Monday, March 11, 2013

Great Northwest Wine on Abacela...

Awards for Abacela wines go beyond Tempranillo in Oregon

By on March 10, 2013

Abacela makes room in its Fault Line Vineyards for young plantings of Albariño and Tempranillo. (Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

CANYONVILLE, Ore. – The Umpqua Valley Winegrowers Association recently staged the 43rd Greatest of the Grape as J. Scott Cellars and Abacela left Oregon’s oldest wine event with the top awards.

Abacela 2009 Estate SyrahJ. Scott Cellars, a Eugene project by Silvan Ridge winemaker Jonathan Scott Oberlander, won the professional judges’ best of show for its 2011 Grenache. Abacela’s 2009 Estate Syrah was voted The People’s Choice (best of show) during the March 2 gala at Seven Feathers Hotel Resort and Casino.

“This is our second year in a row to win,” said Earl Jones, Abacela’s owner and founding winemaker. “Last year, we won with our Tempranillo, so it’s nice to see two of our varieties climbing to the top of the ladder in successive years.”

Abacela winemaker Andrew Wenzl is coming off a remarkable 2012 medal season, capped last fall as Oregon’s top performer in Wine Press Northwest’s 13th annual Platinum Judging. His 2011 Albariño, 2011 Grenache Rosé and 2009 Port received Platinums in the invitation-only competition among gold-medal winning wines.

Based on Wenzl’s assessments of last year’s widely acclaimed vintage, Abacela’s 2012 Albariño could score even better this year with its production of 1,300 cases.

“In even difficult vintages, I make a really good wine (with Albariño),” Wenzl said during an early January interview. “If you can make a beautiful wine like (the 2011 Albariño) in a challenging year, imagine what it’s like in 2012.”

Of course, Jones brought Tempranillo to the Umpqua Valley, and he was a early champion in the region for Grenache, so it makes sense that other wineries in Southern Oregon now are enjoying success with both Iberian red varieties.

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