Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Long and wine-ding road to Ashland

By tradition Weisenheimer and my Sweetie, the official scorer, travel to Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival on Monday, a day when the theaters are dark. This year, however, Sweetie discovered that the 40th annual Umpqua Valley Wine, Art, and Music Festival was taking place in Roseburg, Oregon the weekend before our Ashland dates, and attending seemed a no-brainer.

The festival, held on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, was grand. We tasted quite a number of wines. Tip of the cap to Greg Cramer from MarshAnne Landing wines, a great raconteur selling nice juice with astronomical labels. You can't beat that! And the music was fun. We especially liked Norman Sylvester, the original Northwest boogie cat, on Saturday evening, and the Colin Ross Band on Sunday afternoon.

The best part, though, was that we had to find lodging in the Roseburg area, and Sweetie really scored when she discovered the guest cottage at Delfino Vineyards. What a treasure! We had the one-bedroom cottage, spa, lap pool, five dogs, and 160 acres of vineyard and forest all to ourselves. It was quiet and relaxing out there. It was cool to wander the acres of newly planted Tempranillo grapes. It's all the rage in the Umpqua valley these days. Microclimates down there are very much like that in Spain, and there's some great Tempranillo being made in Oregon. We were escorted around the grounds by Ziggy, Gracie, and Ringo (pictured below). There are chickens on the property. Sweetie would likely scold me if I failed to mention the farm-fresh eggs we had for breakfast. Yum!

Jim and Terri Delfino have created a wonderful spot. I suspect we'll be back.

Delfino has a lovely Zinfandel, and we made our way out of town with a half case of that. (They don't make wine on site, yet, but grow and sell the fruit.) As we headed south on Monday we hit a few more wineries: Melrose, HillCrest (the oldest estate winery in Oregon), Girardet (Baco Noir is good stuff), Abecela (the pioneers of Tempranillo in the U.S.), and Spangler. The car was about three cases heavier by the end of the day.

We arrived in Ashland at our Weisenheimer headquarters for the week, the Terra Cottage Inn, in late afternoon, walked into town for dinner at Pasta Piatti (another tradition), crashed early and slept late.

Today is spa day, and tonight our first play of the week, Much Ado About Nothing, in the outdoor Elizabethan Theatre.

Reviews coming here!

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