7 Up-and-Coming Winetasting Regions in the West

logo
by SHERIDAN WARRICK

Weisinger+Family+Winery_0359_web

Wine Country no longer just means Napa or the Willamette. Here are seven places in the West where you can get hip to some amazing sips.

If the idea of a weekend in wine country brings to mind only California's Napa or Oregon's Willamette Valley, think again. Alternative getaways—with great wine, yes, but also outstanding places to eat, play, and shop—are blooming around the West. Pluck your favorite from this tour of the best.

SOUTHERN OREGON

Spanish grapes leap the pond For travelers with a taste for the good life, southern Oregon is a clear draw. Ashland's Oregon Shakespeare Festival sells 400,000 tickets a year for modern classics, world premieres, and the Bard's works. At Crater Lake National Park, an hour and a half away, more than half a million people visit annually to gaze in wonder at the country's deepest lake. Some linger to fish or raft the Rogue River.

With so much to do in the area, it would be easy to forget this is wine country. The hilly terrain of the Applegate, Rogue, and Umpqua Valleys—cool here, warm there—has let vintners succeed with chardonnay and pinot and zinfandel. But the grapes now winning special applause are red tempranillo and white albariño, both natives of Spain.

"Tempranillo grows in a climate and a soil here that lets it taste like the tempranillos in Spain," says Earl Jones, founding winemaker at Abacela, off Interstate 5 near the popular Wildlife Safari south of Roseburg. "It's a delightful wine that goes well with spicy and boldly flavored dishes." As for his straw-gold albariño, "Someone told me it pairs well with a book on a deck on a hot summer day," Jones says. "To me, its aromatics of citrus, apple, and pear make it perfect with seafood. Chef Mario Batali called it killer."

South on I-5, in Medford, the tasting room of RoxyAnn Winery offers another rich tempranillo made from estate-grown grapes. You can also try wine and cheese at Wooldridge Creek Winery and CrushPad Creamery on the Applegate Valley Wine Trail—a short drive off State Route 238 between Grants Pass and Jacksonville. At Jacksonville Inn Dining House, visitors headed for the Britt Music & Arts Festival (through September 23 in 2016) can pick up gourmet picnic fare.

Back in Ashland, playgoers forget the torments of Prince Hamlet and King Richard II with massages, herbal wraps, and botanical facials at classy Waterstone Spa. Not your thing? A wild-and-scenic brand of hydrotherapy relieves any stress during half-day Rogue Wilderness Adventures raft trips out of Morrison's Rogue River Lodge near Grants Pass.

Read the full report on ViaMagazine.com >