We tend to think of Oregon as Pinot Noir country. Rightly so, s they harvested more than 50,000 tons of the red French grape last fall.

Varner-Traul Vineyard in Talent, Ore., is the estate vineyard for Ledger David Cellars. The Rogue Valley site, first planted in 2006, spans 15 acres and includes white varieties Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Malvasia Bianca, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier as well as Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Sangiovese, Syrah and Tempranillo.

Varner-Traul Vineyard in Talent, Ore., is the estate vineyard for Ledger David Cellars. The Rogue Valley site, first planted in 2006, spans 15 acres and includes white varieties Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Malvasia Bianca, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier as well as
Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Sangiovese, Syrah and Tempranillo. (Photo by Marc Salvatore/Courtesy of Ledger David Cellars)

Wine lovers might be surprised to learn the No. 2red grape in Oregon is Syrah. We tend to think of Washington when we think of Syrah because the red Rhone grape fits so well in the warm Columbia Valley. But in recent decades, Southern Oregon regions such as the Umpqua, Rogue and Applegate valleys have driven greater interest in warm-climate wine grapes. Indeed, in recent years it’s become fashionable for Willamette Valley winemakers to bring Syrah north to craft a jammy, big red that’s an alternative to the ubiquitous Pinot Noir.

Last fall, Oregon winemakers brought in nearly 1,600 tons of Syrah last fall, primarily from Southern Oregon. Here are a few Oregon Syrahs we’ve tasted recently. Ask for them at you’re favotite wine shop or contact the wineries directly.

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