Monday, November 16, 2009

Big Blue Visits: Jacksonville and the surrounding wineries

After spending the morning in Ashland, we headed toward the Applegate Valley wine region. Our first stop was an awesome little tasting room at the Eden Valley Orchard with a cool person pouring great wine. Apparently, we had missed "Octoberfest" the night before in Jacksonville, but the winery had not, pouring wine, running out, then bringing in even more wine to pour. Note to self, next time see if there are any events going on in the area you are headed.

See the little Nash in the background?

After that great wine and good experience, we headed to the preserved town of Jacksonville which has some interesting history. Apparently, because of the highway moving to the north quite a while back, the town was sort-of left behind and forgotten and therefore pretty well preserved in its original state. Old barns, brick buildings, wood porches are now being turned into tourist attractions, antique shops and cute little stores.

We would see this Westy again...

After hitting a few stores, we had lunch at the Bella Union Restaurant & Saloon. This place has a ton of history according to all the details on the walls and the menu. But don't try to figure it out, it's too confusing. We spent 1/2 our lunch trying to come up with a timeline for the place taking into account all the info we could read about. It never really made sense. But the beer was cold and the food was pretty good.

Here are our attempts to create a Bella Union timeline:

And our attempt to make a shopping list:

Big Blue pushed on and it was time to hit a few more wineries. A wrong turn landed us in the middle of a pack of chickens who thought we had come to feed them. Once turned around we hit 2 wineries, Troon Vineyard and Schmidt Family Vineyards.

Why are they crossing the road?

Troon Vineyard was full when we arrived, a good sign that southern Oregon wine is gaining some respect. We bellied up between some wine club members who were comparing what wines they thought were good. They're famous for their "Druid Fluid", but I enjoyed their Cab.

Next up was Schmidt Family Vineyards. Don't be fooled by the badly designed website. What they aren't spending on web design, they are spending to make their tasting room a super enjoyable experience.

I tagged the Vanagon from earlier, which happened to be here, with a Bus City flier.

Now this place was fantastic. EP and I wasted a good deal of time here reading by the fireplace, munching on chocolate and sipping great wines. The guy pouring, Arris, was a great guy and it turned out that he was originally from Petaluma. So we talked Cali for a bit.

It turns out that they have some chickens on the property, and that those chickens lay eggs, and you can buy the eggs. So we left with fresh eggs. We went around back on the way out to thank the chickens. Our second time dealing with chickens in one day...

The Vanagon owners happened to be getting in their van when we walked out so we stopped and talked about the Bus City flier. Turns out they have family in the Russian River area and were going to try to use it as an excuse to attend. Small world gets smaller.

That was the end of our wine tasting in Applegate Valley. It really was good wine, and the small, family feeling of the vineyards and tasting rooms is always a welcome change from some of the Northern California places we go to (or, used to go to).

A few random VWs from the valley...


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