Pebblestone Cellars rocks Viognier again at Oregon Wine Competition

By on August 26, 2016
Mollie Battenhouse, national director of wine education for Jackson Family Wines, was one of three Masters of Wine to serve on the judging panel for the 2016 Oregon Wine Competition in Jacksonville.

Mollie Battenhouse, national director of wine education for Jackson Family Wines, was one of three Masters of Wine to serve on the six-person judging panel for the 2016 Oregon Wine Competition in Jacksonville. (Photo by Colony One Studio/Courtesy of Oregon Wine Experience)

JACKSONVILLE, Ore. – Southern Oregon winemaker Bryan Wilson continues to show his skill with Viognier as the Pebblestone Cellars 2015 Ellis Vineyards Block 8 Viognier won the award for best white at the Oregon Wine Competition, the second straight year for the Medford winery to top the judging with the Rhône grape.

The judging led by three Masters of Wine also applauded Wilson’s work with sparkling Early Muscat, awarding his own Cuckoo’s Nest Cellars 2015 Fizzé with a best of category.

Applegate Valley grower/winemaker/rancher Joe Ginet earned the title for best red of the competition with his Plaisance Ranch 2013 Syrah.

The top wines will be poured during the Oregon Wine Experience Grand Tasting on Sunday, Aug. 28 at Bigham Knoll in Jacksonville – three weeks after the Aug. 6-7 judging was staged at the schoolhouse built in 1908.

For the first time, Grand Tasting attendees will be able to sample wines and meet winemakers from throughout the state of Oregon as competition organizers opened the judging to wineries beyond Southern Oregon. It caps the month-long series of seminars, fundraising and events that form the Oregon Wine Experience.

Wilson ranks among West Coast veterans

Southern Oregon winemaker Bryan Wilson produced two of the top three wines in the 2016 Oregon Wine Competition in Jacksonville.

Southern Oregon winemaker Bryan Wilson produced two of the top three wines at the 2016 Oregon Wine Competition in Jacksonville. He accomplished the same feat with the same two white varieties in 2013. (Photo courtesy of Foris Vineyards)

This month’s performance at the Oregon Wine Competition continues to burnish Wilson’s reputation as one of the Pacific Northwest’s most talented and versatile winemakers.

He’s also among the most experienced. Wilson grew up in a home that appreciated wine and graduated from the University of Oregon with an economics degree. However, he soon entered the wine industry in 1981 by venturing to California for jobs with Chateau Souverain, Benzinger and then two years at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, leaving as Warren Winiariski’s associate winemaker in 1995 to return to Oregon. He landed first at Bridgeview – an Illinois Valley neighbor of Foris – then moved to Silvan Ridge (1998) and Del Rio (2004).

At the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the country’s largest judging, Wilson crafted two best-of-class wines (Foris 2014 Pinot Gris and Pebblestone 2014 Ellis Vineyard Viognier), a double gold for the Pebblestone 2014 Pinot Gris and gold medal for his own Cuckoo’s Nest 2014 Pinot Gris. The Foris Vineyards 2012 Siskiyou Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon from the Rogue Valley merited a gold medal at the 2016 Cascadia Wine Competition.

His work with aromatic whites at Pebblestone also helps showcase the site selection and farming done by Richard and Pat Ellis, who purchased their decade-old Ashland vineyard in 2003. They soon planted 2 acres of Geneva and clone 01 Viognier at 1,600-foot Ellis Vineyard, and wine off those blocks from the 2013 vintage earned a gold medal at the San Francisco Chronicle in 2015.

Wilson produces his Cuckoo’s Nest wines at Foris, where he’s been the winemaker since 2008.

In total at the Jacksonville judging, wines made by Wilson generated two best of shows, a pair of double golds medals and two gold medals.

Ironically, the three-person panel of MWs judging the 2013 competition gave the best white wine award to the Pebblestone 2012 Viognier and the the best other wine award to the Cuckoo’s Nest 2012 Fizzé.

Statewide judging lauds 62 wineries

The 2016 Oregon Wine Competition generated 218 entries from 56 winemakers at 68 wineries, and the field included 136 red wines, 66 whites and 16 rosé/dessert wines. Judges awarded 59 percent of the wines at least a silver medal — 130 award-winners in all.

The wines were judged by a panel of six wine experts from California, three of them with Masters of Wine certifications. Judges were Mollie Battenhouse, MW, national director of wine education for Jackson Family Wines; Bob Foster, director of the Mid-American Wine Competition, chief judge of the Central Coast Wine Competition and a retired state of California prosecutor; Napa wine instructor Tim Hanni, MW; Bay Area blogger Richard Jennings; Adam Lapierre, MW, director of wine purchasing for European grocer Lidl US; and Luke Sykora, California correspondent for Wine & Spirits magazine.

Winemakers created competition in 2005

Joseph Ginet is a rancher, grower, winemaker and owner of Plaisance Ranch in the Applegate Valley near Jacksonville, Ore.

Joseph Ginet is a rancher, grower, winemaker and owner of Plaisance Ranch in the Applegate Valley near Jacksonville, Ore. He is among the founders of what is now the Oregon Wine Competition. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

Ginet, Lee Mankin of Carpenter Hill Vineyard in Medford and Cal Schmidt of Schmidt Family Vineyards in Grants Pass launched the wine competition in 2005 – the third year of the festival at Del Rio Vineyards in Gold Hill. The festival, originally known as the World of Wine, moved to Bigham Knoll in 2011.

Double gold medals were awarded to wines receiving gold medal scores from all judges on a panel and a best of show award was given to the top wine in each of three categories: white, red and other (blush, sparkling and dessert).

Ginet’s winemaking with estate fruit continues to shine. In addition to producing the competition’s best red wine, Plaisance Ranch also earned a double gold for Carménère and a gold medal for an even more obscure grape from France – Mondeusé.

Other highlights from this year’s Oregon Wine Competition included wines from Herb Quady and Brian Gruber of Barrel 42 in Medford, who earned two double gold and three golds, Abacela (two double golds, one gold) and Weisinger with a pair of double gold medals.

In 2014, Asante Health System’s Foundation partnered with Southern Oregon wineries to manage the event as their signature fundraising effort for the year. Last year, more than 2,100 attendees helped the Oregon Wine Experience raise more than $500,000, which led to the hiring of a child life specialist at Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford.

2016 Oregon Wine Competition results

Judges for the 2016 Oregon Wine Competition were, clockwise from bottom left, Napa wine instructor Tim Hanni, MW; Adam Lapierre, MW, director of wine purchasing based in San Francisco for European grocer Lidl US; Luke Sykora, California correspondent for at Wine & Spirits magazine. Mollie Battenhouse, MW, national director of wine education for Jackson Family Wines; Bay Area blogger Richard Jennings and Bob Foster, director of the Mid-American Wine Competition, chief judge of the Central Coast Wine Competition and retired state of California prosecutor.

Judges for the 2016 Oregon Wine Competition were, clockwise from bottom left, Napa wine instructor Tim Hanni, MW; Luke Sykora, California correspondent for at Wine & Spirits magazine; Adam Lapierre, MW, director of wine purchasing based in San Francisco for European grocer Lidl US: Mollie Battenhouse, MW, national director of wine education for Jackson Family Wines; Bay Area blogger Richard Jennings and Bob Foster, director of the Mid-American Wine Competition, chief judge of the Central Coast Wine Competition and a retired state of California prosecutor. (Photo by Colony One Studio/Courtesy of Oregon Wine Experience)

Best red — Plaisance Ranch 2013 Syrah, Applegate Valley, winemaker Joseph Ginet, $30

Best white — Pebblestone Cellars 2015 Ellis Vineyards Block 8 Estate Viognier, Rogue Valley, Bryan Wilson, $25

Best other — Cuckoo’s Nest Cellars 2015 Early Muscat Fizzé, Oregon, Bryan Wilson, $15

Double gold

Abacela 2015 Albariño, Andrew Wenzl, $21
Brandborg Vineyard and Winery 2013 Love Puppets Pinot Noir, Terry Brandborg,  $32
Edenvale 2008 Tempranillo, Ashley Campanella, $65
Ermisch Family Cellars 2014 Erendira’s Rise Pinot Noir, Kirk Ermisch & Robert Brittan, $35
Irvine Family Vineyards 2014 Pinot Noir, Robert Brittan & Herb Quady & Brian Gruber, $35
Plaisance Ranch 2013 Carménère, Joe Ginet, $30
Quady North 2015 Pistoleta White Blend, Herb Quady & Brian Gruber – $20
Red Lily Vineyards 2014 Night School Red Dessert, Rachael Martin – $32
Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2014 Syrah Winemaker’s Reserve, Stephen Reustle – $39
RoxyAnn Winery 2012 Claret, Kent Barthman & John Quinones – $26
Season Cellars 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Scott & Jennifer Henry – $23
Silvan Ridge Winery 2013 Malbec, JP Valot – $22
Weisinger Family Winery 2015 Chardonnay, Eric Weisinger – $32
Weisinger Family Winery 2013 Malbec, Eric Weisinger – $28

Gold medal

Abacela 2013 Garnacha, Andrew Wenzl – $29
Abacela 2015 Blanco Dulce White Dessert, Andrew Wenzl – $30
Belle Fiore Winery 2013 Belle Esprit Teroldego, Kathe Kiagas – $38
Cat Man Cellars 2014 Tempranillo, Ted Johnson & Dennis Grant & Marlene Grant – $26
Cuckoo’s Nest Cellars 2015 Aromatíque White Blend, Bryan Wilson – $15
Cuckoo’s Nest Cellars 2013 Two Birds Red Blend, Bryan Wilson – $15
Daisy Creek Vineyard 2013 Malbec, Brian Denner – $30
Deer Creek Vineyards 2014 Pinot Noir, Herb Quady & Brian Gruber – $19
Del Rio 2013 Syrah, Jean-Michel Jussiame – $35
Eliana Wines 2013 Tempranillo, Steve Anderson – $26
Foris Vineyards 2014 Cedar Ranch Pinot Noir, Bryan Wilson – $35
Grizzly Peak Winery 2014 Viognier, Linda Donovan – $22
Halliday Hill Vineyard 2014 Pinot Noir, Doug Tunnell – $45
Hellgate Cellars 2014 Syrah, Herb Quady & Brian Gruber – $35
Hellgate Cellars 2014 Hellgate Red Red Blend, Chris Graves – $19
Marchesi Vineyards 2014 Solimano Red Blend, Franco Marchesi – $34
Pebblestone Cellars 2012 Cabernet Franc, Bryan Wilson – $25
Pebblestone Cellars 2012 Tempranillo, Rachael Martin – $30
Plaisance Ranch 2013 Mondeusé, Joe Ginet – $30
Quady North 2013 Flagship Syrah, Herb Quady & Brian Gruber – $65
RoxyAnn Winery 2012 Merlot, Kent Berthman & John Quinones – $26
Silvan Ridge Winery 2015 Early Muscat Semi-Sparkling, JP Valot – $15
Slagle Creek Vineyards 2013 Late Harvest Gewürztraminer, Steve Anderson – $20
Soléna Estate 2014 Grande Cuvée Pinot Noir, Laurent Montalieu – $28
Tesoaria Vineyard & Winery 2015 Vermentino Secco, John Olson – $27
Triple Oak Vineyard 2014 Red Oak Red Blend, Terry Brandborg – $19
Troon Vineyard 2014 Longue Carabine White Blend, Steve Hall – $34
Troon Vineyard 2013 Malbec, Steve Hall – $29

Silver medal

2Hawk Vineyard & Winery 2014 Viognier, John Guerrero – $24
2Hawk Vineyard & Winery 2012 Tempranillo, Linda Donovan – $29
30 Brix Winery 2015 Pastel 13 American Muscat White Dessert, Chateau Roberts – $22
Abacela 2012 South East Block Reserve Tempranillo, Andrew Wenzl – $49
Airlie Winery 2015 Pinot Gris, Elizabeth Clark – $18
Airlie Winery 2013 Pinot Noir, Elizabeth Clark – $28
Airlie Winery 2014 Maréchal Foch, Elizabeth Clark – $20
Aurora Vines/Aguila Vineyard 2014 Syrah, Brian Denner – $28
Belle Fiore Winery 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Kathe Kaigas – $39
Brandborg Vineyard and Winery 2015 Pinot Gris, Terry Brandborg – $16
Brigadoon Wine Co 2015 Pinot Blanc, Matt Shown – $18
Brigadoon Wine Co 2014 Lylee Pinot Noir, Matt Shown – $23
Brigadoon Wine Co 2014 Taproot Pinot Noir, Matt Shown – $40
Carlton Cellars 2012 Estate Pinot Noir, Dave Grooters – $35
Carlton Cellars 2012 Roads End Pinot Noir, Dave Grooters – $45
Cliff Creek Cellars 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Joe Dobbes – $27
Cliff Creek Cellars 2011 Merlot, Joe Dobbes – $22
Cliff Creek Cellars 2011 Super Tuscan Red Blend, Joe Dobbes – $30
Daisy Creek Vineyard 2015 Roussanne, Brian Denner – $24
Daisy Creek Vineyard 2014 Syrah, Brian Denner – $30
DANCIN Vineyards 2013 Tribute Red Blend, Brian Denner – $36
Deer Creek Vineyards 2015 Pinot Gris, Herb Quady & Brian Gruber – $14
Del Rio 2014 Viognier, Jean-Michel Jussiame – $20
Del Rio 2013 Malbec, Jean-Michel Jussiame – $32
Devitt Winery 2014 Viognier, Brendon Butler – $22
Dragonfly Time 2013 Tempranillo, Linda Donovan – $26
Foris Vineyards 2015 Pinot Blanc, Bryan Wilson – $14
Foris Vineyards 2015 Pinot Gris, Bryan Wilson – $14
Foris Vineyards 2014 Pinot Noir, Bryan Wilson – $20
Girardet 2014 Pinot Gris, Marc Girardet – $15
Girardet 2014 Riesling, Marc Girardet – $15
God King Slave Wines 2012 The Initiative Red Blend, Chris Jiron – $28
Grizzly Peak Winery 2013 Malbec, Linda Donovan – $35
Guzzo Family Vineyard 2013 Tempranillo, Tony & Paula Guzzo – $28
Guzzo Family Vineyard 2014 LoCo Red Red Blend, Tony & Paula Guzzo – $26
Halliday Hill Vineyard 2013 Pinot Noir, Doug Tunnell – $45
Harry & David 2014 Pinot Noir Reserve, Herb Quady & Brian Gruber – $30
Hellgate Cellars 2014 Chardonnay Reserve, Chris Graves – $26
Irvine Family Vineyards 2015 Pinot Noir Rosé, Robert Brittan & Herb Quady & Brian Gruber – $25
Jaxon Vineyards 2013 Grenache, Rob Folin – $30
Jaxon Vineyards 2013 Forté Red Blend, Rob Folin – $28
King Estate Winery 2015 Pinot Gris, Spencer Spetnagel – $19
King Estate Winery 2015 Domaine Pinot Gris, Spencer Spetnagel – $29
King Estate Winery 2013 Domaine Pinot Noir, Spencer Spetnagel – $70
King Estate Winery 2014 Pinot Noir, Spencer Spetnagel – $28
Kriselle Cellars 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Scott Steingraber – $23
Kriselle Cellars 2013 Tempranillo, Scott Steingraber – $34
La Chouette Vineyard 2014 Pinot Noir, Matt Shown – $25
Ledger David 2013 Cabernet Franc, Linda Donovan – $29
Ledger David 2013 Tempranillo, Rob Folin – $35
Ledger David 2013 Sublimus Red Blend, Rob Folin – $42
Misty Oaks Vineyard 2013 Stuckagain Heights Pinot Noir, Steve Simmons – $34
Oak Knoll Winery 2015 White Pinot Noir, Jeff Herinckx – $24
Oak Knoll Winery 2012 Tuenge Vineyard Pinot Noir, Jeff Herinckx – $26
Plaisance Ranch 2012 Merlot, Joe Ginet – $25
Plum Hill Vineyards 2012 Pinot Noir, RJ Lint – $20
Plum Hill Vineyards Non-Vintage Red Velvet 351 Red Dessert, RJ Lint – $28
Quady North 2012 Mae’s Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Herb Quady & Brian Gruber – $39
Quady North 2015 Rosé, Herb Quady & Brian Gruber – $16
Red Lily Vineyards 2013 Red Blanket Tempranillo, Rachael Martin – $22
Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2014 Pinot Noir Winemaker’s Reserve, Stephen Reustle – $39
Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2014 Tempranillo Winemaker’s Reserve, Stephen Reustle – $39
RoxyAnn Winery 2014 Viognier, Kent Barthman – $20
RoxyAnn Winery 2014 Pinot Noir, Kent Barthman – $34
Schmidt Family Vineyards 2015 Albariño, Cal Schmidt – $40
Schmidt Family Vineyards 2013 Tempranillo, Cal Schmidt – $36
Schultz Wines 2012 Mission Viognier, Linda Donovan – $17
Season Cellars 2015 Viognier, Scott & Jennifer Henry – $23
Season Cellars 2013 Malbec, Scott & Jennifer Henry – $3
Season Cellars 2013 Phoenix Red Blend, Scott & Jennifer Henry – $36
Serra Vineyards 2012 Syrah, Greg Paneitz & Kara Olmo – $50
Simple Machine 2013 Leverage White Blend, Brian Denner – $20
Simple Machine 2012 Grenache, Brian Denner – $30
Slagle Creek Vineyards 2012 Syrah, Steve Anderson – $20
Slagle Creek Vineyards 2014 Zinfandel, Herb Quady & Brian Gruber – $20
Soléna Estate 2014 Domaine Danielle Laurent Pinot Noir, Laurent Montalieu – $55
South Stage Cellars 2014 Gewürztraminer, Joe Dobbes – $17
South Stage Cellars 2014 Pinot Blanc, Eric Weisinger – $24
South Stage Cellars 2012 Carménère, Joe Dobbes – $28
Stone Griffon Vineyard 2012 Carol Jean Estate Pinot Noir, Terry McIntyre – $34
Stone Griffon Vineyard 2013 Estate Reserve Tempranillo, Terry McIntyre – $48
Tesoaria Vineyard & Winery 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, John Olson – $35
Tesoaria Vineyard & Winery 2014 Dolcetto, John Olson – $25
Troon Vineyard 2014 Vermentino, Steve Hall – $24
Upper Five Vineyard 2015 Rosé of Grenache, John Grochau – $16
Weisinger Family Winery 2013 Estate Tempranillo, Eric Weisinger – $32
Willamette Valley Vineyards 2012 Elton Pinot Noir, Don Crank – $55
Willamette Valley Vineyards 2012 Griffin Creek Griffin Red Blend, Don Crank – $60

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About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for 15 years. He is a frequent wine judge along the West Coast and contributor to Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the region's longest-running golf publication.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Joe Ginet transforms Plaisance Ranch into award-winning Oregon winery - Great Northwest Wine

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