Tasting Notes: Eliana Wines

New wine producers always are happy to win awards. But then, just like first-time novelists whose works shoot to the top of the best-seller list, their victory sometimes is followed by fear that the feat can't be repeated.

The cure for that insecurity is another win.

Just ask Brian Jordaan of Eliana Wines. The former rose grower moved his family here from Zimbabwe, leased the 3-acre Bella Vista vineyard in Ashland in 2008 and got to work nurturing 9-year-old vines.

Winemaker Steve Anderson blended 56 percent merlot, 28 percent cabernet franc and 16 percent cabernet sauvignon to create Eliana 2008 Bordeaux blend ($30).

The wine debuted at the 2010 World of Wine Festival, earning a silver medal, and garnered recognition at Taste of Harry & David and other wine contests including a silver medal at the large 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Jump ahead to this year when Jordaan was informed that his second wine, 2009 Bordeaux blend ($30), also received a silver medal in San Francisco.

"When we won for the 2008 wine, we were ecstatic," says Jordaan, who works the vineyard with the help of his wife and four children. "But winning for the 2009 speaks of the consistent quality of the fruit and the wine."

Grape growers agree that 2008 delivered flavorful fruit. Wine Spectator called it Oregon's best year.

The next year wasn't an easy growing season, but Jordaan says, "We pulled off a very, very good crop and a superior wine." He describes the 2009 blend as having "a bit more earthiness, deep, dark cherry and blueberry flavors with a hint of mocha."

Four cases of the 2008 blend and 420 cases of the 2009 blend are available at Ashland Wine Cellar and Market of Choice in Ashland, Harry & David Country Village and Pacific Wine Club in Medford and www.elianawines.com.

— Janet Eastman

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