The next day we were going to meet one of my cousins in Medford Oregon for dinner. Although I was not involved much in the planning of the overall trip to Oregon, I did what I always do when going somewhere, investigate the area a bit. One may describe it as tearing through every tourist information website and blog I can find… but I call it investigating.
I had found that there were several wineries in the area, especially in the Applegate Valley. I did not want to push my luck with my dad and ask for a brewery stop at Deschutes and then stop at a bunch of wineries so I never mentioned the wineries. Once it was announced that we were driving to Medford I looked at my aunt and whispered “can we stop at some wineries”. I couldn’t help myself, I love wine!
My request was granted and we headed off into the Applegate Valley to find some wineries. Our first stop was Troon Vineyard. A classic winery with row after row of vines located outside their tasting room, all set in a valley with snow covered mountains off in the distance.
Once inside we found ourselves a spot and ordered up a tasting flight, starting with a few whites and ending with the reds. I purchased a two bottles, The Druid’s Fluid Red and the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve.
Our next stop was a smaller vineyard, Longsword. We pulled in and were greeted by sheep grazing and chickens in between the rows of vines. Once in the tasting room we were given some wines to taste, however none of the wines were produced at this vineyard. It was strange as I had never encountered that before. Or at least I was never aware of it, but it did not stop me from enjoying the wine. I purchased a few bottles of the Tempranillo from Slage Creek Vineyard, which waved out tasting fees.
As we were leaving the tasting room we had noticed the sheep had moved from the vineyard to right in front of the tasting room. The tasting room host stepped outside with us and when asked what breed they were he told us that they were commonly referred to as “babydolls”. They were quite friendly and I loved their fluffy faces. We were surprised Boomer (who was in the car watching intently) did not put on a show for everyone as he usually barks and squeals with excitement anytime he sees a new animal. He behaved and I luckily did not have to make excuses for his behavior!
It was later in the day and most of the tasting rooms had closed down for the night so we proceeded on our way. We made a quick stop in Jacksonville Oregon, a historic town filled with brick buildings from the 1800’s. From the names of the local watering holes it also looked to be a former boom town. We walked around the main street passing by several boutique shops, wine tasting rooms and restaurants. Although time did not permit us, it looked like an enjoyable town to wonder around in that was filled with history.
We moved on to Medford and before meeting up with my cousin for dinner we stopped at Trader Joe’s. I had been yip-yapping about their two-buck chuck as I had heard so many people raving about it (not at the wineries of course, but people from back home). The nearest Trader Joe’s is about 160 miles round trip from my home town so I took the opportunity to visit this one to see what all this two buck chuck was all about.
Image credit: Mack Male
I picked up a bottle of the two buck chuck (actually it was almost $3 – but if you click the above link you can read why it is no longer two bucks). I did not know what to expect, especially since the bottles of wine I had been purchasing earlier that day ranged from $25 to $30 each. At a tenth of the price who knew what I was in for!
I did drink this bottle of wine when I got home. I anticipated it peeling the skin off my throat as it went on to dissolve my stomach but I was wrong, all my organs were intact and it was surprisingly good. I’m sure every wine connoisseur just shuttered reading that last comment but they can feel better as I will admit my tasting palate is average at best. It is rare for me to be able to tell the difference between a $12 bottle of wine and a $60 bottle of wine – go ahead judge – I can’t help that my taste buds suck!