Two Day Wines from Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley AVA #OregonWineMonth

While these could be 2 Day Wines — in that you could easily enjoy them for two or three or even more days if you could have the patience to wait that long — what I mean is that these are two wines made by Brianne Day of Day wines.

Day has made a name for herself with her Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, and I am a huge fan of Day’s dry farmed Chardonnay. While Day has worked in vineyards, and in just about every aspect of the wine business as described here, she grows no grapes herself (at least not right now!). Instead, she collects grapes from special parcels from throughout Oregon to make her handcrafted wines.

Recently, we focused on two of her biodynamic wines from the northern Willamette Valley, a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir; today we focus on two blends, one red and one white, from a lesser known region of Oregon, southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley. We paired these wines on different occasions.

2015 Day Wines Queen D Applegate Valley  Mae’s Vineyard AVA Alcohol 13.25%
SRP $40 at Wine House LA bought on sale there for $33
50% Marsanne, 25% Roussanne, 25% Grenache blanc.
(95 cases made in 2016)

An homage to the “lovely ladies D,” Brianne Day writes on the label, “I’m so lucky to have you in my life!” She also states that “This wine was created naturally with consideration and respect for the planet, for the people who love & tended to it and for those will will enjoy drinking it.” This is the first white wine she made for commercial release.

The Quady North website states that the Mae Vineyard is “LIVE” certified sustainable and named after elder daughter Margaux Mae. Sources say that the farming is biodynamic. EDIT:  a source that I trust says that Quady North does not farm biodynamically or organically.

Color: Pale buttercup

Nose: You’ll catch fruit, then floral, then woods, then spice, then you’ll chase that fruit again. Every whiff offered some new depth of character. The fruit was primarily yellow stone fruit — peach, plum, apricot, the floral notes included carnation clove spice.

Palate: I tasted this wine over a few days. At first, the acidity is a bit stunning, but overall balanced with a nice medium to full body. Over time it mellows out, bringing out more of the fruit and finally the baking spices — mostly clove, cardamom, and vanilla.

The finish goes on for days and days…

Pairing: I went with seafood and more seafood. I paired it twice with sushi — it surprised me by not just standing up to but pairing well with a spicy siracha roll from Sprouts. It also handled two milder choices– a sushi-style salmon burrito and a California roll. Because it handled the complex and spicy flavors of the siracha roll, I tried both dipped in eel sauce which, because it wasn’t as sweet as they come but instead had a nice depth of flavor, worked well with the wine!

But the main pairing I did with this wine was with polenta prepared with duck broth and fat, and some large prawns sautéed/grilled in butter and TONS of garlic, a garlicky Caesar salad, lobster bisque, and oysters. Every bite was better than the previous one. Each bite brought out something different in the wine — all good!

While the 2015 is sold out, 2016 which is a blend of 32% Vermentino, 23% Marsanne, 23% Roussanne, 22% Grenache blanc is available to order from the website for $21 (such a deal!). Day writes: “I made this wine with my sister in mind, because she likes me to pick out her wines and generally gravitates toward stone-fruity whites. It was named it for her (Danacia) and for my mom-friend Diana. Two vineyards in the Applegate Valley provided this fruit, Mae’s and Full Quiver, which was brought in early October 2016. I pressed all four varieties together, then exposed them to oxygen to stabilize the juice, and racked it to one 700 liter new barrel, and one 228 liter neutral barrel. No lees were stirred, the wine was completely undisturbed for 11 months, then racked and bottled on June 19th, 2017. “


2015 – Day – Running Bare – Mae’s Vineyard – Applegate Valley AVA SRP $33
50% Cabernet franc, 25% Malbec, 25% Tannat
Sample for my review consideration 

About this wine Brianne Day says that her extensive travel before making wine exposed her to styles and types of wine: “I loved learning about field blends when I was in Alsace and other places of France. I loved getting to know Basque style wines as I traveled in Irouleguy and other parts of the Pyrenees. With this in mind, I was very excited to learn that Herb Quady was growing Tannat, Cabernet franc and Côt (Malbec) all side by side in Mae’s Vineyard in the Applegate Valley. I decided to make these three grapes together as a field blend in 2013 and loved the results so have continued to make this wine each year. The fruit was grown together, picked together, and fermented together – so blending happened in the field. 25% of the clusters were whole – the blend in this vintage (it varies from year to year based on the quantity of fruit that the actual vines produce) is approximately 1/2 Cabernet franc, 1/4 Tannat and 1/4 Côt. The wine went through elevage in French oak, approximately 15% was new wood, for 19 months. It was then bottled on April 18, 2017, unfined and unfiltered.”

Color: Very dense, from the side of the glass it has a maroon hue. Looking down on the glass it is a red, vampire red color, violet rim.

Nose: Herbs, mint, eucalyptus, vegetal bell pepper,  red and blue fruit, a husky musky wilderness.

This is a wine that reminds you of a damp forest floor, like walking through a redwood forest.

Sasparilla heading toward root beer. There is even dried roses. I got mint chocolate as the wine opened up. The more this wine has been opened, the more the herbal qualities of the wine shine through.

Palate: There is a textural smoothness that makes it stand out. The flavors are lovely, but the texture is so engaging that it seems foremost.

Sue had a hard time coming up with terms to describe flavors, because it was so hard to get past the excellent mouthfeel of the wine.

There is a nice refreshing, lingering mint finish, which is about the easiest thing to identify on the palate. It is difficult to discern any of the individual flavors of the wine. It is a wine you want to engage to try and figure out what is so appealing, or you just want to say “Screw It” I don’t know what the flavors are, but I just love it. This is a very contemplative wine. There is so much that is happening. It has the flavor profiles of Cab Franc and the Tannins of the Tannat, and the fruit from the Malbec.

Day tames all of these big monsters into a gentle beast.

As it opens, there’s a nice woody sandalwood inscense quality that comes out. Both of us loved how this wine developed over time. I was able to experience it while it was young and compare the difference. Sue did not taste it when it was first opened, but so appreciated the complexity and experience of the wine from this evening.

Sue: “While I wouldn’t call this a cocktail wine, it can be enjoyed with or without food. If you are a wine afficiando. you are going to love to sip on and engage with this wine. Add the right food and you have just gone to heaven.”

Pairing:  The blend went fantastically with a little bit of pate topped with brie on a cracker (which is a favorite of ours with Pinot Noir, but not always other red wines. Serve it with a nice herbed brie, fantastic with a blueberry stilton. If you can handle the strong battling the strong, try the wine with some snowdonia cheese company sharp cheddar with garlic and herbs. This is like a brut of a wine that can handle big bold flavors.

Give it a nice slice of blue, both the wine and the cheese are elevated in this pairing. It becomes what we have defined as a WOW moment.

Good with a baby greens, strawberry salad topped with feta and chopped mint. You could throw a little salmon on this salad and call it a complete meal. The osso busco was hands down the favorite recipe for this wine. Sue used a basic recipe in the instant pot, what made this the hands down winner was topping it with the gremolata.

That this biodynamic beauty is only $33 is unbelievable. What a great wine for the money! We both loved the heck out of this wine.

Fresh Gremolata

  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 – 3 T fresh Italian parsley chopped
  • 1 T fresh basil chopped
  • Mix ingredients together

This gremolata may seem simple, but when sprinkled on top of Osso Bucco — or another braised meat, you will be amazed!

A selection of beautiful and often biodynamic wines from Day Wines:  Happy Oregon Wine Month!


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