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Serra Vineyards
by
Kathy Sullivan

Serra VineyardsSummary: Serra Vineyards is located in the Applegate Valley of Southern Oregon. After purchasing the property, Krissa and Scott Fernandes refurbished the vineyards and added a modern-style tasting room that fits against a hillside and overlooks the vast region filled with vineyards and views of the Siskiyou Mountains. The focus of the winery is on full-bodied red wines.

To reach Serra Vineyards, we turned off the main road and traveled for perhaps 10 minutes past vineyard after vineyard wondering for a moment if this was part of Serra Vineyards. But alas, the first vineyards we passed were owned by others but soon we reached our destination of Serra Vineyards and saw what a delightful spot Serra Vineyards occupies, where it is nestled into a mountainous and hilly area.

In 2010, Krissa and Scott Fernandes purchased the property after the elderly owner who had named the original vineyard Applegate Red past away. The first owner had maintained the entire property himself for years. Scott and Krissa visited the area for wine tasting. The region was small and on the cusp of something great. The Fernandes wanted to get involved in the winery as an investment. After purchasing the winery and vineyards, they renamed it Serra, which means a view from a high place.

Serra VineyardsScott (pictured left) designed and built the tasting room with the adjacent winery but his focus was to first restore the vineyard. Scott, also the winemaker, and his wife have thrown themselves into the Serra Vineyard winery whole-heartedly. Krissa is referred to as the CCM with the M referring to her motherly role of taking care of everyone including Liz Wan (pictured left). Liz is the assistant winemaker.

Liz’s wine journey began in restaurants. Her speciality was at the Center Club in Orange County, California. This led her to wanting to know more about wine. Liz did her research and became knowledgeable about wine. She took and passed the sommelier exam, and then passed the advanced sommelier exam. Eventually she worked for Randall Grahm, known for his winemaking skills in California. Currently Liz is a Master Sommelier candidate.

Tasting Room

The Serra tasting room offers a large adjacent patio that has a partial permanent cover offering protection from a sudden rain shower. The patio is filled with seating and numerous oak barrels for tables as well as many wrought iron-style tables and chairs with wonderful views of the vineyards and mountains.

Serra Vineyards

Serra VineyardsDuring our November visit, the vineyards were a sea of fall colors, predominantly shades of orange. The colors were enhanced by the the backdrop of the nearness of the mountains. We were fortunate to see a family of turkeys, some in full plumage, as they made their way out of the vineyards, eventually making their way up the hill close to where the tasting room is located. These wild turkeys had no fear even though Thanksgiving Day was only a week away.

The 80-acre property has 35 acres of grapevines. Varieties include Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Viognier, Malbec and Tempranillo.

The Winery

Scott and Liz prefer to produce straight varietal wines. Scott commented that he only blends wines when the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. He also noted that the reason he prefers to produce straight varietal wines is because he wants the grapes in the wine to express themselves.

Serra Wines

Before tasting numerous bottled Serra wines, Scott and Liz also wanted us to taste a special Tempranillo wine from a stainless steel tank. They were using an unusual protocol for Tempranillo grapes, and the result at the time was a deliciously pink Tempranillo. We returned to the tasting room to taste several wines. Scott took a moment to show us a vintage winemaker’s tool that was used to drill bung holes in barrels.

Serra VineyardsThe Viognier 2014, Applegate Valley AVA was a yellow colored wine with a bit of floral and citrus. The wine was very crisp.

We barrel tasted the 2016 Pinot Noir. This red wine offered notes of raspberries with a hint of strawberry. There was no noticeable oak yet.

In a compare and contrast of two years, we tasted two Merlots. The weather for those years was completely different, and the differences were reflected in the wines especially in their color. Merlot 2010, Applegate Valley AVA was a translucent ruby color. The wine offered notes of earthiness and dark fruits. This full-bodied wine had bold tannins. The finish was crisp and fruity. Merlot 2011, Applegate Valley AVA was a translucent light ruby color. The wine had earthy and spicy notes. The wine was full-bodied with bold tannins.

The 2011 Syrah spent 18 months in French oak. The ruby colored wine offered notes of dark fruit, pepper and spice. The wine also had notes of blackberries. It was full-bodied with tannins. Cabernet Franc 2012 was an opaque dark ruby color. The wine offered dark fruit and spice notes. It was full-bodied with tannins. The finish was crisp with fruit and spice notes. Malbec 2014 was an opaque dark purple. The wine had dark fruit notes with hints of blackberries. It was full-bodied with tannins. There was fruit on the finish. Tempranillo 2014 was an opaque dark purple color with a black hue. The aroma was of dark fruits. The taste had notes of black cherries, black plums and black raspberries. It was full-bodied with bold tannins. The finish was fruity.

Serra VineyardsCurrently the Serra Vineyards wines are available at local retail shops, restaurants and online. The winery also has Serra wines in distribution.

When planning an itinerary, wine enthusiasts and photographers should be sure to include a visit to Serra Vineyards.

Serra Vineyards
222 Missouri Flat Road
Grants Pass, Oregon 97527

GPS: N42º 19.345’ W123º 14.461’

 

Article written November 2016



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