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Paschal builds cellar, tasting room

TALENT - The new Paschal Winery and vineyard here is building a tasting room and cellar to display the first vintage entirely grown, crushed, bottled and aged on site and under its own label.

The vineyard, owned by Roy and Jill Paschal, has sold grapes to area wineries for 10 years, but now will dedicate all of its 9.5-acre vineyard to its own wines, mainly the Bordeaux-style reds - cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot and malbec.

"We're small and we plan to stay small," said Gus Janeway, winemaker and vineyard manager, as he pruned extra leaves off vines. "We produce a low yield of very high quality fruit for our limited production of estate wines."

The Rogue Valley climate, the vineyard's manager says, can produce wines superior to those from California's Napa Valley.

Paschal is now selling pinot gris, cabernet sauvignon and a syrah/chardonnay blend from past harvests.

The wines age in French oak barrels on site, making 3,000 cases that you'll find in a few area restaurants and wine shops "where the owners and workers have knowledge about what it is." The wines run $17 to $29 a bottle.

They'll also be available in the Paschal wine tasting room, open Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A new, 4,000-square-foot tasting room/cellar will open in August with a lovely view of Paschal's vineyards and Grizzly Peak.

The present tasting room in the barn offers vintages of 1998 and 1999, which were produced from Paschal grapes at other wineries.

The Paschals use TID water, but don't fear the current drought, as dryness often helps grapes by concentrating quality in those that make it through the season.

Although they harvested their first vintage for Paschal wines only last fall, Janeway envisions making wines that can stand up against the West Coast's best.

"The growing season is ideal for intensely flavored, highly colored reds and highly aromatic whites. The sun, wind and warmth of the Rogue Valley is capable of producing wines that are better than the Napa Valley's."

John Darling is a free-lance writer living in Ashland.

Paschal builds cellar, tasting room