Here’s the latest installment in my recap of the Oregon Wine Trail tasting which took place in New York City a few weeks ago. In just a couple of hours, I managed to chat with winemakers, sales managers, distributors, and marketers working with eight establishments in Oregon wine country.
Today I’m headed back to Southern Oregon to tell the story behind Quady North.
Founder Herb Quady made the move from California to Southern Oregon with his family back in 2003, committed to the idea that great wines could be crafted there. The climate, similar to that of Southern France, offered warm, sunny days capped with discernibly cooler nights – ideal for growing the Rhône varieties he loved.
A couple of years later, he and his wife Meloney purchased 100 acres and set about converting them into vineyards. Easier said than done! The land had previously been used as a motocross track and, indeed, there were abandoned vehicles scattered all about. But secure in his vision, Herb got to work rehabilitating the vineyards. In the meantime, he served as winemaker at nearby Troon Vineyard and made plans to purchase fruit for his own inaugural vintage.
The Philosophy of Quady North
Might as well take it straight from the horse’s mouth:
Quady North is committed to the production of small-lot, minimally handled wines that reflect the diverse cool climate vineyards of the State of Jefferson. Our focus is on Vineyard Select Viognier, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah wines that are expressions of the climate, soils, and people who farm them. From the steep, mountain-high Serenade Vineyard above Ashland, to the coarse, rocky riverbed site of Steelhead Run in the Applegate River, our wines are meant to connect the consumer with the terroir of Southern Oregon.
In 2006 Herb and Meloney planted 16 acres, followed by eight more in 2011. Mae’s Vineyard, named after the Quady’s older daughter, includes Syrah, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Tannat, Malbec, and Orange Muscat. The second planting was named after their younger daughter, Serafina Eevee; it yields Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Cabernet Franc, Grenache Noir, and Malvasia Bianca. Both parcels are LIVE certified sustainable.
What I Tasted
I was lucky enough to catch Associate Winemaker Brian Gruber between groups of wine grazers making their way from one table to the next. As we chatted, I learned that he started out in the banking industry but found his love for wine while working at Walnut Grove Vineyards in Virginia. After relocating to Oregon, Brian worked for a while at Troon Vineyard before joining Herb and Meloney at Quady North.
He walked me through four Quady North wines:
2017 Quady North Pistoleta Rogue Valley (SRP $19)
This is the winery’s signature Rhône-style white blend, comprising Viognier (42%), Marsanne (27%), Roussanne (19%), and Grenache Blanc (12%.) It was full of ripe stone fruit aromas and flavors complemented by lemon peel and light floral notes. You can feel the Viognier on the palate – rich and unctuous – but there is ample acidity to balance. I’m a sucker for the white Rhône grapes and this wine was right up my alley!
2018 Quady North Rogue Valley Rosé (SRP $16)
A classic blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre, this rose is made in the Provençal style and is light, crisp, and refreshing, with flavors of ripe cherry, pomegranate, and blackberry, and a whiff of white pepper. This will please anyone who loves the statement pink wines from the South of France.
2016 Quady North La Battalla (SRP $22)
I have to admit – this was my favorite wine I tasted at the Quady North table; not that the other wines weren’t equally delicious! But I especially love the attitude behind this one. La Battalla is an early-drinking blend of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, with lovely fruit, some spice, and smooth tannins. If you notice the label, though, you’ll see there’s a story behind the name. Again, I’ll give you the direct explanation:
“La Battalla” is our blend of Cabernet Franc (75%) and Malbec (25%). It is bright, fruit driven, with a spicy note. Easy to drink and great with food, it shows the versatility of Cabernet Franc. The label features “Don Nato”, our fictional Francophilic freedom fighter. Don Nato fights for the freedom of Franc against a wine world dominated by the Sauvignonistas.
As an unabashed Cab Franc fan, all I can say is, “Vive Don Nato!”
2014 Quady North Applegate Valley Cabernet Franc (SRP $25)
Brian said this wine is considered a hallmark of Applegate Valley Cab Franc. I said, “Yes please!” There was mélange of ripe red and black fruit, as well as a savory quality that was quite meaty. It had me longing for an herb-grilled steak and a table with a vineyard view. The wine was aged for 22 months in oak, 25% of which was new. The oak’s influence on the wine is minimal.
To experience the full power of the Quady North portfolio, click here.
Thanks again to Brian Gruber for guiding me through the fun at Quady North. I was really impressed with everything I tasted.
As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts on the Oregon Wine Trail tasting, this post has captured but a tiny fraction of what each of the wineries has to offer. I hope my limited recap will encourage you to explore all of them further. And, when you do, please drop me a line in the comments section and tell me about it!
Stay tuned for more – yes, at least two more posts are forthcoming. Hey, Oregon Wine Month lasts for 10 more days, and I’m going to keep at it.