There are many areas in Oregon that are growing Pinot Noir. The Elkton AVA (American Viticulture Area) has been growing this grape since the early 1970’s, but was recently added to the list of Oregon AVAs. Located 33 miles from the coast and 55 miles from Eugene, Elkton is absolutely beautiful. Highway 38 has some stunning views of rolling hills and lush greenery. It really is awe inspiring!
When cruising into Elkton, you can’t miss the Brandborg Winery. It greets you right as you come into town, drawing you in to try some delicious wines – and rightfully so! Brandborg was named Wine Press Northwest’s “Winery of the Year” in 2015. Terry Brandborg, the winemaker, creates a high quality product and does a great job preserving the flavors of each grape he works with. I had a chance to chat with Terry recently and it was so inspiring to see his love of all things wine. Originally from California, he and his wife Sue looked around all over Oregon before settling in Elkton. They were drawn to the cooler climate of the North Umpqua Valley.
Terry sources many of his grapes from Bradley Vineyard, in addition to their own vineyard. The town of Elkton is actually home to four wineries (Brandborg, Bradley Vineyards, Anindor Vineyards, and Rivers Edge Winery). All in a town of about 200 people! You could say that this is an area known for fishing in the Umpqua (you can hear the river running outside of the Brandborg tasting room!) and the delicious wine poured there.
The creation of the Elkton AVA was a big achievement for this area. Being on the northern end of the Umpqua Valley makes it a very distinct area. Elkton is an excellent area for colder climate varietals like Pinot Noir and Riesling. The ability to label wines with the very special “Elkton AVA” is a victory, and helps these wineries stand out.
The 2012 Oregon Riesling is the first official wine labelled as being from the Elkton AVA. I cannot wait to try more! Brandborg produces many varietals, including Gewurtztraminer, Pinot Noir, Gamay, and of course, Riesling.They even make one of my favorite varietals, Grenache, with grapes sourced from Southern Oregon. While they do source from many vineyards, they have 50 acres near Elkton that they source from as well. The diverse line up of wines at Brandborg really are a draw. It is fun to be able to taste lots of delicious Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir wines, and end with a Gamay or Syrah. There truly is something for everyone.
The 2012 Oregon Riesling hit my glass and had such a lovely light straw color. It was beautiful in the glass, and even better on my senses. The nose was slightly sweeter with hints of peaches. I thought it might be a little bit sweet based on the nose, but I was wrong. This wine was fairly dry, yet so fruit forward. Right away I got hints of grapefruit, and bright acidity. The mouthfeel was light and gave me flavors of tropical fruits, like pineapple. The acid balance was just perfect. At just $16 a bottle, this wine is a total steal.
All I have to say is drink this wine! Better yet, head down to Elkton and try all of them. The coast is just a few miles down the road, and it really is the perfect day trip. Cheers!