Farm-to-Glass: Wine Tasting on the Applegate Valley Wine Trail

Here in Southern Oregon we love our farm-to-table culture, which has moved far beyond a trend and is safely ensconced in our everyday practices, fast headed toward the rule rather than the exception. From farmers’ markets in every community to the many farmstands dotting our lovely country roads, if it’s possible to purchase goods directly from the producer, most of us will gladly go out of our way to do so.

Farm-to-table shopping isn’t just for fruits and vegetables and eggs; it’s also what you’re doing when you go wine tasting, though you can call it farm-to-glass if you like. And when you’re tasting on The Applegate Wine Trail, you’re traveling through some of the most beautiful, fertile farmland anywhere, producing not only world-class wine grapes, but crops of all kinds, which thrive here.

There are 18 wineries growing a diversity of varietals along this Southern Oregon wine trail. Each winery has a distinctive wine program with a particular point of view and a certain winemaking philosophy. They all have great wines to try. Here’s a small taste of what you’ll find.

Three generations make up the “Family” at Schmidt Family Vineyards, which farms 30 planted acres producing 14 varietals for their predominantly estate-grown wines. Each of the 14 varietals is destined for their single-varietal bottlings, with select fruit chosen for their red and white blends. Known for their gorgeous grounds and flatbread pizzas.

Consider this wine: Award-winning 2012 Syrah. 90 pts. Wine Spectator. Crisp, with earthy overtones to the dark berry and spice flavors, finishing on a peppery note. 251 cases produced.

LongSword Vineyard, another family-owned and family-farmed winery, is that kind of comfortable place where you might just hang out all day, especially if the paragliders and hang gliders are landing on the property.

Consider this wine: Glissade, Sparkling Rosé.  A lightly effervescent rosé of Viognier and Pinot Noir. Aromas of vanilla, lilac, and limestone yield to familiar sun-drenched flavors of strawberry-rhubarb pie, blueberries, black currant, and even tobacco.

At Troon Vineyard, one of the Applegate Valley’s original wineries, fruit is sustainably farmed and wines are handcrafted utilizing gentle foot-trodding and native yeast fermentation. Troon is home to some of the valley’s most compelling varietals.

Consider this wine: 2014 Black Label M*T Reserve. A blend of Tannat and Malbec (60%/40%), M*T has critics raving and awarding high points, who characterize it as “full-bodied with dense fruit and perfect balance” and “a beautiful blend.”

Wild Wines exemplifies our farm-to-glass wine country. Here owner Carla David produces something special and completely different: flower, fruit, and berry wines. Made in small batches from locally grown and hand-harvested flowers and fruits, Wild Wines are produced with traditional integrity from the finest ingredients, and without sulfites or preservatives.

Consider this wine: Aronia Berry Wine. One of the most antioxidant-rich plants, the aronia berry has skins with high tannins that make it unpalatable in raw form, but that give the wine structure. This complex, ruby-red wine is earthy, rich, and full-bodied with flavors of black pepper and molasses and an excellent mouthfeel and finish.

So don’t forget that most winery proprietors are farmers, too, and when you go wine tasting, you’re indulging in a little of our Southern Oregon farm-to-glass culture.

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