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

Articles

Mall's 'All About Oregon' offers wine finds

By CLEVE TWITCHELL

You can once again buy a bottle of Southern Oregon wine at the Rogue Valley Mall in Medford.

The new All About Oregon store, which opened in early November, offers a selection of local wines — and not just a few of them, either. I counted close to 20 Rogue and/or Umpqua district labels, plus a few others from wineries that are more distant but use Rogue or Applegate Valley grapes.

Owners Scott and Sharon Kohlmeier said they made an effort to get most of the Southern Oregon wines represented. Many are medal winners, like Belle Vallee syrah, which won best of show at last September's World of Wine Festival at Del Rio (Gold Hill).

Not all of the wines are immediately visible. Poke around the shelves above and below the primary display, and you'll find more.

Some wine shops in malls elsewhere in Oregon charge prices that seem, shall we say, elevated. But apparently not this one. I noted several wines under $10. Other pricing seemed competitive.

Showcasing Southern Oregon wines in this setting should help the local wine industry because many visitors on tight schedules will stop at a mall but not take the time to look up wine shops elsewhere in town.

The last Oregon-themed store in the mall closed some time ago and moved to Ashland.

ANOTHER NEW PLACE TO FIND local wines by the bottle is Corks in downtown Medford. Yes, it's a wine bar, but also a bottle shop with a pretty good selection of Southern Oregon labels. It's located off Vogel Plaza.

ONE OF THE YEAR'S MAJOR wine events comes up on Dec. 14. It's the 26th annual Jefferson Public Radio Wine Tasting, and it will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Ashland Springs Hotel. More than 25 wineries, all from Oregon, plan to pour samples. At least 20 local food providers will offer hors d'oeuvres and confections. Russell Sadler returns to host the Not-So-Silent Wine and Gift Auction.

Wineries and vineyards set to take part include Agate Ridge, Ashland, Bridgeview, Chehalem, Champagne Creek, Chateau Lorane, Cliff Creek, Crater Lake, Domaine Serene, EdenVale, Elk Cove, Foris, Giradet, John Michael Champagne, King Estate, Madrone Mountain, Mountain Mead, Paschal/Dobbes, R. Stuart, RoxyAnn, Silvan Ridge, Spangler, Troon, Valley View, Weisinger's and Wooldridge Creek.

Tickets are $45 for JPR members and $50 for the general public. Ticket outlets (accepting cash and check only) are the Ashland Wine Cellar and Chateaulin Selections in Ashland and Adam's Deli and Corks Wine Bar in Medford. If you need to use a credit card, go to the Web site www.ijpr.org or call 552-6301.

THE OLD SANDPIPER LOCATION on Barnett Road has housed half a dozen successors over the years. Currently it's Molly Murphy's, kind of a family restaurant plus bar. It has a modest, budget-conscious wine list, $3.50 to $6.50 by the glass, $9 to $20 by the bottle. Foris of Cave Junction is the lone local label, but they have Covey Run from Washington state, also Kenwood, Ravenswood, Beringer and La Terra. I had Foris Chardonnay ($4.75) with my salad and Covey Run Merlot ($5) with a prime-rib entrée.

WHEN THE MONGOLIAN BBQ of Medford added beer and wine service this year, it could have gone with cheap jug wine but admirably did not. You can get Foris Chardonnay for $4.50 a glass, $18

WHEN THE MONGOLIAN BBQ of Medford added beer and wine service this year, it could have gone with cheap jug wine but admirably did not. You can get Foris Chardonnay for $4.50 a glass, $18 a bottle, Lindeman's Shiraz-Cabernet from Australia — same prices — or Beringer White Zinfandel from California for $3.75 or $14.

FOLLOW-UP NOTE: A column a month ago mentioned the new Red Lily 2003 Tempranillo, an Applegate Valley label made at RoxyAnn of Medford with local grapes. I've since had a chance to sample more of it, more leisurely. This is a great wine. It's $42 a bottle but possibly the best wine yet produced in this part of the world.

DAISY CREEK OF THE JACKSONVILLE area is known for its award-winning viognier, but it also has a fine merlot on the market. Daisy Creek 2003 Merlot retails in the $17-$18 range. The vineyard's wines are made at RoxyAnn. Coming soon are a syrah and a red table-wine.

TAKE IN A SHOW at Oregon Cabaret Theatre in Ashland, and you'll find three private-label wines on the list. Cabaret Blanc is a chardonnay-semillon blend, Cabaret Dry Rose, a blush made of cabernet franc and Cabaret Rouge, a red blend. The wines are from Weisinger's of Ashland. They run $6-$7 by the glass, $22-$26 by the bottle.

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

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