to pick out the Abacela.