Thursday, May 21, 2015

National Chardonnay Day 2015: An Unusual Place for an Excellent Chard

Maragas Chardonnay
I just found out that we're all celebrating National Chardonnay Day today. I don't know why I'm surprised. There is National Ketchup Day, National Ice Cream Month... you get the idea. So let's celebrate!

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting Maragas Winery in Culver, Oregon (near Bend) and found a very good Chardonnay there. We toured the vineyard and barrel room.

Bend is in the high desert and there is a very short growing season so it is usual to see very many vineyards in the area. But, at Maragas, they were having great success using old world techniques learned from the owner's family in Crete, Greece with some local ingenuity thrown in for good measure.

The volcanic soils rich with minerals allow for excellent water drainage so the vines thrive. The owners' use of porous tarps and rocks warms the earth to give the vines a head start each season.

They vineyard showing the use of tarp and rocks,
which the owners dug from the surrounding property.
At Maragas, they focus on farming organically and being as environmentally friendly as possible. They are eager to show visitors what they are doing. And, they are proud of their wines, much of which is made using grapes sourced from the Willamette Valley. Eventually their vineyards will produce enough for Maragas to offer estate wines.

We enjoyed a flight of their wines in the tasting room filled with art by Doug Maragas' mother. As we tasted I kept coming back to the first wine, the Chardonnay, as my favorite. The 2012 Chardonnay, with grapes sourced in Oregon's Applegate Valley, was crisp and well-balanaced. I really liked it!
Doug Maragas pouring my favorite Chardonnay
So on this day, National Chardonnay Day, I'll lift my glass to toast the Maragas family and the Maragas Winery in beautiful Central Oregon.

Note: The winery is holding an Open House on this Memorial Weekend -  Friday and Saturday 11am to 6pm, Monday 11am to 4pm.   More details by clicking Here

More Information
Maragas Winery, 15523 SW Hwy 97, Culver, OR 97734 (easy to find)
Phone: 541-546-5464
Visit Central Oregon

Photography copyright: Elizabeth Rose Photography