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DANCIN Vineyards: Rogue Valley Wines of Distinction

There are notable Pinot Noir producers in Oregon that are not in the famed Willamette Valley. DANCIN Vineyards, located in the western forested foothills of Southern Oregon, is a good example.

Dan and Cindy Marca studied viticulture for ten years and in 2007 they bought a 15-acre property near Jacksonville in the Rogue Valley. The site is near where pioneer Peter Britt started his first vineyard nearly 150 years ago, likely the first planting of Pinot Noir in Oregon. They named the estate DANCIN Vineyards after the first three letters of each of their names.

The three vineyard sites consist of just over 19 acres with 67% planted to Pinot Noir (seven clones) and the remainder to Chardonnay. The site, situated at varied elevations between 1,700 and nearly 2,000 feet elevation, has a unique exposure that it is shaded for up to two hours a day at the warmest time of day, making it suitable for growing Pinot Noir.

The wines since 2010 have been crafted by winemaker Brian Denner, a graduate of California State University at Fresno, who has worked as cellarmaster at Williams Selyem Winery and has made premium wine professionally for 17 years.

A Tuscan-styled tasting room offers views of the Cascade Range and a wine cave houses barreled and bottled wines. Once all plantings have reached maturity, the expected production of estate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (and Syrah and Port) will be 3,000-3,600 cases. Visit the website at www.dancinvineyards for more information or to buy wines.

2012 DANCIN Vineyards “Élevé” Barrel Select Southern Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 99 cases, $34. Named after a ballet movement in which you rise up high on to the balls of your feet relates to the grapes for this wine sourced from the estate’s highest elevation vineyard at nearly 2,000 feet. A blend of 777, Pommard and 115. 100% destemmed, fermented in small bins with indigenous yeast, aged 15 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black raspberry, black cherry and cigar box evolve slowly over time in the glass. Ripe-fruited and robust on the palate with sappy flavors of black cherry and black raspberry framed by firm but felty tannins and juicy acidity. Some of the black cherry fragrance returns to haunt the lengthy finish. Score: 90

2012 DANCIN Vineyards “Trata” Southern Oregon Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., 150 cases, $34. Clones Wädenswil 2A, 114, 667 and “828.” 100% de-stemmed, indigenous yeast fermentation, aged 15 months in 44.44% new French oak barrels. · Moderate light black cherry color in the glass. A bit shy, but pleasing marriage of underbrush, red cherry, spice and oak aromas. Mid weight flavors of red cherries and berries with a subtle savory herb note in the background. Unobtrusive tannins, refreshing acidity and some finishing goodness. Two bottles tasted with consistent results. Score: 88

2012 DANCIN Vineyards “Chastinelle Reserve” Southern Oregon Chardonnay

13.7% alc., 100 cases, $30. A blend of five clones (Robert Young, Espiguette 352, Dijon 76, Wente and Draper) grown on the estate and neighboring Panner-Hanson Vineyard. Indigenous yeast fermentation, aged sur lie in a blend of neutral French oak barrels and stainless steel barrels. Weekly battonage. Aged 7 months. · Light golden straw color and clear in the glass. The nose is fresh and bright, with inviting aromas of lemon, peach and tropical fruits. Slightly creamy on the palate with vibrant flavors of lemon, pear and peach and a subtle accent of tropical fruits and oak in the background. A superb wine with excellent harmony, a gentle demeanor, and a good cut of refreshing acidity on the smooth, lemon drop-driven finish. Score: 94

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