Tips for Everyone #1

1. Try a wine from a region you are not familiar with
2. Try a grape that you are not familiar with or try a grape you know that is grown in a completely different region than what you are used to
3. Don’t go for the ‘big name’ producers just based on the name
4. Don’t rely on the ratings from the wine magazines. If you want to buy it, do so and try it.
5. Never buy the least expensive wine on a restaurant wine list. You find the greater values in the $60-$90 range
6. Share all your wine ‘discovery’ and knowledge with your friends


A taste-filled room with a view


If you enjoy a view with your wine tasting, Paschal is one of the best local choices. The winery sits in a hilly area northeast of Talent amid acres of vineyards and pear orchards. Its elegant tasting room, built a few years ago, affords scenic views of the mountains and agriculture.

Visitors can usually sample up to 10 wines. Some bear the Paschal label, the others Dobbes Family Estate.

That's Dobbes, as in Joe Dobbes, who became winemaker for Paschal in 2003. Formerly an executive with Willamette Valley Vineyards near Salem, as well as winemaker for Griffin Creek, Dobbes created Wine by Joe, a consulting and custom crushing firm. He makes wines for Paschal, as well as some under his own labels, using a facility in the Willamette Valley.

Paschal wines are made with Rogue Valley fruit. Dobbes Family Estate wines use some local grapes but primarily fruit from the Willamette Valley.

The tasting room at 1122 Suncrest Road, Talent, is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. There's a $5 fee to taste, but it's waived if you make a purchase.

During a recent visit, Paschal wines available for sampling were 2004 Pinot Gris, 2002 Chardonnay, 2001 Merlot and two red blends. The 2001 Quartet combines virtually equal amounts of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec and merlot. The newer 2004 Civita Di Bagnoregio is 60 percent tempranillo, the rest dolcetto, sangiovese and syrah. Most are priced from $20 to $22. The Civita is $30.

I especially like the 2002 Chardonnay, light and fruity since it is made in the Chablis style. The pinot gris has a nice tangy flavor, and the red blends are

The Dobbes wines that day were 2003 Viognier ($24), 2002 Grande Assemblage Pinot Noir ($20), 2003 Skipper's Cuvee Pinot Noir ($30), 2003 Black Label Pinot Noir ($50) and 2003 Grande Assemblage Syrah ($28).

Tastes of four other wines, two of each label, were offered to wine club members. Like a growing number of local wineries, Paschal has a wine club, this one called Cellar Selections. Members sign up to receive shipments of wine two to four times a year. They also get discounts and invitations to special events.

Paschal makes about 5,000 cases of wine a year. It has about eight acres planted in grapes and buys the rest of its fruit from other Rogue area vineyards. Its wines are found at some local wine shops and on restaurant wine lists, as well as at the winery.

I ATTENDED A WEDDING AND RECEPTION at the Applegate River Ranch House Lodge recently and took advantage of the opportunity to peek at the restaurant's wine list next door. This restaurant has for a number of years done a good job of showcasing wines from the Applegate Valley and other areas of Southern Oregon.

The current list continues to impress with close to 25 wines, two-thirds of them local. Labels include a lot of Troon, also Academy, Devitt, Wooldridge Creek and Valley View from the Applegate, plus RoxyAnn of Medford and Bridgeview of Cave Junction.

EIGHT APPLEGATE VALLEY wineries got together and put on a most interesting educational and tasting tour July 16, called "Applegate Valley Uncorked — Behind the Wine." More about that in the Aug. 9 column.

IF YOU ARE BUYING CALIFORNIA wines and want both quality and affordability, Kendall-Jackson is a good choice. I recently sampled Kendall-Jackson 2004 California Vintner's Reserve Zinfandel, a classy, flavorful zin for just $12. It tastes as good as some that sell for twice the price. The 2003 Vintner's Reserve Merlot costs more, $18, but is an excellent robust red. I was a little less impressed with the 2005 Vintner's Reserve Pinot Noir, $14. It seemed ordinary at the outset but did blossom after a day or two.

FORIS WINES, MADE NEAR CAVE JUNCTION, can be found at a number restaurants on the Southern Oregon coast. I paired glasses of its Pinot Gris ($6.75) and Flyover Red ($7.50) with a dinner of spinach salad and prime rib at Spinner's in Gold Beach. Also saw Foris Chardonnay on the list at Smuggler's Cove in Brookings at $20 a bottle.

Spinner's continues to be just about the best restaurant on the South Coast — good food and attentive service, as well as a good wine list. Moments after you're seated, someone brings you a basket of bread. When it's time to order salad, you get four or five choices instead of one.

Cleve Twitchell is a retired Mail Tribune editor and columnist. E-mail him at

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