In late January I was headed to a university recruitment event in Ashland and was a few hours ahead of schedule, so I popped off of I-5 at Medford and headed up the hill following the signs to RoxyAnn Winery. It was a sunny day, which always enhances my wine experience. From the minute I walked into the tasting room I was sold on the pleasant country-like atmosphere. Located in the historic Hillcrest barn, the tasting room is the type of place where you want to bring a picnic, grab a bottle of wine, and spend the afternoon. While I was there they were gearing up for a movie night in the tasting room and I would have loved to stick around if I had the time.
Given that it was a weekday afternoon, I pretty much had the place to myself and the staff went
out of their way to make my experience excellent. I got to talking with the gentleman who was working the tasting bar, and when he found out I wrote for a wine blog he brought Michael, the Managing Director, and Joe, the Wine Club Manager over to introduce to me. Next thing I knew I found myself on a tour of their brand new production facility, which thankfully has enabled them to ramp up production significantly as the wine has become more and more in demand.
RoxyAnn, a family-owned winery, produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Tempranillo, Viognier and Syrah off of their estate vineyard. They market a number of additional wines in the tasting room through marketing partnerships, many made in the local area or on the RoxyAnn property. During my visit, I was able to spend a few minutes with the new winemaker -- John Quinones – who was all of 2 weeks on the job at that point. With 20 years in the field and training from UC Davis, John is well braced to take the winery to the next level as they further ramp up production, while continuing the excellence people have come to know. His philosophy is simple, "A winemaker can't craft wines that surpass the quality of the fruit - it's our job to fully develop, preserve, and showcase what comes from the vineyard. With appropriate viticulture practices, desired flavor profiles, balance, and texture can be developed in the vineyard, long before the grapes are brought into the winery."
While John would have loved to spend an hour talking of the technical aspects of the wine and production with me, I’m not primarily a technical kind of guy. What I’m about is the atmosphere, and any winery where the winemaker will come out and chat with customers is my kind of place. I walked away with a couple bottles of Claret (40% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 25% Cabernet Franc) a silver at the San Francisco International Wine Competition, and their limited production Syrah. I haven’t opened either yet, but will certainly report on the wine when I have done so. All in all, a great afternoon. Next time you are in the Rogue Valley and are looking for some big reds, stop by RoxyAnn.