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Kriselle Cellars
Kathy Sullivan

Kriselle CellarsSummary: Wine enthusiasts who travel to Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley will be delighted by a visit to Kriselle Cellars. Kriselle Cellars with 30 acres of vineyards and a wine production of 4,000 cases, offers a friendly and welcoming tasting room experience. The winery participates in the Oregon Tempranillo Alliance, which the owner helped to found, and is a member of the Oregon Wine Experience, a non-profit organization.

Scott Steingraber, owner and winemaker, wants people to know that “we celebrate the Rogue Valley.” He said that “we are proud of what we do” at Kriselle Cellars. The winery tasting facility offers a “great place to visit.” When we arrived at Kriselle Cellars, it was quickly pointed out that visitors to the tasting room can purchase small plates of food every day. On weekends, look for special wood fired pizzas.

Kriselle CellarsOn our first visit to Southern Oregon we were taken aback by the delightful wine experience offered by Kriselle Cellars. After traveling a long driveway which led under a large sign for Kriselle Cellars, we met Scott, owner and winemaker, and Nora Lancaster, director at the winery. Inside the front door, visitors are greeted with the sight of a detailed sculpture of a bison. The bison sculpture was completed by a former Buffalo Bills football player.

Kriselle CellarsThe tasting counter is made to look like a large wine barrel and the countertop is made of a slab of redwood. Small, tall bistro tables dot the room. Small accents of wine bottle corks with a miniature LED candle decorate each table. A large stone fireplace offers a cozy spot to enjoy a glass of wine and embrace colder weather.

The Vineyards

Scott and Nora are friendly and provided us with a short walk outside on the patio that overlooks much of the Rogue Valley. Scott pointed out the Rogue River along the edge of the property in the distance. The Rogue River is a source of water for the vineyards. Over hundreds of years, the Rogue River has shifted leaving behind rocky soil. Scott noted that the vineyards close to the tasting room are actually the banks of where the Rogue River had once run.

Kriselle CellarsThe Kriselle Cellars’ vineyards are planted on the warm, rocky hillsides of the property. Scott commented that the grapevines do not like to have their roots setting in wet soil. During our November visit many of the vineyards were a beautiful yellow. Scott said, “This is the most beautiful time of the year in the vineyards.”

The first vineyards were planted in 2007. Currently Scott is growing 30 acres of vineyards that include varieties such as: Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Sangiovese, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc.

We were curious about the Southern Oregon region. Scott pointed out the Table Rock which can be seen from the tasting room. The Table Rock is made of basalt rock and was a special area for Native Americans. Nora pointed out that there are a few native species growing there that are not found elsewhere including a tiny flower.

The weather in the Rogue Valley is short for grapevines. The region is known for rain from November through February, and from April through September it is very dry. The diurnal temperature swings are significant, as they help the vines produce fruit with a nice bright acid. Mornings can be as low as 45 or 50 degrees and by the afternoon the temperature may be 95 degrees.

Scott’s Background

Scott became interested in winemaking 20 years ago as a home winemaker. At the time, he was a project manager for a construction company that constructed immense bridges. As the winemaking began to take more and more of Scott’s time, he needed to make a decision between two careers. He liked the discipline of construction and the discipline of the construction of wines. Ultimately, Scott chose winemaking and the result is Kriselle Cellars.

The Winery at Kriselle Cellars

The winery facility which produces 4,000 cases of wine is located apart from the tasting room and is close to the Rogue River. To produce the wines, Scott uses his own estate grown grapes and also sources grapes from within the Rogue Valley. The winery has the capability of using temperature control throughout the entire winemaking process.

Kriselle Cellars is a member of the Oregon Tempranillo Alliance, an organization that Scott helped start. This alliance encourages producers to submit wines and evaluates them to learn how to create better Tempranillos.

Kriselle Cellars' Wines

Kriselle CellarsRiedel stemware is used in the tasting room. Wine bottle labels are unique with the labels showing the uniqueness of the soils. The logo represents a bottle of wine emerging from the soil and emphasizes the soil. According to Scott, it is important that they can separate small lots and blend together for a wonderful wine.

Sauvignon Blanc Select 2014 was a yellow color with a wonderful aroma. The wine offered yellow fruit salad notes and was crisp. This wine was 100% barrel fermented, and aged in barrel for one year. Bâtonnage was done weekly. The wine had a very fruity finish. Viognier 2015 was a light yellow color. The wine offered yellow stone fruit and floral notes. This was a stainless steel produced wine and was cold fermented.

Di’tani 2013 was a Native American name for the Table Rock formation near the vineyard. The wine was a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Tempranillo. This was a translucent dark ruby color with a purple hue. The aroma reminded one of a red and black fruit salad. The taste was of red raspberries, black raspberries, plum, blackberries, some leather and licorice. This full-bodied wine had medium tannins. The winery suggests pairings for the Di’tani including grilled meats such as lamb chops and steaks, and grilled peppercorn crusted salmon. Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 was an opaque dark ruby color. The aroma was of leather, licorice, and dark fruits. The taste was of blackberries and cassis. This full-bodied wine had bold tannins. The finish was crisp with a blend of fruit and wood.

Tempranillo 2013 was an opaque dark ruby color with a purple hue. The wine offered notes of dark fruits including plums and blackberries. The wine was full-bodied with bold tannins There were subtle oak influences that played well with fruit. The finish was crisp. Sangiovese 2013 was a translucent dark red. The wine offered notes of cherries. This full-bodied wine had bold tannins. The finish was very crisp and fruity with subtle notes of oak influences.

Kriselle Cellars’ wines are available online, at retail shops, in the tasting room and through the Kriselle Cellar Society wine club.

Kriselle CellarsNear the entrance to the tasting room, there is a colorful oak barrel. This barrel is part of the charity work that Kriselle Cellars supports, The Oregon Wine Experience. Donations to the Oregon Wine Experience supports the Asante Children’s Miracle Network. The Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center provides pediatric care in the region.

When planning a visit to Kriselle Cellars, be sure to plan to stay for a while to enjoy the large patio with views of Rogue Valley. Enjoy the wines and available food pairings.

Kriselle Cellars
12956 Modoc Rd
White City, Oregon 97503

GPS: N42º 29.800’ W122º 51.768’



Article written November 2016

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