Tasting Notes: The Winchester Inn

The Winchester Inn, the Victorian perched above Ashland's Main Street like a crown on a royal's head, has long been the place for locals to pretend they are tourists and visitors to act like locals.

Making it easy to blend in either way is the selection of local wines available by the glass (starting at $8) in the bar and restaurant, not to mention the private pours in the Tuscan-style Vintner's Room.

Because general manager Drew Gibbs was raised in Ashland (his parents bought and restored the house in 1983 two years before he was born), he has an affinity for boutique wines made from local grapes. The inn offers more than 240 labels, half from Oregon, including Ashland-based Dana Campbell Vineyards 2008 Malbec.

"We have 10 to 16 wines available by the glass, and they change frequently," says Gibbs, a certified sommelier working toward the next level in the Court of Master Sommeliers. "There is always something new to try."

The wine bar, 35 S. Second St., is open Wednesday through Sunday from 4:30 p.m. Tastings are offered when the bar is open. For more information, call 541-488-1115 or see www.winchesterinn.com.

Ashland Food Co-op wine club: Jeff Weissler of Conscious Wine is presenting a Tasting Talk from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, March 16, at the Ashland Food Co-op Community Classroom, 300 N. Pioneer St., where the Co-op's wine club meets for monthly educational classes and First Friday tastings. Weissler will offer tastes of different Biodynamic wines and explain how this holistic farming practice relates to what you taste in a glass. The cost is $15 for wine-club members, $35 for nonmembers. Call 541-482-2237 for more information.

Oregon Cheese Festival: Cheeses of every color, flavor, shape and style will be offered Saturday, March 17, at the eighth annual Oregon Cheese Festival ($15) in a tent next door to Rogue Creamery, 311 N. Front St., Central Point. Talent-grown grapes made into Ledger David Cellars wines will be poured at the event and throughout March in the wine producer's tasting room (245 N. Front St., Central Point; 541-664-2218). The pairings are: Ledger David 2010 Primoris Chenin Blanc with Rogue Creamery lavender cheddar, 2009 Princeps Blanc with Cowgirl Creamery Wagon Wheel and 2010 Sangiovese Rose with Rogue Creamery Morimoto Soba Ale cheddar.

— Janet Eastman

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