TROON VINEYARD | Applegate Valley | Oregon | Riesling, Whole Grape Ferment — 88 Points | An Utterly Unique Summer White

88 Points | “Recommended”

And now for something completely different…but first, a little reminder: white wines are customarily made by pressing juice from the skins following crush, and then fermenting that juice into wine without skin contact. Skins, therefore, play little or no role in a white wine’s color, aromatics, or flavors, and tannins in the skins do not leach into the wine. Red wines, by contrast, are fermented directly on the skins for an extended period to extract color, tannin, flavor, and texture. Only after or near the end of primary fermentation is red wine separated from the skins.

Riesling fermenting on the skins

So here is the something completely different: a “whole grape ferment” wine made from a white grape variety — in the present case, Riesling — that was fermented on the skins in the method of making a red wine. The result is what is called an “orange wine” (some prefer to call this style “skin-fermented”), as the juice has acquired darker pigmentation along with tannin, texture, and flavor from the skins during fermentation.

While this approach may be unusual in modern winemaking, the method actually harkens back to ancient winemaking practices in the nation of Georgia in the Caucasus region of Eurasia (generally considered to be the cradle of winemaking). Over time, the method made its way to eastern and southern Europe, and today orange wines are most commonly found in Slovenia and Italy where they are made from an array of white grape varieties.

Troon’s rendition has a warm glow to it — more the color of a super-ripe peach than orange — and delivers an intriguing, though elusive, aroma and flavor profile wholly unlike Riesling made in the customary fashion. On the nose are impressions of melon, banana peel, and tarragon; and on the palate, notions of orange peel, raw almond, and rosemary — all framed by undertones of pear, spearmint, and saline minerality over a lean, savory finish. 

The wine is bone dry, medium-bodied, and fresh on the palate, with moderate acidity and no discernable oak. After 10-day fermentation, it was pressed into mature/neutral French oak barrels where it sat for only three months before being bottled.

In terms of style and character, there is really nothing to compare this wine to (except, perhaps, another orange wine), but it should appeal to fans of the lean, dry white wines from wine regions along the eastern Mediterranean.

The folks at Troon Vineyard continue to impress us with their embrace of natural, creative, and age-old (though today unconventional) winemaking techniques. They employ only native yeasts in ferments, use no additives — such as acids, sugar, and enzymes — in their wines, and use only mature oak barrels for aging (no new oak). Here is hoping they continue to think outside of the wine box.

12% ABV | Bottled 03/09/2017 | $20

Food Pairing: Well-suited for springtime and summer sipping with mild or funky cheeses, oily fish (salmon, trout, tuna), and Mediterranean fare — especially assorted tapas.

Availability: For information on how you may obtain Troon’s 2016 Whole Grape Ferment Riesling, visit the winery virtually at www.troonvineyard.com.

For our previous reviews of other Troon wines, go to our main page and search “Troon.”

–Scott Hendley

Posted in Applegate Valley, New World, Oregon | Leave a comment

Daily Wine Recommendation

CROSSKEYS VINEYARDS Touriga 2015

Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

87 Points

Crafted from the Portuguese variety Touriga Nacional (a common blending grape in Port wine), this plump, full-bodied red offers savory aromas and flavors of black fruit, tobacco, nutmeg, and earthy minerality over a velvety palate. Oak (9 months) and tannins are well integrated, with mild acidity. A solid showing for this variety in Virginia. Fresh, appealing, and food versatile.  Drink now through 2020.  

12.5% ABV | 200 Cases Produced |  $35

Availability: www.crosskeysvineyards.com

–Scott Hendley

Posted in New World, Shenandoah Valley (Virginia), Touriga Nacional, Virginia | Leave a comment

Troon Vineyard | Southern Oregon | Estate Tannat – 92 Points | M*T Reserve – 93 Points | Savory Reds for the Grilling Season

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Troon Vineyard continues to up the ante in the realm of natural winegrowing and winemaking. The winery, located in the Applegate Valley of Southern Oregon, is committed to environmentally sustainable viticultural practices, minimally intrusive winemaking techniques, and the selection of … Continue reading

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For Medlock Ames in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley, 2014 Was a Very Good Year

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Coming on the heels of the exemplary 2012 and 2013 vintages, 2014 yielded yet another terrific season for grape growing and winemaking in California — and it so happened to be the third consecutive year of severe drought throughout the … Continue reading

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Vina Robles ~ Two New Releases from Paso Robles, California

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Vina Robles founder/proprietor Hans Nef and Managing Partner Hans — R. Michel, both natives of Switzerland, operate their Paso Robles winery according to one essential maxim:  “European Inspiration — California Character.”  Two of their recent release wines — estate Cabernet Sauvignon and … Continue reading

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WINERY NEWS: Muse Vineyards Opens New Tasting Room in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley

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Muse Vineyards, which we introduced to you early this year (click here for feature review), is opening its new Tasting Room to the public on Friday, November 25, 2016, the day after Thanksgiving, at noon. Muse is a family-owned winery tucked … Continue reading

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Troon Vineyard | 2014 Vermentino 90 Points | 2014 Sangiovese 90 Points | Graceful Wines for the Holiday Season and Beyond

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Troon Vineyard continues to expand our appreciation of viticulture and winemaking in Southern Oregon. Troon wines are consistently well-crafted, distinctive, and appealing — products of “Team Troon’s” sustainable farming practices, thoughtful selection of varieties, gentle and natural winemaking techniques (including … Continue reading

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Muse Vineyards | Clio | Shenandoah Valley | Virginia | 2011 | $35 | 91 Points

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“Highly Recommended” Muse Vineyards’ 2011 “Clio” is third in a lineage of fine Bordeaux varietal blends the winery has been producing on its bucolic Shenandoah Valley estate since 2009. It follows the successes of Muse’s 2009 Clio — the winery’s … Continue reading

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Troon Vineyard: Estate Tannat | Applegate Valley | Southern Oregon | 2013 | $29 | 92 Points

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“Highly Recommended” Tannat is a red grape variety indigenous to the Basque region of southwestern France, and is historically grown in the Madiran appellation that lies in the foothills of the French Pyrenees. It is a variety of deep color, assertive acidity, … Continue reading

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Streicker | Old Vine Chardonnay | Margaret River | Australia | 2012 | $35 | 92 Points

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“Highly Recommended” It is not very often that we happen across an “Old Vine” Chardonnay (unlike Zinfandel), so this selection from Streicker in Australia’s Margaret River wine region piqued our curiosity. Sourced from the winery’s oldest vineyard — the Ironstone … Continue reading

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Troon Vineyard: M*T Reserve | Applegate Valley | Oregon | 2013 | $50 | 93 Points

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“Highly Recommended” From Troon Vineyard in southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley, here is another fascinating exercise in the co-fermentation (“field blending”) of different grape varieties. / The first Troon co-fermented wine we tasted, and recently reviewed, was their “Longue Carabine” white … Continue reading

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Troon Vineyard: Zinfandel | Applegate Valley | Oregon | 2014 | $20 | 91 Points

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“Highly Recommended” Here is a rock-solid, modestly priced Zinfandel from Troon Vineyard in southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley AVA. The winery’s founder, Dick Troon, first planted Zinfandel in 1972, and this wine was sourced from some of those original vines. It … Continue reading

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