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EdenVale Winery comes a long way

Local wines fall generally into two groups. Some are widely available. Others require more of a search.

In the first group you find Valley View, Foris and Bridgeview, for sure. Their wines are stocked on many a supermarket shelf and restaurant wine list. Lately I've noticed Troon Druid's Fluid and several RoxyAnn, Del Rio, Vortex and Crater Lake Cellars wines here and there.

One could now add EdenVale to that group. Its wines are found in several local markets and quite a few restaurants.

This Medford winery has come a long way in just five years or so. Visit the tasting room, and you're presented with lists totaling 17 EdenVale wines. Eight are on a sheet offered for complimentary tastings, the other nine on a reserve list available to sample for a fee ($5 for three tastes, $10 for the works.)

The winery, with Patrick Fallon as winemaker, produces an average of 5,000 cases of wine a year, buying grapes from eight different vineyards.

A favorite of mine is EdenVale's 2003 Chardonnay ($18), mentioned in some earlier columns. It's almost sold out, but the winery has a 2006 Reserve Chardonnay on the market for $25.

Also notable on the complimentary taste list is the 2005 Viognier ($20), which won a silver medal at the 2006 World of Wine Festival and bronze awards at two other events.

There are a pleasant 2006 Dry Rose ($14) and a nice 2004 Pinot Noir ($22). The 2003 Heritage Red — $20 but often found in stores for $15 — is a popular blend of merlot and cabernet franc. General Manager Anne Root calls it their "blockbuster wine."

The reserve list features a wealth of good reds, including malbec, tempranillo and cabernet franc. Most are priced from $25 to $35. The 2003 Reserve Syrah has won four medals in various competitions.

And two port-style wines also are available, each at $25. Rosso Rubino was made with merlot, Diamante Bianco with pinot noir juice fortified with viognier brandy.

The EdenVale tasting room is known as the Rogue Valley Wine Center, and it's part of the Eden Valley Orchards-Voorhies Mansion estate at 2310 Voorhies Road, just south of Medford. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday (until 6 p.m. in summer) and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The wine center stocks wines from a number of other producers, including several that either don't have their own tasting rooms or are some distance away. These include Cliff Creek, Griffin Creek, Lorelli, Neveu, Madrone Mountain, Mountain Meadows Mead, SeaMist, Slagle Creek, Shasta View, Troon. Tualatin Estate, Volcano Vineyards and Wooldridge Creek.

TWO LOCAL RESTAURANTS where I've recently dined prove that even if the wine list is modest, it can include local labels.

Six premium wines are listed at Rooster's, a Medford family restaurant, and three of them are local — RoxyAnn pinot gris and Valley View chardonnay and merlot. Gen Kai, a Japanese restaurant in Medford, serves the expected sake, plum wine and beer but also Valley View chardonnay and Foris merlot. Both also offer less expensive house wines from California.

BRIDGEVIEW VINEYARDS OF CAVE Junction continues to do a good job of selling quality wines for $10 or less. A bottle of its 2004 Cabernet-Merlot that cost $7.99 accompanied a recent holiday meal for our family. It's a blend of only two grape varieties, not three or four, but is a classy wine for the money. It's 51 percent cabernet sauvignon, the rest merlot.

IN CONTRAST, THERE'S Flora Springs, a Napa Valley winery that turns out some high-class wines that are priced accordingly, you might say. My favorite of three sampled at a recent tasting was its 2004 Trilogy — a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot. It's a great wine, as well it should be for a suggested retail of $65.

Flora Springs 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon is a little more affordable at $35. It's strong and earthy at first, becoming smoother with breathing. And then there's the winery's 2006 Soliloquy, all sauvignon blanc but a blend of two different clones, selling for $25. It's pleasant and dry.

Cleve Twitchell is a retired Mail Tribune editor and columnist. E-mail him at clevelinda@msn.com.