We love exploring wine country, especially where we have not been before. In Southern Oregon, near the touristy towns of Jacksonville and Ashland, are numerous wineries waiting to be discovered. We are on our way to the 5th Annual Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland, Oregon, and decided to drive from our Bay Area home just so we could spend time visiting wineries in Southern Oregon. We are spending two nights in Ashland and another night in nearby historic Jacksonville before heading north to Portland.
We stopped into the Liquid Assets wine bar in Ashland. On many Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays in the summer, the wine bar invites a nearby winery to pour their wines. On this night it was Fred and Cindy LaBrasseur. They own the LaBrasseur Vineyard in the upper Rogue Valley near the town of Gold Hill. The LaBrasseur wines are polished, well made and very tasty, indeed. I like the wine prices, with no wines in the LaBrassuer lineup over $25. When you buy wine in Oregon, vs California, there is a hidden 8.25% discount. There is no sales tax in the State of Oregon. Whoopee!
After enjoying the LaBrasseur wines, we moved to the main tasting bar at Liquid Assets and enjoyed a glass each of two different Southern Oregon wines, along with some delicious appetizers. Janelle had the Grenache blend from the Merrill Cellars while I tried the Rhone white blend from Quady & North. Both are excellent examples of the wines that are produced from this region of Oregon. There are four distinct wine regions in Southern Oregon. From south to north, they are the Applegate Valley, Illinois Valley, Rogue Valley, and Umpqua Valley.
We highly recommend the Liquid Assets wine bar. They have a great lineup of Oregon wines, plus wines from all over the world. The food menu has a good lineup of appetizers to go with their wine list. It is one of the better wine bars that we have visited.
For dinner, the first night we ate at the Standing Stone Brewing Company. If you are a beer drinker, this is your spot, but the wine list is also extensive and reasonably priced. The pizzas are delicious! For our second night we met our friends and ate at Cucina Biazzi, a very cozy restaurant in an old house that offers good traditional Italian food. The restaurant was recommended by Brian at the Ashland Wine Cellar. This is the oldest wine shop in the state of Oregon, and not to be missed if you’re in Ashland.
In Ashland we are staying at the Best Western Bard’s Inn, very convenient and walking distance to wine bars, restaurants, and lots of shopping. A continental breakfast is included in the lodging. It’s somewhat weak, but the coffee is good.
In our next blog post we will tell you about visits to wineries in Rogue Valley.