Virtual vineyards

The art of making wine without a winery
Sara Schneider

Tasting rooms

Fortunately, small co-op tasting rooms are popping up, pouring wines from both virtual and small makers who lack rooms of their own. Here's a list of where you can find them:

IN CALIFORNIA
Coastal Vintners. 11-5:30 Thu-Mon; no tasting fee. 2323 Tuley Ct., Ste. 120D, Paso Robles; 805/226-8022.

Esquisse Winery and Collective Tasting Room. 10-4 daily; $5 tasting fee. 1155 Mee Lane, St. Helena; 707/963-9999.

Napa Wine Co. 10-4 daily; tasting fee from $10. 7830-40 St. Helena Hwy., Oakville; 707/944-1710.

Vintner's Collective. 11-6 Wed-Mon, and by appointment Tue; tasting fee from $15. 1245 Main St., Napa; 707/255-7150.

The Wine Exchange of Sonoma. 10-6 Mon-Thu and Sat, 10-6:30 Fri, 11-6 Sun; tasting fee from $1. 452 First St. E., Ste. C, Sonoma; 800/938-1794.

IN OREGON
Carlton Winemakers Studio. 11-5 daily; tasting fee from $3. 801 N. Scott St., Carlton; 503/852-6100.

Dundee Pinot Station. 11-6 daily; $5 tasting fee. 240 S.E. Fifth St., Dundee; 503/538-7100.

Oregon Wines on Broadway. 12-8 Tue-Sat; tasting fee from $2. 515 S.W. Broadway, Portland; 503/228-4655.

Oregon Wine Tasting Room. 11-5:45 daily; tasting fee from $1. Bellevue Intersection, 8 miles southwest of McMinnville on State 18; 503/843-3787.

Ponzi Wine Bar. 11-5 daily; tasting fee from $1. 100 S.W. Seventh St., Dundee; 503/554-1500.

Rogue Valley Wine Center. 10-5 Tue-Sat, 12-4 Sun; complimentary tasting for basic wines, $5 tasting fee for reserve. Carriage House, Voorhies Mansion, Eden Valley Orchards, 2310 Voorhies Rd., Medford; 541/512-2955.

The Tasting Room in Carlton. 11-5 Thu-Sat; tasting fee is 10 percent of the bottle price. 105 W. Main St.; 503/852-6733.

Urban Wineworks. 12-8:30 Mon-Sat, 12-6 Sun; tasting fee from $5. 407 N.W. 16th Ave., Portland; 503/226-9797.

 

Our picks

 

We visited two Napa Valley co-op tasting rooms ― Napa Wine Co. and A Dozen Vintners ― that pour wines from both small and "virtual" wineries, and found some real gems, all from the valley.

Downing Family Zinfandel 2003 ($28). Here's the beautiful side of Zin, with ripe red cherry jam flavors minus harsh alcohol. Pure and lively.

Eagle & Rose Merlot 2002 ($24). An intriguing Merlot ― not as dense and one-dimensional as many. Lively on the palate, with a terrific bolt of spiciness.

Madrigal Petite Sirah 2002 ($35). Well-known vineyard manager Jess Madrigal and his sons make this massive, intense Petite Sirah, with loads of blackberry and boysenberry flavors.

Pavi Dolcetto 2003 ($20). There are fewer than a dozen Dolcettos (an Italian variety) made in the Napa Valley. This delicious one is bursting with vivid red cherry fruit.

Whitford Chardonnay 2002 ($20). A delicious, simple Chardonnay, with elegant touches of nuts, caramel, and vanilla.
Karen MacNeil-Fife

 

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