Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Troon Vineyard – A Pioneering Winery in Grants Pass, Oregon

The second stop of the first day of my adventure through the Oregon wine country along the Applegate Wine Trail was at Troon Vineyard. Surrounded by steep tree covered hills the winery and vineyard is absolutely beautiful.

The winery was founded by Dick Troon who served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II and studied civil engineering at the University of California. He worked on infrastructure at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral and Disneyland. In 1961 Troon moved to the Rogue Valley to take up farming. In 1972 he purchased the 32 acres of land selecting the Kubli Bench, a microclimate in the Applegate Valley of Southern Oregon. The warm days and cool nights, along with the excellent soil conditions, provide ideal conditions for growing premium wine grapes. The vineyard site receives the maximum daily exposure to sunlight and is located at the perfect elevation for his favorite varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. This established Troon as one of the pioneers of the Rogue Valley’s modern wine industry being the first to plant Zinfandel in Southern Oregon. He also served as a mentor for others and brought in instructors to teach wine-grape growing and other winery skills. Troon Winery emerged in 1993 when the operation began bottling its own wine after selling to others for nearly two decades. 

In 2003, two decades after being founded, Troon moved to a nearby house and sold the winery to Chris Martin and his father Larry who took the expanding production to the next level. Additional vineyards were planted from 2004 to 2011 bringing the vineyard planting to close to 40 acres with over 20 different varietals. They then purchased two adjoining properties to bringing the estate to 100 acres. 

In 2005 construction of the new winery was completed which features a French villa style architecture featuring copper gutters, Spanish tile roofs, extensive cedar work, hand-scraped hickory floors, and a full commercial kitchen utilized when hosting special events and parties. Behind the tasting room are a bocce ball court and a comfortable patio with a water fountain where visitors can enjoy the wine while overlooking the vineyards.

While visiting I sampled the following wines:

My first wine was the 2011 “The River Guide” Dry Riesling. On the nose it has aromas of light green apples, pears and lemon-lime notes. On the palate it delivers crisp green apples, very sharp and vibrant acidity with a hint of minerality. This is an excellent summer wine as it was very refreshing with a medium(+) length finish and it is moderately priced at $16 a bottle.

The second sample was the 2011 Vermentino, Applegate Valley. I can’t recall ever tasting a new world Vermentino as I have never seen one in California. So I was excited to try this wine. On the nose I picked up subtle stone fruits, nectarine, tangerine, and hint of lemon zest. On the palate it is slightly tart, with medium (+) acidity, and a medium length finish. This wine sells for $18 a bottle and I took one home.

The third pour was the 2011 “Jeanie in the Bottle” Rosé made from a blend of Bordeaux varietal red grapes (they didn't say which ones). On the nose I picked up hints of strawberry and watermelon and on the palate it is seemingly off dry with a medium finish. This wine is moderately priced at $14 a bottle.

The fourth wine was the 2010 Druid Fluid Red. This wine was an “accidental” invention, the result of a stuck fermentation that customers came to love so they continued to produce this wine. It is a medium intensity ruby wine with fruity hints of raspberry, cranberries, and a hint of spice. On the palate it is very soft, off dry with medium (-) tannins, no heat with only 12.5 alcohol and a medium length finish. If you know someone who doesn’t like red wines because of the tannin, this would make a great introduction to something other than white or sweet wines. This wine sells for $18.50 a bottle.

The fifth sample was the 2008 Syrah. This wine is garnet in color with pronounced  aromas (given enough time to breath) of blackberries, blueberries, a hint of pepper, and a touch of black licorice. On the palate it has supple medium intensity tannins and a medium length finish. A nice wine for $19.95 a bottle.

The sixth wine was the 2009 Old Vine Meritage, a blend of predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc from 35 year-old vines along with small a amount of Malbec and Petit Verdot. On the nose I picked up black currants, black cherry, a hint of chocolate, and a touch of mint. On the palate the wine is fruit forward, with supple medium tannins, medium intensity tannins, followed by a medium length finish. A nice wine that sells for $32 a bottle.

The seventh pour was the 2007 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. On the nose I picked up black fruits, red currants, a hint of eucalyptus, and a touch of anise. On the palate the wine is youthful, fresh, vibrant and full bodied with medium intensity tannins, medium (+) acidity, medium (+) length finish. This wine sells for $35 a bottle.

The final wine was the 2009 Cabernet Franc Ltd. Reserve 1. This wine has pronounced aromas of black fruits, old leather, pipe tobacco, a hint of anise, just a touch of fruit sweetness followed by medium tannins and acidity. This was my favorite wine in the line-up. Although I primarily came to Oregon to find great bottles of Pinot Noir to take home, I couldn’t pass this one up at $35 a bottle.

To see more pictures of Troon Vineyard, check out Erik Wait’s Wine Country Photography at:

To visit or for more information:

Troon Vineyard
1475 Kubli Road
Grants Pass, Oregon
Phone: 1-541- 846-9900

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