We like wine that is delicious from the first impression through an extended finish. We like quality at all price point. We like grapes that are grown in the best climates for the varietal. These are a few of our favorite things and we found them all at Owen Roe.
Quality wine starts with quality grapes and we want our winemaker to be picky about grape selection. In addition to the estate grown grapes, Owen Roe “rents” site climates. They work with small growers to obtain grapes grown in the vineyard blocks best suited for that varietal, even if that means they buy only the fruit from a few rows within a given vineyard.
Glass in hand (of course) we visited with Garret Plocher at the Owen Roe Winery. An intricate map of Pacific NW regions and topography was on the wall. Small vineyard sites, labeled with tiny pushpins, supply grapes for single varietal bottling. “We buy the best grapes from these vineyards and make sure they are grown to our standards,” explains Garret. Cooler climate varietals like Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are grown in Oregon vineyards. Crawford Beck Pinot Gris is their smallest single site bottling with 200 or fewer cases from 3/4 of an acre. “Eighty percent of our grapes come from Washington vineyards. It is in these warmer, drier regions that we get our Bordeaux and Rhone varietals.” Pointing to the map, “Dubrul Vineyard is our most eastern and warmest producing region.” This is the source of their barrel select Chardonnay and complex Cabernet Sauvignon. Union Gap is about 20 acres in Yakima Valley owned by Owen Roe. “The soils here are very rocky and a gap in the mountain range allows cooling air flow.” A three acre site climate of Syrah grows here on steep western facing slopes. The hot afternoon sun produces small grapes with ripe, concentrated flavors. These grapes go into the single varietal bottling labeled Syrah, Union Gap.
For those of you interested in cellaring wines, Owen Roe is a great choice. Their smaller production labels are intended to age and their online product sheets suggest when they are best enjoyed. We were quite intrigued with the 2011 Dubrul Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Still very young, but showing great potential. Components appeared sequentially across the palate = acid, then tannin, then acid again. Fruit continued at the tip of the tongue with lingering flavors of herbs and eucalyptus. With time this wine should integrate beautifully. Owen Roe recommends cellaring through 2025+. If cellaring is unfamiliar to you please see Pour or Store.