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Umpqua Valley

Reustle Prayer Rock Winemaker's Reserve Tempranillo 2014

Reustle Prayer Rock Winemaker’s Reserve Tempranillo 2014

Precise as all Stephen Reustle's wines are—the 2014 Winemaker's Reserve Tempranillo is opaque quinacridone violet in the glass, with a swirl one can coax from it classic varietal aromas of earthy sun-warmed terra cotta tile, aged leather and dried herbs, all neatly folded into a background of black cherries and plums. It's softly textured on the palate, with a warm and dark fruited core cradled in a pillow of toast. 13.9% ABV| Sample Reustle Prayer Rock 9.0 Points...

Terry Brandborg, Stephen Reustle, and Earl Jones

Umpqua Undercover

The Umpqua Valley has a streak of wildness to it. Sparsely populated, its towns lie scattered amidst a series of rugged, undulating hills thatched in spikey Ponderosa pine and black oak. The Umpqua River and it's winding tributaries churn and tumble through a network of valleys formed by the collision of three mountain ranges—the Klamath, the Coast Range, and the Cascades—before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. In the 1800s, prospectors dredged and panned sandbars of the South Umpqua and the Rogue rivers, in search of match head-sized nuggets of gold. It's this dramatic history and landscape that colors the region, whose wines I'd never tasted despite fifteen years in the wine industry, most of them spent in the Pacific Northwest. As I would quickly learn on a pre-harvest junket in 2015, the wines from the emerging Southern Oregon AVA are as complex and surprising as the terrain itself. On that cloudless mid-summer day, I found myself squinting into bright afternoon sunlight, listening to winemaker Earl Jones as he explained the significance of the Klamath-Coastal fault line that runs through his tidy south-facing vineyard blocks. Looking more like an archeologist than winegrower, clad in khakis and a weathered hat, Earl explained the...

Abacela Barrel Select Tempranillo 2005

Abacela Reserve Tempranillo 2005

Abacela's 2005 Reserve Tempranillo is opaque, with only the oxblood-rim belying age. It's mature now, but has a long drinking window ahead of it, perhaps another 5-8 years. The nose is rich and complex, a melange of black cherries and plums, Christmas cake, leather, and dusty earth. The attack reveals mouth coating, grippy tannins and earth commingling with black fruited core. Wonderful tapicity, this wine was poured in a blind tasting against Tempranillo from the Toro region and our panel of tasters couldn't suss it out. Abacela 9.2 Points ...

Abacela Reserve Tempranillo 2009

Abacela Reserve Tempranillo 2009

Tempranillo grown in Southern Oregon, in this case Umpqua Valley, shows great promise, as Abacela has demonstrated time and again through their bottlings of this earthy, Spanish queen. The 2009 Reserve Tempranillo is resplendent in an earthy mantle of dried blood, brick dust, roasted black cherries, and plums. The balance on the palate is spot on—lots of acid lift propping up this wine’s otherwise serious countenance. Chewy tannins, sundried tomatoes, char, graphite, and black pepper hem in substantive energy. Abacela 9.3 Points ...