The Southern most wine region in Oregon, The Rogue Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) produces very fine wines, especially if you enjoy Syrah, Merlot and Chardonnay. This wine region has 1,400 acres of vineyards, 130 vineyards and 16 wineries. Seventy miles wide and 60 miles long, The Rogue Valley AVA was approved in 2001, and is encompassed by the larger Southern Oregon AVA. Below is some interesting information on this Oregon wine region, including a little history and some recommended wines, wineries and vineyards.
History. Grapes were first planted in Oregon’s Rogue Valley in the 1840s, with its first official winery opening in 1873. An experimental vineyard planted in 1968 caused the world to discover Rogue Valley as a winegrowing region. This Oregon AVA consists of three valleys – Applegate Valley (also an AVA), Bear Creek Valley, and the Illinois Valley.
Climate and Soil. Rogue Valley has three river valleys (see above), each with its own climate that allows both cool and warm weather grapes to be grown. Rogue Valley’s eastern regions have the highest elevations of all the Oregon wine regions, with warm dry weather that is excellent for growing certain grapes such as Merlot. Its western regions are well suited for growing cool climate grapes. Rogue Valley’s soils are varied, but almost all are mixtures of metamorphic, sedimentary and volcanic soil.
Wines. The Rogue Valley AVA produces Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Vineyards and Wineries. Below are just a few of the outstanding vineyards and wineries of the Rogue Valley AVA, as well as some recommended Oregon wines.
Cliff Creek Cellars. Cliff Creek wines are made 100% from the grapes of their own vineyards, Sam’s Valley Vineyard, where nearly 70 acres are devoted to grape growing. Included are Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Sangiovese grapes. Syrah and Claret are the flagship wines of this Rogue Valley winery, created in traditional French styles. Sample their 2006 Merlot, with aromas of raspberries and cherries, followed by flavors of plum and mint. Their 2004 Claret, a blend of Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, is outstanding, with aromas that include blackberries and well-balanced tannins. For more information on this Rogue Valley winery click here.
Ashland Vineyards and Winery. The award-winning wines of this Rogue Valley winery are produced on this Oregon estate vineyard and winery. Varietals include Pinot Gris, Tempranillo, Viognier and others. Try their Henry VII Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 for an outstanding Oregon red, a bold, fruity example of this wine. If you prefer a white wine, sample their Midsummer Night’s Dream Sauvignon Blanc. To learn more about these wines, click here.
Paschal Winery and Vineyard. The wines of this Oregon winery are made from grapes grown in their own vineyards, and those from neighboring Rogue Valley vineyards as well. For an excellent Oregon white wine, try their 2004 Paschal Chardonnay, with aromas of pear and apricot followed by flavors of apple. If you prefer a red wine, go with their 2005 Paschal Syrah, an intense wine with black currant aromas and flavors of pepper and clove. To learn more about this Oregon winery and its wines, click here.