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Roam the Rogue

On Saturday, May 25th, the self-guided and bi-annual event known as Roam the Rogue took place for all wine lovers around to enjoy. Well, not all considering the Spring passport event sold out—which as you know is great news! The Upper Rogue Valley winemakers showcased their newest wines and shared their creative inspiration while pairing delicious appetizers with some of the best wines of seven different wineries in the Upper Rogue.

I started the day off by meeting five friends at Agate Ridge. Our plan for the day was to enjoy one of the most gorgeous days of the year while filling our passport with six of the seven wineries on the map. What better way to do this than with a guide, and better yet with a historic trolley? Yes, you heard right! Allaboard Trolley Tours are able to seat 25 passengers, in an open-aired trolley that allowed us to cover many miles in rural wine country! As we met the guides and other passengers for the day, we made introductions, sipped wine, devoured cheesecake (which was to die for), and built some necessary rapport…we were headed off to our next destination. I have to admit, before the booking I was a bit more interested in doing the self-guided tour so I did not have to run on someone else’s schedule and could save a little money, BUT there is no way I could have had the day that I did without this tour.

As you have heard before, “life is not about the destination, but about the journey and how you get there”. Destination may be key, but the journey itself can be the best experience. I say this, because I want to emphasize our time on the trolley. Not only did we have full ownership of music requests, we also got to slip in an extra winery, had two personal at-home drop offs, and it was less than $30 per person. Being able to let go of the map, the wheel, and responsibility of driving really is the best option hands down. Especially for the price! As I looked around and saw the Upper and Lower Table Rock Mountains, cows and horses grazing the fields only some might ever see, and with the wind in my hair on the back roads of Sams Valley, I could not help but escape the annoyance of my allergies and possess a huge grin on my face for the journey itself made the destination an even better place. Speaking of places, I am sure you are wondering where we actually went. Ahh yes, the destinations!

Agate Ridge Vineyard, Eagle Point, http://www.agateridgevineyard.com/
Agate Ridge Wines: 2012 Pinot Gris & 2010 Grenache
Food Pairings: Handmade individual chocolate cheesecakes by Castle Ridge Cheesecake

Cliff Creek Cellars, Gold Hill, http://cliffcreek.com/
Cliff Creek Cellars Wine: 2012 MRC (Marsanne, Roussane & Viognier)
Food Pairing: Pear & Blue Cheese salsa and Pear & blue cheese Chutney

Del Rio Vineyard, Gold Hill, http://www.delriovineyards.com/
Del Rio Wines: 2011 Pinot Gris & 2010 Merlot
Food Pairing: Chocolate turtle cake

Folin Cellars, Gold Hill, http://folincellars.com/
Folin Cellars wine: 2009 Estate Tempranillo & 2010 Estate Petite Sirah
Food Pairings: Black bean hummus with garlic & herbs & house made flat bread pita chips

Kriselle Cellars, White City, http://www.krisellecellars.com/
Kriselle Cellars Wines: 2011 Sauvignon Blanc & 2010 Di’tani
Food Pairings: Chilled chicken curry salad

LaBrasseur Winery, Eagle Point, http://www.labrasseurvineyard.com/
Labrasseur Vineyard Wines: 2011 Ethan Cole (Primitivo/petit sirah) & 2012 Riesling
Food Pairings: Spiced pork and apple meatball with black cherry sauce

RoxyAnn Winery, Medford, http://www.roxyann.com/
RoxyAnn Winery Wines: 2010 Viognier & 2009 Cabernet Franc
Food Pairings: Smoked salmon spread with rye toast points

How does Southern Oregon’s wine industry seem to have exploded overnight? Well, over the past three decades it has become nationally and internationally highlighted as another great destination getaway. In the past, we have been world renowned for places such as Crater Lake National Park and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, but our climate has created an even bigger industry than we could have imagined. You guessed it, the winey industry! The Rogue Valley has the highest elevation (nearly 2,000 feet) of Oregon’s wine growing regions, but it is also the warmest and the driest. It is made up of three distinct valleys with progressively warmer micro-climates, which enables the region to successfully grow both cool and warm-climate varieties. Our soil includes mixes of metamorphic, sedimentary and volcanic derived soils ranging from sandy loam to hard clay. Our topography consists of vineyards which are typically at elevations of 1,200 to 2,000 feet. Our diverse landscape is derived from the convergence of three mountain ranges: the Cascades, the Coastal Range and the Klamath Mountains. The cooler areas of Southern Oregon produce wonderful Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Gewürztraminer while the warmer, more arid regions ripen big reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Merlot, Malbec, Dolcetto, Zinfandel, Grenache and Syrah. Many other unique varieties such as Albarino, Pinot Blanc, Gruner Veltliner, Marsanne, Rousanne, Baco Noir, Marachel Foch, Mourvedre, Semillon, Petite Sirah and Viognier are also grown; making Southern Oregon one of the most diverse winegrowing regions in the world. Although an avid traveler and explorer, I have to agree with Dorothy as she says “there is no place like home”.

Make sure to check out the Roam the Rogue event during the Fall, http://roamtherogue.com/ and take advantage of the Allaboard Trolley Tours, http://allaboardtrolley.com/!

Bonnie Ryan, Web Content/Social Media/Blogger
Southern Oregon Visitors Association (SOVA) AKA Travel Southern Oregon
http://www.southernoregon.org

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