After visiting Paschal-Tenuta Winery my final stop for the day was at Edenvale Winery in Medford Oregon.
The EdenVale Winery facility and visitor center is located at the birthplace of Oregon’s commercial pear industry at Eden Valley Orchards, founded in 1885 by Joseph H. Stewart and later expanded between 1899 and 1932 by Colonel Gordon Voorhies. The original house on the 160 acre parcel was built in the 1860’s by Addison Ball and Martha Justus Ball.
It is believed that Stewart moved his family here while constructing the larger home, completed prior to 1898. By 1896, the output from the acreage he had named Eden Valley Orchard was ninety-five carloads of pears and apples. Widely recognized as the “father of the fruit industry” in southern Oregon, Joseph Stewart had an extremely successful business.
In 1899, at 65 years of age, Stewart sold his property to Gordon Voorhies of Portland, Oregon. Voorhies was born and raised in Kentucky, a graduate of the Military Academy at West Point, served in the US Infantry and Fourth Calvary, volunteered for the Spanish American War and later served in World War I as a Lieutenant Colonel of the Army. He married Helen Burrell, daughter of a prominent Portland merchant family and pioneer citizens, in 1893.
By 1906 the orchard industry was beginning to boom in southern Oregon. Local fruit set world records for quality and price received. Voorhies in partnership with his brother-in-law, Walter Frazar Burrell, acquired additional lands.
The property remained in the Voorhies family until 1986 when it was sold to Edward Earnest and then sold again in 1999 to the long time orchard family of Betty F. Root and her son, Tim Root, its present owners.
The property remains much as it did when Voorhies and his wife lived in the house. There also remains a few trees from the original Stewart planting. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 14, 2000.
So, while they have been producing fruit since the 19th century, it is in the 21st century that they also began producing wine when EdenVale wines released their inaugural vintage in 2003. Today their wine portfolio includes Rhone varietals such as Syrah, Viognier, and Grenache as well as Bordeaux varietals such as Malbec and Cab Franc and Burgundian varietals Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as well as the Spanish varietal Tempranillo.
While visiting the tasting room I sampled the following red wines:
My first in the lineup was the 2008 EdenVale Reserve Charonnay. Seriously, this may be one of the BEST Chards I have ever tasted. Up until this point my impression of Southern Oregon wines was somewhere between “ho-hum” and “okay” - good wines but nothing really exciting. But THIS wine was absolutely phenomenal! With the first whiff I was taken back as my nose was enthralled with its rich caramel and butterscotch aromas followed by apricots, baked pears and touch of cloves. Served at the perfect temperature in Reidel stemware, on the palate this wine is seductive with a full creamy mouth-feel and flavors that linger for days. It sells for $32 a bottle and I have tasted many California Chards twice this price that weren’t half this good. So, I brought four of them home! I don’t normally give wine scores, but if I did I’d give this one 95+ points.
My second wine was the 2006 Reserve Pinot Noir. THIS is a classic Oregon Pinot, it has the fruit of California and the earthiness of Burgundy. Strawberries, cinnamon, brown sugar and pomegranate followed by forest floor and a slight hint of mushrooms. A really nice Pinot for $36, I brought two of them home.
My third wine was 2005 Grenache. Although this is an ’05, this is not a library wine. EdenVale holds on to their wines a little longer before releasing them than most so when you buy them, no cellaring is needed. An elegant lighter style red with a lot of acidity. Red currant, tart plums and a hint of pepper. A nice wine for $21 a bottle.
My fourth sample was the 2003 Reserve Cabernet Franc, a library wine. If you like Cab Franc as a single varietal wine, this one displays a classic Cab Franc profile – red currants, violets, graphite and a slight hint of bell pepper. This wine sells for $38 a bottle.
The fifth wine I sampled was the 2003 Reserve Claret, another library wine. A blend of 67% Merlot, 18% Cab Franc, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec I picked up aromas of black currants, chocolate covered cherries, with a little eucalyptus and a hint of mint on the back end Refined tannins, well balanced and ready to drink now. A really nice wine for $29, I have tasted many like it for twice this price.
My sixth wine (remember, I am spitting) was the 2005 Syrah. This wide exudes fresh cracked pepper… followed by blackberries and dark roasted coffee grounds. A little too peppery for my taste, but a quality wine that would pair well with a steak for $25 a bottle.
My seventh and final wine was the 2005 Reserve Malbec. This is not your big jammy style Malbec so if you’re expecting and hoping for an Argentinan styled Malbec you’ll be disappointed. Black cherries, mocha and blueberries on the nose, soft on the palate with a slight earthiness on the finish. A bit pricy at $39 a bottle.
If you are visiting Southern Oregon, EdenVale is a “must visit” as this winery made my day’s Oregon Wine Tasting Adventure a success!
To visit or for more information:
2310 Voorhies Road