Shock and a glass. An unexpected barrel tasting

Here it was, Thanksgiving Weekend, and where was I you ask, tasting the wines of Southern Oregon. We had just walked out the door of a winery in Douglas County Oregon, after tasting current wines and visiting with the owners, when my lovely wife called out to someone down behind the tasting room. What transpired for the next hour and a half enlightened me into the hopes and dreams for the legacy of a local winery.

Pinot Noir ready to be bottled

Cody Parker, son of my good friend Wayne Parker, owner of Melrose Winery in Roseburg Oregon, was hard at work below this winery, tending to his barrels and tanks of brew, the magical wines in progress, actively resting in their barrels and tanks below this winery. Cody called us down and we chatted for a while, then with a smile of heredity, one that blesses his dad, and now belongs to Cody, he said “Hey ! Ya wanna taste some wine?”

For the next hour or so Cody popped bung hole corks and proceeded to extract samples of the wines in production, in various stages of development. A couple were sitting in large vats in final stages, ready for bottling, and tempting me to stick a straw in and sipping for hours. He also introduced me to one of his baby’s, one that he has held back for some time, aging  and developing, soon to become one of the best of that varietal I have surly ever tasted.

Cody’s “evil professors lab”

However, the one thing that I left the wine processing area with that day, was the memory and warmth of a young man, just 28 years old, who in that short time had traveled the world, experienced fame on the wrestling mat, earned his degree in Enology, and returned to his home, family and vineyards, married a lovely young bride.

And fell in love with the grape.

I learned that although Melrose is one of the largest producers of grapes in Southern Oregon, they don’t have a wine processing plant of their own, and Cody performs his crush, barreling, aging and bottling at a couple of the local wineries with facilities.

However, those days are soon to be in the past, because ground has been broken on their own processing plant on their vineyard grounds at Melrose Winery and Vineyards.

Lastly I would like to leave you with some words of wisdom, from me, just some guy ! Over the years, since the first wines were produced and I have been tasting them. I have experienced a subtle change in the nose and experience of my palate with each years release of Melrose wines. What I have just experienced from the barrel will be their best year ever, in my opinion of course.

A visit to this winery, or popping the cork of one of their bottles, will take you on a journey as you take your first sip, of shock and awe.

Be thirsty my friends..



About storiesbygary

I am a Freelance Writer / Photographer, writing travel related articles for international magazines, blogs and websites and my own published books.
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