A few months ago, I was sent a few samples from Troon Vineyard in Southern Oregon. Shortly thereafter, I was asked to join a press trip to the visit the region. Yesterday, I published a few photos which included a lunch where we met the winemaker at Troon, Steve Hall.
Before I met with Steve, it was clear from the wines that Troon were extremely well-crafted and underscore the high quality wines that are being produced in the lesser-known areas of Oregon.
There is no doubt that the wines of Troon are firmly on my radar now and I think that the winery is in great hands and will soon make a greater impact on a national scale.
2014 Troon Vineyard Blue Label Vermentino/Sauvignon Blanc: Retail $24. 80% Vermentino (Rolle), 20% Sauvignon Blanc. I was recently in Provence for the better part of two weeks where I consumed my fair share of Rolle (Vermentino). I prefer the French name for the variety for the sole reason that I play a French snob on the inter webs. Initially, my reaction was this was a bit of a playful wine with aromas of musk melon, quince, and a slight funkiness that is nothing short of endearing (in an active six-year old boy kind of way). Past the lips, this instantly becomes more serious, craving a bit of seafood to cut through the laser-like acidity. Make no mistake, this is yummy, but needs food to reach its full potential. Very Good. 88-90 Points.
2014 Troon Blue Label Longue Carabine, Applegate Valley: Retail $34. 38% Vermentino, 33% Viognier, 27% Marsanne, 2% Muscat. Having just returned from the South of France, I was excited to try this Vermentino blend (my pals in Provence call it Rolle) and I was not disappointed. A bit of color with an intriguing floral and gripping nose, on the palate this is marvelous. Plenty of fruit and spice, with a touch of white flower, this is an incredibly versatile wine: patio, poultry, popcorn, and pork would all jump for joy if this were placed on the table. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
During the lunch with Steve, we had the Troon Black Label 100% Vermentino, which I found to be an even more compelling wine, with deep tropical flavors and a nice weighty mouthfeel. Between these three wines, it seems clear that Troon has a solid handle on Vermentino and moving forward, might serve as a flagship style wine not just for the vineyard, but also for the region.
2013 Troon Vineyard Estate Tannat, Applegate Valley: Retail $29. 100% Tannat. Tannat is not your everyday wine variety. In fact, it is rather rare outside of Uruguay (where it is considered the national grape) and Madiran in France (where it produces a tannic monster of a wine). Over the last two decades, though, plantings in U.S. have increased dramatically since the wine has become rather chic among the sommelier crowd. This Troon is one of the better Tannats I have had in a while and does not resemble its Madiran cousins, at least when it comes to gripping tannins. The wine is rich in fruit but also a meatiness that adds a decided earthy aspect to it. The finish is deep and lingering, and while this would undoubtedly perform better with some beef (preferably fresh off the grill), it does perfectly fine on its own. Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2013 Troon Vineyard Black Label M*T, Applegate Valley: Retail $50. 57.57% Malbec 44.33% Tannat. Tannat is rare (as mentioned above) is rare, but Malbec/Tannat blends in this country are unheard of (if you have heard of another, please let me know!). Rich red and dark fruit with a meaty aspect in the background. Big, rich, and fruity on the palate with the fruit playing a starring role. While there is a bit of tannin in the background, it is certainly minimal, rendering this wine deliciously drinkable right now. While I am not a fan of the big, heavy bottle, I am a fan of the contents. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
During our lunch the other day, we tasted barrel samples of the 2014 Tannat and M*T wines and while I did not take formal notes as the conversation was far too engaging, I do feel that both of the ’14 bottlings might be a slight step above their ’13 counterparts. Steve mentioned that both need a bit more time in barrel, which will help round out the fruit a bit. Certainly two wines to look for once bottled and released.