Umpqua Wines win Big at Platinum Judging!

The Platinum Judging, conducted by Wine Press Northwest magazine, is a beauty contest. Only wines from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho that have won gold medals at any of about 40 competitions worldwide in 2015 are eligible to enter.


Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2013 Golgotha Bloc Malbec, Umpqua Valley • $31
Stephen Reustle is earning a reputation for being Southern Oregon’s most versatile winemaker, as it seems there are no styles of wine he is not great at crafting. This Malbec is the latest example. It opens with appealing aromas of blueberry, blackberry, thyme, savory, violet and mild oak impressions. On the palate, this is loaded with flavors of dark chocolate, spice and black pepper. Smooth tannins give this drink-now approachability. (150 cases; 13.2% alc.) Qualifying Medals: Savor Northwest (Double gold), Los Angeles International Wine Competition (Gold)

Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2013 Revelation & Sorek Bloc Grüner Veltliner, Umpqua Valley •  $24
This Austrian grape is quite the darling right now, especially amid influential sommeliers, and Stephen Reustle makes several examples. This luscious version would make Austrians proud, thanks to aromas of minerality and tart apple, followed by flavors of crisp orchard fruit and saltwater taffy. Enjoy with pork chops, seared scallops or even nopalitos con huevos. (670 cases; 13.6% alc.) Qualifying Medal: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Gold)

Bradley Vineyards 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir, Elkton Oregon • $28
John Bradley began planting grapes in the cool Elkton, Ore., region more than 30 years ago, providing his fruit to nearby wineries until launching his winery in 2000. Bradley died in 2014, and this superb effort is a tribute to his pioneering efforts in this area of Southern Oregon. It opens with classic aromas of saddle leather, forest floor, orange zest and cranberry, followed by elegant flavors of Christmas spice, Montmorency cherry and mild oak influence. (46 cases; 15.2% alc.) Qualifying Medal: Savor Northwest (Double gold)

Season Cellars 2014 Transparency White, Southern Oregon • $18

Scott Henry IV, whose family has a long history of winemaking and viticulture in Oregon’s Umpqua Valley, is now producing wine under this label. This is a delicious blend of Müller-Thurgau, Early Muscat and Riesling that opens with aromas of ripe orchard fruit, including Granny Smith apple, and sweet herbs. On the palate, mouth-filling flavors of poached pear and fresh apricot are backed with vibrant acidity that gives way to long and balanced finish. (438 cases; 11% alc.) Qualifying Medal: Oregon Wine Experience (Double gold)


Girardet Wine Cellars 2012 Bush Vine Tempranillo, Umpqua Valley • $59

Second-generation winemaker Marc Girardet has been at the helm of his family’s winery since the late 1990s, and this Tempranillo is among his best yet. Resplendent aromas of blackberry and damp earth meld with notes of anise. On the palate, flavors of boysenberry cobbler coat the mouth. Brisk acidity and focused fruit combine for pristine balance and a luscious finish. (73 cases; 13.8% alc.) Qualifying Medal: SavorNW Wine Awards (Gold)

Abacela 2014 Estate Albariño, Umpqua Valley •  $21

This winery near Roseburg, Ore., was among the first in the Pacific Northwest to focus on Albariño, a sleek, bright Spanish white variety, and continues to produce one of the best. Aromas of green apple and pineapple lead to flavors Asian pear, lemongrass and citrus. Just a kiss of residual sugar helps amplify the flavors. (1,758 cases; 13.2% alc.) Qualifying Medal: Oregon Wine Experience (Gold)

Melrose Vineyards 2012 Pinot Noir, Umpqua Valley •  $22

Based in Southern Oregon’s Umpqua Valley, this winery has proven through the years to be a producer of consistently high-quality and understated wines. This delicious and affordable Pinot Noir opens with complex aromas of cedar, raspberry and spice, followed by flavors of red cherry and cranberry backed by fruit-lifting acidity. (1,000 cases; 13.8% alc.) Qualifying Medals: Savor Northwest (Gold), Critics Challenge (Gold), Oregon Wine Awards (Gold)

Abacela 2014 Grenache Rosé, Umpqua Valley •  $18

Grenache rosé was one of the first delicious wines when the Northwest began focusing on using European grape varieties in the ‘60s, and this example from Southern Oregon is true to the variety. Aromas and flavors of Rainier cherry, light strawberry and dried cranberry are backed by beautiful spiciness and lingering acidity. A delicious and versatile wine. (878 cases; 13.1% alc.) Qualifying Medal: Sunset International Wine Competition (Gold)

Spangler Vineyards 2012 Zinfandel, Alexander Valley • $25

Owner/winemaker Patrick Spangler occasionally heads to California for grapes, and this is one of those examples: a Zin from Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. It is an impressive effort with aromas and flavors of strawberry, red currant, raspberry and pomegranate. It’s a delicious, drink-now red. (325 cases; 14.9% alc.) Qualifying Medal: Tasters Guild International (Gold)