Delfino Vineyards: “Taste The Place”
At Delfino Vineyards, located in the heart of the lush rolling hills of Oregon’s Umpqua Valley wine region, one small phrase takes on a bona fide meaning: “Taste The Place.” During a recent visit to Delfino Vineyards, including a one night stay in their vineyard five star bed and breakfast, my husband and I discovered what Taste The Place really means .
Umpqua Valley’s wine region is located just south of the Willamette Valley wine region, with the closest large town being Roseburg, Oregon. Coming from Eugene, Oregon, it took us a little over an hours drive to arrive in Roseburg, which is surrounded by rolling hills dotted with farms and vineyards. While the Willamette Valley is most well known known for fruit forward Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir, it amazes me how different the terroir is in the Umpqua Valley – where big, bold reds take the reign.
When we pulled on to the gravel drive that leads to the Delfino home, bed & breakfast and tasting room, we knew we were in for a treat. We first spotted two Adirondack chairs alongside a small lake complete with a dock and a canoe, and we instantly knew those two chairs would be our final destination for the day. We followed the handmade signs to the bed & breakfast and were greeted by four friendly vineyard dogs, along with owners, Terri and Jim Delfino. We entered through the sliding glass door that displayed a note welcoming us to the Wine Country Guest Cottage. A complimentary bottle of Delfino Vineyards 2010 Tempranillo along with two glasses and a box of Tempranillo wine truffles were on the kitchen counter. There was also a cookie jar, with dog treats, and I was happy to give each of the dogs a treat while they waited patiently outside the sliding glass door.
It didn’t take long for us to pop the cork on the Tempranillo and head out to the Adirondack chairs we had spotted when we pulled into the driveway. On the back deck that looks out over the lake, a hot tub and solar heated lap pool are just a few of the amenities offered to guests of the bed and breakfast. With dogs in tow, we walked down the hill, past the chicken coop, and straight for the Adirondack chairs where we enjoyed a glass of the delicious Tempranillo while relaxing, feet up, with a view of the lake and rolling hill countryside. The Delfino 2010 Tempranillo displayed aromas of fresh tobacco leaves, dark berries and a hint of leather. Beautiful tannins and complex fruit on the palate balanced out perfectly on the finish, and dark berry flavors flourished with a hint of chocolate. We both agreed: the Tempranillo was super delicious.
When we caught up with Jim and Terri Delfino again, we asked for suggestions on a good, local restaurant. The Delfino’s were heading into town to Charley’s BBQ for dinner and live music, which sounded perfect to us, so we took them up on their gracious offer to join them. When we arrived, the Delfino’s had a great table, front row to the one man band, along with a bottle of their 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon to share. We all ordered the baby back ribs, which I had a feeling would be a perfect pairing with the Cabernet Sauvignon, and was it ever. The ribs were seasoned with a dry rub, wood smoked and fall-off-the-bone tender; however, the wine was able to bring out the deliciously smoky flavors of the ribs without overpowering them – together they were amazing. The 2010 Delfino Cabernet Sauvignon’s aromas showcased black currants with a hint of vanilla and pie spice, along with robust, layered flavors of blackberries and dark cherries. I loved the lingering finish on this Cab, and I truly enjoyed every sip.
It wasn’t until the next day, however, that we learned about the meaning behind the Delfino slogan, Taste the Place. When we woke up from a comfortable nights sleep, Terri Delfino dropped off a basket of freshly baked signature cranberry scones and fresh fruit, and I can tell you, the pictures do not do this delicious breakfast justice. The scones were the best scones I’ve ever had – crunchy on the outside, soft and warm on the inside with delicious sweetly tart cranberry flavors. The larger than average blackberries and strawberries were fresh, sweet and super juicy, and if other guests weren’t scheduled to arrive after our check-out, we would have booked another night, right then and there.
Before departing, we wanted to sample all of the Delfino wines, so we walked from the guest cottage up the driveway about 200 feet, and we were at the tasting room. We first tried their recently awarded and highly regarded 2011 Muller Thurgau. After the first sip, my entire perception on this white varietal changed. Unlike the sweeter Muller Thurgaus that I’ve sampled in the past, the Delfino 2011 Muller Thurgau was crisper and drier, and displayed gorgeous pineapple and citrus aromas. The tropical fruit flavors were perfectly balanced by the solid acidic backbone, creating a well rounded, lush wine with a mouthwatering, lasting finish.
The next wine we sampled was the 2011 Vin Gris de Zinfandel: a Rosé that is the perfect summer sipper. Ripe summer watermelon and juicy strawberries. Period.
Next, Terri Delfino offered us a vertical tasting of the 2009 Tempranillo along with the 2010 Tempranillo, the one we had enjoyed by the lake the day before. Before pouring the two wines, Terri explained that the 2010 vintage, unlike the 2009 vintage, was produced using wild native yeasts. If you’re wondering what wild native yeasts are, here is an explanation, straight from the Delfino’s:
“So…what are wild native yeasts and what does it matter? Native yeasts are many and varied. They live in our environment and are deposited on the fruit (like the haze you polish off those plums in the store). Rather than extinguishing these yeasts and adding commercial yeast to begin fermentation, native, wild yeasts are allowed to survive and provide a spontaneous fermentation. With native yeasts, you get layers of flavor because each yeast gives its own flavor to the wine as it converts sugar into alcohol during the fermentation process. When drinking Delfino wines made from grapes and yeasts grown only in their vineyard, you will experience more of the terroir that is unique to Delfino Vineyards.”
So there, it clicked. I now knew the meaning behind Taste The Place, as we were literally, tasting the place, in the 2010 Tempranillo. In comparison to the 2009 Tempranillo, which was very good in its own way, the 2010 was more complex and layered, and the flavors were more intense and rounded. And although we both thought the 2009 was a great Tempranillo, we agreed that the 2010 was our favorite of the two.
We also did a vertical tasting of the 2009 and 2010 Zinfandels, which were both excellent, yet again, we agreed that the 2010 (available only to wine club members), made with wild, native yeasts, had more intense and structured flavors. The 2010 Syrah was excellent too; in fact, black currant and espresso aromas led into delicious smoky, earthy, dark fruit flavors with an outstanding white pepper finish – one of the most savory finishes on a Syrah that I’ve ever had.
We were truly impressed with the estate grown wines of DefinoVineyards, enough so that we decided to join their wine club. One of the many great things about being a wine club member at Delfino is that we now have a row of grapes that will have a plaque with our name on it. No, we don’t own that row of grapes, it’s just now named after us, as the Delfino’s do with all of their wine club members.
Before we left to head back to Eugene, Terri and Jim Delfino suggested we take a walk around the property. They have marked trails that wind up through and around their vineyards, and although it was raining, we decided to take them up on their suggestion. With a glass of Tempranillo (the 2010) in one hand and an umbrella in the other, we followed the trail and took advantage of our last moments at DelfinoVineyards before leaving for Eugene.
Taste The Place for yourself. Delfino Vineyards is open seven days a week, from 11 am – 5 pm, year round, except major holidays. 3829 Colonial Rd., Roseburg, Oregon.
541-673-7575 | outside Oregon 855-673-7575