One of the most dynamic wineries in the country right now is in the Umpqua in Western Oregon. If you don’t know about it, you should. It’s called Abacela.
Some wineries are very, very good at creating buzz. Some wineries are very good at creating intriguing, exciting and well made wines. Abacela is that exceedingly rare combination that is very good at both. In this case, the buzz is right, and for all the right reasons. Abacela is an exciting place these days, they have a great story to tell, and they have great wines to back it up.
This past weekend I attended the “World of Wine” at the Del Rio Vineyard in Southern Oregon. Rather grandiose name, ‘World of Wine’, I thought, when only about three counties were represented, but hey, local pride and all, and there are some exciting things going on in Southern Oregon these days, specifically in the Rogue Valley, the Applegate Valley, and the Umpqua, and I figured it might be a worthwhile evening. It was, for a variety of reasons, and Abacela was one of the standouts.
The folks behind the table were proud to bursting to talk about the brand new gold medal for their Albarino---a well deserved award, by the way---but they also had a rather impressive Rosado made from Garnacha, Tempranillo and Mourvedre, as well as a decent Grenache that signaled better things to come. They had one of their stunningly good Tempranillo reds, the wine that first got them major recognition on the world scene, and it was an impressive wine.
Folks, this is a winery to watch. There’s a great attitude going on here and, although they haven’t quite reached where they want to be on a couple of their offerings, they are striving mightily to get there. And when they do get it just right---as in the Albarino and Tempranillo---they are remarkably good. And from my point of view, it’s so refreshing to see a winery that’s not churning out Just-Another-Chardonnay and Just-Another-Cabernet. They are carving out a niche for themselves, and they’re doing it by focusing on interesting varieties that are particularly suited to their microclimate. And it looks as if they’re having one hell of a fun time doing it.