While inexplicable feathers fell from the sky as we settled into the Irvine and Roberts tasting room, I was reminded of my dear friend Aggie who taught me that feathers in our path are a sign of good fortune. She was certainly right on this foggy, damp morning in Southern Oregon. Irvine and Roberts’ tasting room sits high on a hill just outside of Medford, Oregon and provides a warm and welcoming space to taste from their wonderful flight of wines. A stunning driftwood sculpture hangs in the entry way. On this day it was adorned with the largest piece of mistletoe I have ever seen, perfect for a loving holiday kiss. Past the foyer, there is a large square tasting bar with comfortable seating and tables and couches scattered throughout the room. Most notably, there is a blazing fire in the large stone fireplace that seemed to warm the entire space. From any seat in the room, you can peer through windows that reach the ceiling and gaze out onto the vineyard.
For this tasting adventure, we were joined by our dear friend Brianne from Sommspirations. She is a delight to travel with and we learn something new about wine from her each and every time we taste together. We were greeted warmly by Dionne and Doug Irvine, the owners along with two other family members, of this lovely spot. Dionne is warm and welcoming, Doug is wildly sarcastic and bigger than life, a perfect match for Neal and his sense of humor. Neal and Doug could take their show on the road. We took a tour of their facility, met their wine maker and a few of their staff, including a soon-to-be vineyard dog named Alder. He’s just a puppy now, but it won’t be long ’til he is roaming the vines.
Following the tour, and a stop to smell the barrels in the barrel room (why can’t they bottle that smell and send it home with us?), we headed to the tasting room where Dionne provided a beautiful charcuterie board with many of the items prepared in house by their chef. I am waiting for the cracker recipe, although I will probably never make them.
Tasting through Irvine and Roberts’ line up was a real treat. They take care with each varietal to create a memorable experience. The 2017 Estate Chardonnay is fresh and crisp, leaving any memory of that other chardonnay behind. The 2017 Pinot Meunier is a stand out. It is a wine I have only tasted a few times, but now holds a place on my list of favorites. It is earthy and both deeply brooding and brightly tasty. The Pinot Noir, both the estate and the single block varietals, are elegant and ring true for an Oregon Pinot that comes from somewhere other than the Willamette Valley. Irvine and Roberts focuses their single block Pinots on the clone, 777 and Wadenswil. The difference in these wines is surprising. The 2017 777 Block Pinot drew me back for a second and third taste, It was fruity and bright and had a finish that lasted beyond the final sip.
If you are planning a trip to Southern Oregon, whether it’s for the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, The Britt Festival in Jacksonville, or just to get away any time of year, this winery should be on your to-do list. Dionne and Doug are great folks who make the tasting experience in this lovely spot even more memorable and delightful!