The Scenic Route Part 8 – Johan and Quady North

View of the Johan Vineyard in the Van Duzer Corridor of Oregon's Willamette Valley

The Van Duzer Corridor… it’s the newest AVA in the Willamette Valley and it is also home to one of our favorite wineries Johan. We stopped last year and spent an hour or so with Jack Tregenza in the tasting room and were looking forward to getting back for a more in depth conversation.

Van Duzer Corridor AVA

There is a drop in the Coastal Range of Mountains, creating a Corridor where the cool air from the ocean can come inland. That is the Van Duzer Corridor. Highway 22 takes you out through this river valley all the way to Lincoln City at the ocean ( a drive we would take later that day).

The warm air in the valley pulls in the cooling breezes at night. That diurnal shift (warm days, cool nights) especially as the vineyards close in on harvest, help keep some acid in the wines as they ripen.

Johan

Dag Johan Sundby is from Norway. He came to the Willamette valley with his family to establish this winery and vineyard in Rickreall Oregon. The winemaker here is Dan Rinke. Jack…well Jack is indeed a Jack of all trades, assisting in the vineyard, the winery and managing the tasting room, at least, lucky for us on the day we stopped by. He is a wealth of information and is passionate about this place.

The valley is beautiful and we were out bright and early to meet with Jack. You drive into the property through the trees and come around to the winery and tasting room to overlook the vines.

We set up on the patio to talk with Jack. We covered quite a bit, including why the vineyard was biodynamic and the different certification processes.

Vineyard View at Johan in the Van Duzer Corridor
Vineyard View at Johan in the Van Duzer Corridor

A walk of the vineyard

After our interview we walked the vineyard and Jack showed us some of the newly grafted vines. We took in the views, talked about the blocks and the compost pile (I know, crazy that I get excited over a compost pile).

  • Recently grafted vines at Johan Vineyard in the Van Duzer Corridor
  • Jack and the compost at Johan in the Van Duzer Corridor

He also showed us a tree stump that they had inoculated for mushrooms.

Tree stump inoculated for mushrooms at Johan
Tree stump inoculated for mushrooms at Johan

Back to the tasting room

We returned to the tasting room for a tasting and talked about…so much!

The wines here lean toward Natural. I know that is not an official term. Let’s say many are unfined and unfiltered with minimal intervention. They have some really wonderful sparkling wines a pet nat of Melon that I am enamoured with. It is barrel fermented and hand disgorged and there are only 80 cases made.

  • Pet Nat of Melon de Bourgogne from Johan Vineyards
  • Zero / Zero Pinot Noir from Johan Vineyards
  • Notice the Demeter logo? They are Biodynamic certified here for both the vineyard and winery

We tasted though some beautiful Pinots, talked about bottle closures, wine pod cast, the use of argon…and so much more. Really I could have spent all day talking with Jack, but…he had other things to do and we were off to drive through that Van Duzer Corridor for a little Ocean therapy.

Applegate Valley AVA

The next day saw us up really early to make the drive south back to the Applegate Valley to visit with Herb Quady of Quady North.

Quady North

I first heard Herb Quady’s name when I was talking with Leah Jorgensen about her Blanc de Cab Franc. She sources her Cab Franc from Herb and spoke really highly of him. As we were going to be in the area, I knew I wanted to speak with him. He was kind enough to meet us out at the vineyard.

Panorama of the view from Mae's Vineyard
Panorama of the view from Mae’s Vineyard

We sat on the patio, by the house, the dog curled up under our feet at the table and talked about the vineyard and the varieties he is growing in Mae’s (the first vineyard) and Evie’s the newer vineyard. Both vineyards are named after his daughters.

Happy vines at Quady North's Mae's Vineyard
Happy vines at Quady North’s Mae’s Vineyard

We finished with a vineyard walk. Again, vines with views. The dogs ran around us chasing rabbits and we got in some good cardio (Herb’s a fast walker). Herb headed off to his day and we headed to Jacksonville to visit the tasting room.

The Quady North Tasting room in Jacksonville

Sarah met us in the tasting room and took us through an incredible line up of wines. Some are block specific, like the Ox Block Viognier, which we had just walked earlier that morning. Others like the Pistoleta are blends. The Pistoleta is a Rhône white blend of Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne & Grenach Blanc.

They also do some canned wines! Their Rose comes in a 3 pack. A Southern Rhône style blend, it’s led by Grenache at 55%, then 39% Syrah, 4% Mourvedre, 2% Vermentino and a splash 1% Counoise. Canned wine is accessible and rosé is the kind of wine you want accessible in the summer. They have a canning truck that comes by (just like a bottling truck) to package this.

There’s lots more to tell, but you will get the full scoop later. This was the last of our wine stops. From here, we headed south to Yosemite for a little nature meditation before returning to the desert.

Watch for future posts with our in depth interviews with both Jack and Herb!

As always be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date on all of our posts.

Natural Prosecco – Costadila Bianco Vino Frizzante da Tavola

Natural Prosecco

Of the wines that Mathieu told us about at the Farmers Market (the call of natural wine) I was initially most excited about the Natural Prosecco, the Costadila Bianco Vino Frizzante da Tavola from Italy.  I have been reading about Pet Nats and was curious about this wine of a similar style.

First…Pet Nats:  Petillant – Naturel, a natural way of making a sparkling wine.  Rather than adding yeast and sugar to create the secondary fermentation that creates the bubble in Champagne,  (Methode Champenoise) this method called Methode Ancestrale just allows the initial fermentation to finish in the bottle without any additions.  The lees (dead yeast) are left in the bottle where they settle to the bottom.  If you turn the bottle upside down it will make the wine cloudy (think Kombucha).

We opened this bottle on New Years Eve and I will admit, that while I was excited to taste it, New Years probably had me primed for bubbles.  The bottle was capped and had a plastic insert which popped out as soon as the bottle cap was released.  The wine itself was orange tinted and cloudy with savory bits on the nose.  The bubbles quickly dissipated, but the wine still retained that fizzy feeling on your tongue.  The nose was both familiar and strange and at first off putting (again, I think my brain was stuck in Champagne mode).  As the wine opened up, the nose rounded with a comforting waft of barnyard and a bit of warm wet leather.  In my mouth it sat like a light cider with warmth and tartness and a lingering hint of spices and that light tingling sensation on my tongue.

Costadila Bianco in the glass

Natural Prosecco Method Ancestral in the glass

This wine sneaks up on you.  You begin drinking it, contemplating it, and then quietly your mind drifts and you just continue comfortably enjoying it.  It’s like your most comfortable shoes or your favorite pajama’s, or like an old friend, the one you don’t dress up for, the one you don’t mince words with and often sit with comfortably in silence.

So, lesson learned.  I opened this bottle at the wrong time!  Everything has a place. This is not fireworks and New Years Wine, this is curl up in your favorite pj’s with your favorite movie that you are going to watch for the 30th time wine.

Check back here at Crushed Grape Chronicles for more on natural wines and details on the Farmers Market Wine Club!   You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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