Wondering west on Main Street in Carlton we recognized the name of a winery that we had contemplated visiting when we drove from Crater Lake via Gold Hill (Rogue Valley AVA) to Smith River Gorge on our way to the Pacific Ocean, Folin Cellars. Towing a trailer and seeing a directional sign for the winery a couple of miles down a narrow road we didn’t trust that we could turn ourselves around simply enough so passed it by, among others. It would have been terrific to see the vineyards and gravity flow winery, but once missed, second time visited.
Lisa poured for us. She told us about what was there: 25 acres in “Sam’s Valley” planted to grapes we are quite familiar with (tempranillo, viognier, syrah, mourvedre, granache, and petite sirah) besides the winery and tasting room. Although there is a 2011 Pinot Noir listed on their wines for sale, we didn’t taste Pinot Noir. It was fun and we were happy to taste grapes we are familiar with grown in Oregon and interpreted by an Oregon-raised winemaker.
Glass closures – only glass closures are used to seal these wines into their bottles. I am a fan of glass closures for my fruit wines because we can dish-wash them, sterilize them in boiled water (with the bottles, same as when I can fruit to store) and reuse them for the wines we share with family – these aren’t wines that will be kept for five – ten or more years. Lisa was very gracious and provided us with a handful of closures. Our family thanks you as there are more bottles available to spread around.
The wines, as noted above and a blend, are well crafted with attention to detail and a gentle hand in the winery. Really wished we would’ve been bolder several days before and taken the county road to Folin Cellars and Sam’s Valley Vineyard. The 2013 Viognier was crisp and acidic, as I like them, with pear, lychee and honeydew melon noted. 2010 Tempranillo was full of currants and dark stone fruits with baking spices – always a favorite! A 2010 Petite Sirah was earthy with black fruits and a subtle pepper on the lingering finish (we brought one home with us). The blend is described as a ‘dyslexic GSM’ – a smooth, rich but by no means reticent wine.