As I sat down to taste these wines, I estimated that I have sampled more wines from Troon Vineyard than any other winery–not just in the last three years (when the connection with Troon started), but over the course of the entire 7+ years of this blog’s existence.
Why is that? Math. And fairly simple math at that involving two factors.
Roughly three years ago, Craig Camp took over the day-to-day operations at Troon and he instantly started reaching out to the network of writers and bloggers that he had developed during his years running wineries in Northern California. Luckily, I was in that club.
The second factor is the number of different wines that Troon produces. Most of them are small lot, low production wines, but at any given time, there are 12-20 different wines available.
Here are eight Troon wines that I have tried over the course of the last few months.
2016 Troon Vineyard Cuvée Côt, Applegate Valley, OR: Retail $40. 100% Côte (Malbec). Being a Francophile, I love the fact that Troon uses the local French name for two of their varietal wines (Rolle for one of their Vermentinos and Côt for this Malbec). I also love that their wines are quite tasty. Fairly dark with sweet, rich red fruit on the nose. The palate is tart, but also rich, with oodles of fruit–this is an easy drinking wine with plenty of body and flavor. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2017 Troon Vineyard Kubli Bench Blanc, Applegate Valley, OR: Retail $28. 52% Marsanne, 48% Viognier. The two varieties that make up this traditional Rhône-style white blend were co-fermented as is often the case in France. A bit golden in color with fantastic aromas of apricot, peach, grapefruit, and a decided floral aspect (thank you, Viognier). The palate is round and rich, but with ample acidity—this wine would do well on it’s own, but would be best with food; think golden scallops, a Kung Pao chicken, or anything in between. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2017 Troon Vineyard Roussanne Applegate Valley, OR: Retail $40. This is the last vintage for this wine, as the fruit will henceforth be used for the Kubli Bench Blanc (above). For me, Roussanne is a bit like Gewurztraminer: when done right, it can be euphoric, or it can be overly aromatic and a bit overpowering. This is much more the former than the latter. A bit golden in the glass with floral notes (white lily) and tree fruit (white peach, pear). The palate is rich and full despite being only 11% alcohol (which likely never has happened in the Rhône Valley, where this variety calls “home”), with a bit of minerality, and a floral aspect that really dominates. An intriguing wine that would pair well with fresh oysters. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
2016 Troon Vineyard Tannat, Applegate Valley, Oregon: Retail $40. Fairly dark, as one might expect with a Tannat. But also fruity with dark berries, clove, and black pepper. The palate is nothing short of delightful–Tannat has the reputation of being a wine that needs a ton of cellar time to calm down and manage its heavy tannin issues, but this wine is ready from the jump: great fruit up front, a bit of gravitas on the mid-palate, and enough tannin on the finish to remind you that this is indeed Tannat. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2015 Troon Vineyard Tannat Kubli Bench Applegate Valley, Oregon: Retail $40. Before my buddy Craig Camp moved up to Oregon to manage Troon, I am pretty sure that my Tannat consumption was limited to a few wines from the Madiran region of Southern France. Those wines are typically big, dark, and chewy, usually requiring a decade in the cellar before they can approach being drinkable. That is not the case with this lovely wine from Southern Oregon. Yes, it is inky dark in the glass with dark berry fruit, a touch of black licorice, and clove. The palate is fruity and silky, with earth and just the slightest hint of tannin on the finish. This is both an easy drinking wine as well as a wonderful pairing with any various types of animal flesh. I do not say this casually, but the winemakers in Madiran would be wise to take a trip to the Applegate Valley and take a few notes at Troon. Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2017 Troon Vineyard Vermentino Applegate Valley, OR: Retail $22. Pale straw in the glass with tropical and floral notes of papaya, guava, and red roses. The palate is tart and perfumed with good fruit and brilliant acidity. The home of Vermentino is in the South of France (OK, some might say Italy), where it is usually a bit rounder and typically more citrus than tropical. This is a solid New World interpretation of the variety. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2017 Troon Vineyard Vermentino Whole Grape Ferment, Applegate Valley, OR: Retail $25. Vermentino, which I prefer to call Rolle (what the French call the variety), is one of my favorite wine grapes. Not only does it make wonderful white wines in the south of France, but it also results in tasty wines in various regions of Italy. It is also starting to show up all over the new world, including in Southern Oregon. The juice is not immediately separated from the skins as is usually the case with whites, resulting in a wine that is slightly golden in the glass, with fairly muted aromas on the nose, but nice tart flavors on the palate. This is not a world-beater, but it could win your block party. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2017 Troon Vineyard Zinfandel Applegate Valley, OR: 97% Zinfandel, 3% Petite Sirah. Fairly light in the glass with incredible strawberry on the nose (one might think this were a Rosé with this nose). Fruity and lively on the palate and again, I think one would be hard pressed to label this as a Zin. Light yet fruity, but far from a bomb, this is a Zin that is easy and fun to drink in just about any situation. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
Sadly, I have yet to visit Troon Vineyard, despite the fact that I drove right past it (I know, I know), but hopefully I will rectify that gross oversight soon.
Visiting Troon two years ago, both the Kubli Bench Blanc and Tannat were standouts. Craig is certainly doing good stuff at Troon. And his Wine Camp blog is a variety of colorful info.
Come back and visit! It’s awesome down there! My kiddos got a tour of their compost pile and still talk about it 😉 Plus they have a life-sized chess board in their courtyard to play. Wait… now I’m starting to make it sound like a fun place to take kids. 😉