June 30, 2013
Have you ever thought about showcasing your own region? You do not have to do it for a business trip or be a professional, as you can do it for the simple love of the area you live in. Take every opportunity to do this and even act like a tourist yourself…and yes, in your own area! I am lucky enough to do it for all of the above. A couple of weeks ago, I got to join the Travel Oregon, MediaAmerica, and Maxwell PR tour as they “toured around” the Southern Oregon region with Sue Price, who is our itinerary and trade show guru. Coming from Portland, they started in Bandon and worked their way down to the Rogue Valley where I was able to meet for the rest of the tour. Unfortunately, I missed the following destinations:
What I personally got to enjoy lies below. The hosts were extremely accommodating and made sure they went above and beyond the “call of duty”. The lovely ladies who were visiting from the Portland area were Travel Oregon and Maxwell PR Staff: Judiaann Woo - consumer PR, industry content, Linea Gagliano - consumer PR, industry content, Stacey Malstrom - consumer PR (from Maxwell PR), Emily Forsha consumer content and social media, and Eileen Garvin - consumer content (from MediAmerica). From the area we had Sandi Torrey - Jacksonville Visitor Center, Sue Price, - SOVA Tour and Travel, Katharine Flanagan – Ashland VCB (Belle Fiore only), Jez Kline & Angela Wood – Travel Medford.
First, we met at 38 Central, hosted by David Graham/Owner. We enjoyed a fabulous meal with a Del Rio Syrah, Claret, and a Vintage wine. A few things I love about this restaurant is that it is centrally located downtown Medford, you can dress up or down and still fit in, and not only is the food excellent but so is the service. David Graham has over 30 years of experience as a chef and continues to amaze his customers no matter what their order or background.
Next stop, Belle Fiore Winery, hosted by Heather Goodwin/Tasting Room & Events Manager. With a grand opening coming in Spring 2013, the valley can gear up to enjoy this gorgeous estate and what it has to offer. This estate has been farmed for 130 years, since it was homesteaded by the Murphy family three miles east of Ashland, Oregon during the 1880’s. Implementing sustainable farming practices, embracing the principles of head, hand and heart all fulfilled together, and welcoming visitors to the beauty of this destination will create a thriving winery for all to enjoy. Belle Fiore Winery is dedicated to growing savory, classical wine grapes well suited to thrive in the Ashland - Bear Creek region within the Rogue Valley Oregon appellation. The Bordeaux grape varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Petit Verdot. Additionally, they grow Burgundian Pinot Noir grapes, and Rhone varietals of Syrah. Italian and Spanish varietals also are welcomed, including Muscat Caneli, Montepulciano, Fiano, Coda-di-Volpe, and Barbera clones. From Spain, they grow Teraldego. Designed by the award winning architects, DKA Architecture in Bend, Oregon, and by Interior Designer, Bonnie Davidson, this state-of-the-art winery, completed in 2012, is also one of the most energy efficient facilities in the Western United States. The tasting room, ceremonial barrel room, wine pavilion, chateau and gardens will cater to all wine lovers both in and out of the area. This is one winery that you absolutely need to visit!
Okay, so the moment of truth. What did I get to enjoy while there? The pairings were a selection of Spanish cheeses and Italian curried meats and a pesto dried tomato cheese torta from Rising Sun Farms. For wine, we tasted the 2009 Monte Fiore Syrah (Gold Medal Winner at West Coast Wine Competition), 2009 Monte Fiore Cabernet Franc, 2011 Belle Fiore Pinot Noir "Chanson", and a special barrel tasting of a 2012 Sauvignon Blanc. They added an additional pour from our 2011 BelleArte Syrah “Sensation” as well. What did I like about the winery the most? I honestly felt like I was back in France living in the Palace of Versailles.
DANCIN Vineyards, hosted by Dan & Cindy Marca/Owners, is just minutes from the Britt Festival and downtown Jacksonville. DANCIN lives in the western foothills of Southern Oregon. This family owned business who is an artisan producer of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, screams “relax, enjoy, and stay a while”. They go above and beyond to make sure that you can stay as long as you want, and possibly even longer! This couple truly compliments each other although they both admit they are extreme opposites. Dan being the “A”, handling the labor and winemaking artistry, while Cindy being the “Z”, handling the marketing, tasting room manager as well as master chef/baker…and let me tell you, what she whips up in that kitchen is mouthwatering to say the least. What do I love about this vineyard more than the wine and food (and of course, the family)? The care they give to their vines. Having to work each vine for fifteen minutes gives them the luxury (although very laborious) to translate into healthier fruit that requires less intervention in the winery leading to exceptional wine. For all of you “wine haters” out there, they strategically placed a case full of beer so you can still go and enjoy everything else they have to offer…besides the wine. Make sure while you are there, you ask Dan to explain the story of when they met and how they go to where they are today. Trick question for you: can you guess how they got their name? So, what did we try at DANCIN you ask? The Pinot noirs were paired with stuffed mushrooms topped with a Chardonnay cream sauce and Shibui. We finished with an amaretto cream truffle and the aromatics of the yet to be released 2011 DANCIN Vineyards "Trata" Barrel Select Southern Oregon Pinot Noir. Both of these pairings were honestly to die for!
- 2011 DANCIN Vineyards “Chasse” Dundee Hills Chardonnay
- 2011 DANCIN Vineyards “Capriccio” Southern Oregon Chardonnay
- 2011 DANVIN Vineyards “Quartette” Southern Oregon Chardonnay
- 2010 DANCIN Vineyards “Pas de Bourree” Southern Oregon Pinot Noir
- 2010 DANCIN Vineyards “Adagio” Southern Oregon Pinot Noir
- 2010 DANCIN Vineyards “Pas de Deux” Oregon Pinot Noir
Jacksonville Inn, hosted by Jerry & Linda Evans/Owners, in addition to Platon Mantheakis/Food and Beverage Director, was chosen "Best Patio in Southern Oregon" by Mail Tribune in 2008, and you can choose from up to 2,000 wines on their menu. Have you ever heard of such a thing? It is hard to find a better evening than to go out to dinner here with someone special before enjoying a show at the Britt Gardens less than two blocks away. They even offer a picnic basket menu to go for the shows! I am embarrassed to admit that out of my many years living in the area, I had never eaten at the Jacksonville Inn. But I can assure you that this is not the last time. What was on the menu here? Make sure you take note on a full stomach otherwise you might not make it through the rest of this blog…
- Assorted Pastries, Canapés and Other Antipasti
- Fresh Pear and Walnut Salad
- Fresh Pears, Spicy Walnuts, Red Grapes, and Crumbled Blue Cheese with an Apple-Walnut Dressing
- Corn and Smoked Bacon Chowder w/BBQ’d pulled Pork and Smoked Paprika Oil
- North Atlantic Lobster Risotto, served with Medallions of Lobster, Prawns, Fresh Asparagus, and Fresh Fennel with White Truffle Oil and Arborio Rice
- Vegetarian Garden Risotto, served with Asparagus, Spinach, Sweet Peas, Radish, and Fennel. Finished with a Beet Emulsion
- Poached Port Pear Brulee w/Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Thank you so much to our partners who came to visit the region and give us the opportunity to show them WHY this area is getting better by the year, every year. I would also like to give special thanks to Troon, Del Rio, John Guererro of JFG Wines, Valley View, and South Stage Cellars for donating bottles which contributed to the tour as well as our pure pleasure of sampling Southern Oregon wines. And of course, special thanks to those who hosted us and to Sue Price who coordinated everything for all of us to enjoy! Make sure to go to our album on Facebook to view the rest of the photos dedicated to this amazing day!