I didn’t think, upon receiving an assortment of samples from Oregon’s Raptor Ridge, that I’d find their Tempranillo a stand-out among the offerings. This Willamette Valley winery heads south to the Rogue Valley–practically in California–to source the grapes for this red wine.
Though Spain’s Rioja region is the premiere destination for Tempranillo, Raptor Ridge’s Oregon version provides another reason to shine the wine spotlight on Southern Oregon. What I like about this wine is that it’s got that New World/Old World thing going on. What does that mean? Generally speaking, New World (say California) wines tend to skew towards the fruity side of things while Old World (think Bordeaux) highlight the savory, earthy aroma and flavor spectrum. Of course this is a gross generalization that you can nitpick to death, so feel free to do so in the comments.
2013 Raptor Ridge Oregon Tempranillo (Rogue Valley) $35
Actually, scratch that New World/Old World dichotomy. This Tempranillo has more of a New World/Wild West thing going on. Because while there’s plenty of fresh fruitiness, the Raptor Ridge also has a kind of leathery dustiness. Like a cowboy with terroir-laden chaps going through swinging saloon doors then sitting down at the dinner table to deftly demonstrate proper bread plate etiquette. So a Tempranillo that’s approachable and composed, yet with a bit of an intriguing wild side. Totally the kind of personality you want at a dinner party…and in your wine glass.
I’d also like to give a shout-out to the 2014 Raptor Ridge Grüner Veltliner ($20). It provides textbook easy-drinking pleasure. I enjoyed it with a friend in the park and it was pretty damn perfect for the time and the place. And the clandestine manner in which it was consumed–poured into a metal water bottle and drank out of opaque cups (hee hee!)–made it that much more delicious. It’s a really unfussy wine that should make anyone happy. If by chance this doesn’t happen, tell said unhappy person to take a long look in the mirror and think about their wine priorities.
No, don’t do that. Just know it’s not the fault of the Grüner. Maybe this person is having a bad day and just needs a beer, whiskey, and/or Fresca instead.
Saloon doors photo via Valerie Everett.
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