In The Glass: J. Scott Cellars Zinfandel 2012
Here in Eugene, Oregon, we’ve got an abundance of small, boutique wineries that have no “walls,” we call them wineries without walls. The winemakers source grapes from their preferred vineyards around Oregon and sometimes Washington and other regions (a few have their own vineyards), and then rent out winery space from other local operations and produce wine that they usually distribute themselves – it’s truly a labor of love.
Recently, it appears that many of these winemakers have had a common epiphany: brick and mortar for increased sales and recognition. Ray Walsh of Capitello Wines and Mark Nicholl of William Rose Wines found the perfect spaces in downtown Eugene just around the block from each other. They’ve got enough room for fully functioning wineries that are subtly tucked behind cozy, inviting lounges, where wine enthusiasts can not only enjoy the Capitello and William Rose Wines, but featured wines from other local wineries without walls.
Jonathan Scott Oberlander of J. Scott Cellars is another local winemaker that has opened doors to the public. Although Jonathan opened a brick and mortar space long before the recent openings of Ray’s Capitello Wines and Mark’s Oregon Wine LAB, located along Oregon’s beautiful Coast in the small town of Yachats, Jonathan recently transformed his warehouse storage space in West Eugene into an area where wine lovers can taste his wine while listening to music and enjoying good eats from various local food carts.
Local winery owner Mark Jurasevich, of Noble Estate Vineyard & Winery, followed suit (although he already has a rural winery and tasting room) and opened up a tasting room across the parking lot from J. Scott Cellars – contributing to the transformation of a warehouse district that is clearly welcoming to the general public. Breweries are also taking note; right behind J. Scott Cellars is one of Eugene’s newest and unique breweries: Viking Braggot, who utilizes the space to make their distinctive honey beer. Not too far from J. Scott Cellars, Noble Estate and Viking Braggot, the brewery Claim 52 took advantage of a warehouse unit as well, for their brewery and tasting room.
Last night, these four businesses had their Inaugural Westside Beer and Wine Loop celebration, staking a claim to the Westside Warehouse District and successfully rounding up large crowds – each business was elbow room only and knee deep in smiling, happy wine and beer zealots.
As a long time fan of Jonathan Scott Oberlander’s gorgeous, outstanding Rhône style wines, most of which are all impressively produced from fruit grown in Oregon, I was super excited to sample his line-up of vintages and wines I hadn’t yet tasted – especially the 2012 Zinfandel that I recently heard about from Steven Sinkler, owner of Cannon Beach’s The Wine Shack.
J. Scott Cellars 2012 Columbia Valley Oregon Zinfandel ($28) is a truly unique and striking Zinfandel. This Oregon grown Zinfandel is filled with soft, yet bright cherry and berry aromas and flavors that are highlighted by black pepper nuances that pop mid-palate. The mouthfeel is luxuriously silky, unlike any other Zinfandel I’ve ever had, making it very elegant. Spicy berry flavors roll in seamless, velvety waves along the palate, and the acidity on the finish rounds out the fruit flavors, creating an extremely well balanced wine.
Other J. Scott Cellars wines that completely captured my attention last night included the 2012 Grenache, 2011 Petite Sirah, 2012 Sauvignon Blanc and the 2011 Blanc de Noir – all of which I’ll be writing about soon.