Take your pick from local wine lists
By CLEVE TWITCHELL
A Medford restaurant offers a notable wine list. And a health-conscious luncheon place expands into dinners with an appropriate wine selection.
These are two recent developments of some interest to local wine fanciers.
At first glance, the lengthy wine list at the new McAndrews Avenue Grill in Medford seems devoid of local labels. But keep looking, and eventually you come to an Oregon wines section with a number of familiar names like Sarah Powell, Valley View's Anna Maria, Bridgeview, Trium, RoxyAnn and Del Rio.
The restaurant is upscale and not exactly cheap, but I was pleased to see that wine by the bottle charges begin at a not-bad level of $18. The least expensive wine by the glass goes for $6.
I enjoyed an $8 glass of Troon's Druid Fluid from the Applegate Valley with my filet mignon. The filet was a bit spendy at $32, including salad and no other side dishes, but it was one of the best steaks I've been served in the 45 years I've lived here. Druid's Fluid retails in stores for close to $20 a bottle, so $8 a glass is not a huge markup. This excellent red wine blends zinfandel, syrah, merlot and cabernet sauvignon.
Overall, the McAndrews Avenue Grill has about 60 labels on its wine list, including choices like Caymus, Silver Oak, David Bruce, Rex Hill, La Crema and Coppola. You can preview it at www.mcandrewsavenuegrill.com, although the online list is shorter (an earlier version perhaps) than the one presented to diners.
Grilla Bites, the Medford restaurant that specializes in fresh, organic fare, has added a "local and organic" wine list at dinnertime. The organic labels are Sander, a German winery, and Chateau Lorane, up near Eugene. The locals are Bridgeview and Foris, both of Cave Junction. Also listed is one wine from Sokol Blosser in the Willamette Valley.
Bottle prices start at a modest $14 and range up to $26, glass prices from $4 to $7.
Bridgeview Chardonnay paired nicely with a dinner of salmon with capers, brown rice and vegetables, preceded by minestrone soup. A bottle costs just $14. You rarely see decent wine at a price that low on restaurant lists any more.
THE APPLEGATE VALLEY wineries are at it again. Their latest "Applegate Valley Uncorked" will be a fall barrel tour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19. It's a celebration of the end of harvest.
Eight wineries plan to take part. They are Wooldridge Creek, Valley View, Troon, Schmidt Family Vineyard, Rosella's, LongSword and Jacksonville Vineyard (both at Fiasco Winery) and Devitt.
This is a self-guided tour that will feature wine-tasting from the barrel and special wines available to purchase only that day. Tickets are $40. The price includes wine tasting and appetizers at each stop and a Riedel wine glass.
THE PACIFIC WINE CLUB at 3588 Heathrow Way in Medford plans its annual Holiday Wine Extravaganza from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17. More than 50 wines will be available for tasting. Holiday foods will be served. Tickets are $25 general, $20 for club members. Call 245-3334.
WOOLDRIDGE CREEK WINERY of the Applegate Valley is doing a five-course winemaker's dinner with the Winchester Inn of Ashland, also on Friday, Nov. 17, starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 per person and available by calling 488-1113.
IT'S OREGON BOUNTY time again. A number of Oregon wineries will serve Oregon foods like hazelnuts, pears and cheese with their wine samples, generally on weekends during November.
Participants include Crater Lake Cellars, Devitt, EdenVale, RoxyAnn, Troon, Valley View, Weisinger's and Wooldridge Creek. In the Umpqua district, add Abacela, Brandborg and Champagne Creek Cellars.
THE PEERLESS RESTAURANT in Ashland has a private label wine on its list called Cuvee Carrisma. It is named after owner Chrissy Barnett. Her legal first name is Carrisma. Gus Janeway of RoxyAnn Winery of Medford and Michael Biggs of the restaurant created it. It's a pleasant blend of merlot, cabernet franc and malbec — reminiscent of Janeway's Velocity wines yet a little different.
ALSO SAMPLED RECENTLY:
* Castillo de Monseran 2004 and 2005 Grenache. Here are two grenache wines imported from Spain, made a year apart. As sometimes happens, the less expensive one seemed superior. At a tasting, I really liked the 2005 release which sells for $6-$7. It was smooth and delicious. The 2004 wine, at $12, was enjoyable but not in the same league.
Cleve Twitchell is a retired Mail Tribune editor and columnist. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.