We first tasted Troon wines in 2012 at the Portland Wine Media Conference. In an Oregon wine world of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Troon stood out, enticing us with other varieties to experience from Applegate Valley. Four years later, Craig Camp became Troon’s general manager. And that’s when Troon started its journey to become a champion for organic farming and regenerative agriculture. Next, at the 2018 wine media conference, Craig introduced us to Troon’s latest high-quality lineup. Finally, fast-forward to this summer. Of course, we visited Troon during our 2021 trip to Oregon wine country. And we discovered that Troon wines have emerged as unique, natural and exceptional. We also admire Troon because it now is officially a Demeter Biodynamic® and Regenerative Organic Certified™ farm. Read on for details.
Troon is a biodynamic powerhouse, known for respect for the land and environment, in addition to high-quality, original wines. Surrounded by the Siskiyou Mountains, Troon is a biodiverse farm of almost 100 acres located on the Kubli Bench in southern Oregon. Troon focuses on naturally produced wines using native yeast fermentations without additives.
During our visit, General Manager Craig Camp received the exciting news that Troon Vineyard received Regenerative Organic Farm™ certification – the first in Oregon. What a milestone for Craig, whom we’ve known since he was a managing partner at Napa’s Cornerstone Wine Cellars. Moreover, this harvest marks another milestone for Troon – bottling the first wines in the world to carry the Regenerative Organic Certified™ logo on its labels.
In 2016, Craig took over as Troon’s general manager and became an advocate for the vineyard’s organic farming and regenerative agriculture. Since then, Troon Vineyard has transformed itself into one of Oregon’s premier wine-producing properties.
But it all began in 1972, when founder Dick Troon established Troon as the second vineyard in southern Oregon. As well, Troon was the first to plant Zinfandel in Applegate Valley. In 2003, Larry Martin, a friend of Dick Troon, took over and built a beautiful tasting room and larger production facilities. He also planted new vineyards.
Fourteen years later, Dr. Bryan and Denise White of Arlington, Texas purchased Troon vineyard and the one adjacent to it, known as White Family Vineyard. Friends introduced the Whites to the Applegate Wine Trail in early 2017, when they visited their eldest daughter, Amber, who lives in Grants Pass. “We were mesmerized by the raw beauty of the Valley and quickly began researching the property and discussing the possibilities. We were compelled by something external to do this.”
Not surprisingly, the Whites share Craig’s passion for natural sustainable farming and winemaking.
Today, Troon is a leading producer of natural wines focused on distinctive varieties such as Vermentino, Tannat, Malbec, the classic Rhône valley varieties, and orange wines. You can taste their wines at the Estate Vineyard and Winery in Applegate Valley. Or you can stop by their new McMinnville Biodynamic Wine Bar.
Just prior to opening the tasting room in McMinnville, Craig made an appointment for us during the final days of their tasting room in Carlton. Troon’s Wine Educator Meg Ordaz poured nine unique and outstanding wines for us. She is knowledgeable and friendly, and provided an excellent tasting experience.
Troon Sparkling Wines
First, we tasted three sparkling wines: 2020 Piquette ($25), 2020 Pét tanNat ($35) and 2020 Fizzante ($35). The Piquette is refreshing, like a mimosa. Fresh and fizzy, with bright fruit flavors, think picnics and celebrations.
Likewise, Pét tanNat is a distinctive sparkler. This pét-nat is crafted with 100% estate Tannat, and is dry, rich, complex and elegantly textured.
Next, Fizzante is a dry red sparkling wine, with bright acidity and dark red fruit flavors from Sangiovese and Montepulciano grapes.
Troon Whites and Rosé
Second, we tasted this trio of whites and rosé: 2020 Kubli Bench Rosé ($25), 2020 Côtes du Kubli White ($35) and 2020 Kubli Bench Amber ($35). Kubli Bench Rosé offers crisp, mouthwatering acidity and flavors of sweet tart berries. A blend of Primitivo and Tinta Roriz grapes, both the nose and the palate feature notes of raspberries, strawberries, cherries and ctirus.
Côtes du Kubli White made our 2021 list of Warm Weather Whites. We found it weightier on the palate than many other whites, likely because of the winmaking process and its blend of Viognier, Marsanne and Rousanne. Refreshing acidity and lots of fruit make this white wine a crowd-pleaser.
Kubli Bench Amber blends Riesling, Vermentino and Vigonier into a pretty amber or orange wine that isn’t sweet. Meg told us red wine drinkers like it because of the tannins. She also said this is Troon’s most versatile wine in terms of food pairings – the unique combination of fruit with tannin, and structure with acidity, means it can complement virtually any dish.
Troon Red Wines
Finally, Meg poured three reds: 2018 Syrah ($30), 2018 Tannat ($45) and 2018 Cuvée Pyrénées ($65). We loved Troon Syrah, brought some home with us, and named it on our list of 2021 BBQ Reds. This standout Syrah is intense, classic and bursting with flavors.
Troon Tannat surprised us – it is softer and more approachable than the typically big tannic Tannats that we’ve tasted in the past. At the same time, it is rich, bold and expressive. Lovely!
Meanwhile, we first tasted Troon Cuvée Pyrénées when Craig poured the 2016 vintage for us at the 2018 wine media conference. We loved it then, and felt the same way when we tasted the 2018 vintage. This is Troon’s flagship wine, co-fermenting Tannat (70%) and Malbec (30%). Luscious, complex and gorgeous, we took this stellar wine home too.
In conclusion, Troon Vineyard is unlike any other winery we visited in Oregon – on this trip or previous ones. You won’t find the ubiquitous but tasty Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that the state is known for. Rather, you will discover entirely new taste sensations at Troon Vineyard that are worthy of the accolades they generate. Many in the wine industry credit General Manager Craig Camp with resurrecting this pioneering vineyard, turning it into a biodynamic and regenerative organic certified farm. We applaud him, and we highly recommend Troon Wines, which you can purchase online and in their two tasting rooms.
Thank you, Meg, for an excellent time at Troon’s tasting room. And thanks Troon, for some of the above photos from your Instagram.
Previous stories about Troon Wines
- Barbecue Reds (2021)
- Warm Weather Whites (2021)
- Red Wines for the Holidays (2018)
- Success for the Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla (2018)
- A Long Weekend in Carlton OR Wine Country (2013)
- What’s in Our Glasses Lately? (2013)
- Blitz Carlton (2012)
Margot and Dave