Cycle Umpqua comes to Umpqua Valley wineries! Take an Easy, Fun, Fine-Wine Ride Through Oregon’s Premier Cycling and Wine Region. Check it out on Cycle Umpqua.
HEALDSBURG, Calif. — Abacela in Southern Oregon continues to collect gold medals up and down the West Coast this year in the rosé category as its 2017 Grenache Rosé recently received a double gold medal at the Experience Rosé Competition staged in Sonoma.
The five-year-old judging, which rebranded this year after its debut as Rosé Today, was orchestrated by Sonoma-based sommelier Debra Del Fiorentino. The 2018 competition generated 317 entries, signalling an increase of 37 percent, and included wines from Australia, France, Italy and Canada.
This spring, Abacela, the Umpqua Valley winery that has helped bring international acclaim to Southern Oregon with its groundbreaking work with varieties native to the Iberian Peninsula, most notably Tempranillo, now has claimed a gold medal from four West Coast wine competitions in 2018 for rosé.
In April, winemaker Andrew Wenzl’s 2017 rosé took home a gold medal from the Cascadia International Wine Competition in Richland, Wash., as well as at the Pacific Rim International Wine Competition in San Bernardino, Calif. It recently added a gold medal at the Oregon Wine Awards, and its history of success with that wine style reaches back well beyond this year.
Wine Press Northwest magazine’s annual Platinum Judging, a year-end competition of Pacific Northwest wines that have won a gold medal anywhere in the world during the previous 12 months, has seen an Abacela rosé claim a Platinum four times, including the past three years with a Double Platinum during the 2017 tasting. As a multiple qualifier with the latest vintage, the winery owned and founded by Earl and Hilda Jones seems poised to make it four in a row with this release from the 2017 vintage.
Visit the Umpqua Valley this holiday weekend!
Celebrate Oregon Wine Month in the Umpqua Valley! Enjoy wine tasting and exploring the natural beauty of the Umpqua. Our 30+ wineries will be open and pouring wines over the holiday weekend.Make sure to pick up an Umpqua Valley Passport at your first winery. Five winery stamps gets you a free gift and then put in a drawing for 2 cases of Umpqua Valley wines!
Here is a partial listing. Please see individual winery websites for exact hours, dates and tasting fees.
Saturday, Sunday & Monday, May 26-28th
Free tasting for all active duty military, veterans and their families. Also, a 10% discount on wine purchased over Memorial Day weekend.
Cooper Ridge Vineyard
Special pricing on a case of 2015 Riesling, 2015 Gruner Veltliner or 2013 Merlot.
No entry fee. Try new releases with light appetizers. 15% holiday discount.
For Immediate Release
Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2016 Grüner Veltliner “Best of Class” at San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
This year’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition bestowed “Best of Class” honors on Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2016 Grüner Veltliner. Also showcasing well for Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards was their 2016 Riesling, 2016 Viognier, and 2014 Rojo Dulce – all winning Double Gold Medals. Reustle also took home Gold medals for the 2016 Grüner Veltliner – S, 2016 Matrix, and 2015 Pinot Noir. In addition Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards received Silver Medals for nine of their other wines.
Obviously pleased with the performance of his wines, Owner/Winemaker Stephen M. Reustle stated, “ The San Francisco Chronicle is always a tough competition and to have our wines show well there speaks highly of the Umpqua Valley.” The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is the largest American wine competition and with nearly 7,000 entries for 35 states, it draws the top 67 wine judges and critics from across the United States.
This year Michael Dunn provided comments on “Best of Class” winners. His tasting notes for Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2016 Grüner Veltliner read, “By this adaptable and vital model, “gruner veltliner” could translate as “fitting for seafood as well as appropriate all on its own.” It is dry, light- to medium-bodied, spirited with peachy fruit and cleansing in its brisk acidity.”
Back home in the Umpqua Valley, Owner/Winemaker Stephen M. Reustle commented that he was encouraged by the performance from the diversity of wines he submitted. He said, “While Oregon has traditionally been known for Pinot Noir, results from competitions like this demonstrate we can produce wine of extraordinary quality across a spectrum of wines. It encourages me to see the professional wine judges award our wines high marks. It reinforces the fact that we are making really good wines in the Umpqua Valley.”
Owner/Winemaker Stephen M. Reustle
Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards, Winepress NW’s 2017 Pacific Northwest Winery of the Year, 2015 Six Nations Wine Challenge Top Syrah producer, 2015 Terroir Award Recipient & Riverside Int’l Wine Competition’s 2010 Small Winery of the Year, is 100% estate grown and produced from 40 acres of steep, hillside vineyards in Southern Oregon’s Umpqua Valley. Family owned and operated since 2001, Reustle – Prayer Rock Vineyards produces approximately 8,000 cases annually.
ROSEBURG, ORE. – — Pat Spangler, a former floor trader on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, turned a dilapidated Oregon winery into one of the best around, thanks to delicious winemaking and attention to detail. Spangler Vineyards is this year’s Oregon Winery of the Year.
Spangler grew up on an Ohio sheep farm, far from anything resembling a winery. Right after graduating from high school in 1985, he ran into a friend in Columbus who was getting into making beer. The drinking age in Ohio then was 18, and Pat thought making his own beer sounded like fun, so he promptly become a home brewer.
Four years later, he moved to Chicago to work at the CME. He was also dating a woman who traveled a lot. One place they traveled together was California wine country, back in its formative days. It was the first time he had tried red wine. Then, by chance, they went to Seattle and visited Chateau Ste. Michelle. This was long before the explosion of wineries in the Woodinville region and was his first opportunity to taste wines from the Pacific Northwest. The experience changed him. That fall, he stopped making beer and switched to wine.
“But it was just a hobby at first,” Spangler said. “I never thought I’d ever do this professionally. Frankly, it’s one of those things that picked me. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d ever own a winery or be a professional winemaker. It’s something I just love doing.”
He ended up buying a home in the Chicago suburbs that had 250 established vines growing on the property. The previous owner had been a home winemaker and even had an old cellar. Spangler’s first wines weren’t too good, he admits now, but the hook was set, and he figured he had found his future calling.
In 2002, he cleared out his house, quit his job and moved to the Sonoma County town of Santa Rosa, looking for an opportunity to buy an existing winery. He continued home winemaking, even winning medals in the California State Fair.
A few opportunities came up but always fell through, then an Oregon winery called La Garza Cellars came up for sale in the Umpqua Valley city of Roseburg. Spangler bought it in 2004, changing the name to Spangler Vineyards.
La Garza started as Jonicole Winery in 1973. Its first Cabernet Sauvignon vines were planted in 1968, making them among the oldest vines in the Umpqua Valley, except for those planted by Richard Sommer at HillCrest Vineyard in 1961.
When Spangler bought La Garza, it had 3½ acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as 3 acres of Syrah and 3 acres of Merlot. While the building was a massive fixer-upper, it did come with several stainless steel tanks, 165 barrels of in-progress wine and 3,000 cases of finished wine. From this, he was able to find enough wine that met his standards of quality to release under his new Spangler label. He sold off the rest, giving him enough capital to get him started.
Spangler tends to love Bordeaux and Rhône varieties, even though he’s based in a state famous for Pinot Noir ( “I’m not a Pinot guy,” he says), and he’s proved to excel in both, making delicious examples of Syrah and arguably among the best Viognier in the Northwest. He is one of the few wineries in Oregon to make wines from all six red Bordeaux varieties.
Spangler shows his versatility with other interesting varieties. For example, in Wine Press Northwest’s Platinum Judging, Spangler earned Platinum awards for Petite Sirah (a Rhône variety), Zinfandel (Italian) and Dolcetto (Italian). It’s this diversity of wines that makes Spangler’s wines more interesting to consumers and has led to 10 career Platinums.
In addition to his estate vineyards, Spangler also sources grapes from Southern Oregon and isn’t afraid to go as far as Milton-Freewater in the Walla Walla Valley to bring in the grapes he craves.
His drive to achieve award-winning quality starts with top grapes, paying particular attention to every detail and not being afraid to blend varieties to get the most from every drop he makes. After nearly 30 years of winemaking, Spangler has a good handle on quality, which shows in every glass of Spangler Vineyards wine.
ANDY PERDUE is the wine columnist for The Seattle Times and the founding editor of Wine Press Northwest. Link to article.