Ledger David Cellars – Vineyard and Winery in Southern Oregon

Trends in Vineyard Management Include Using Birds of Prey for Pest Control

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By Winemaker Kiley Evans

Every year the entire Oregon wine industry gathers to discuss all things marketing, sales, business, vineyard, and yes, wine. The peak is the Awards Dinner during which members of the state’s wine industry are recognized for their contributions to the advancement of Oregon wine. Ledger David’s award-winning 2011 Orion’s Nebula red blend was fortunate enough to be selected by a team of talented Oregon sommeliers as one of ten wines served at the dinner.

The Oregon Wine Board scheduled lectures on subjects ranging from using drones to gain perspective on vineyard management impacts to business succession planning. The most interesting lecture I attended featured insights into different fermentation vessels comparing stainless steel tanks, wood tanks, concrete vats, and clay amphorae. The textural differences were remarkable owing mainly to the different air permeation rates for each material. Concrete, oak, and clay all “breathe” to different degrees whereas stainless steel is completely airtight. That subtlety has a big impact on how wines develop mouthfeel during fermentation. Another interesting session focused on how viticultural practices can impact the pace of fruit ripening. An experimental vineyard site harvested fruit at similar ripeness levels on three different days called “early”, “middle”, and “late.” After identical fermentation and aging protocols the wines exhibited similar color and aromatic profiles, but the level of extract and tannin was significantly different between the three treatments. The early harvest was light and elegant, the middle harvest was richer and more intensely flavored while the late harvest was deep and broodingly structured with obvious ageability.

March Blog Post Symposium Falcon Pic

In addition to lectures, the symposium included an extensive Exhibit Hall featuring everything wine-related from tractors to wine bottle labels to winery floor coating options, but the most interesting booth contained bird roosts. That’s right.

There is a company that specializes in an unique form of bird control. Some migratory birds such as Robins, Starlings, and Cedar Waxwings are ravenous feeders that absolutely love ripe grapes. A flock of any of these can consume several tons of fruit in just a few hours. Many control methods use distress calls or propane gas cannons to scare birds away or nets to cover the fruit. A novel biological method to control these pests that is completely sustainable and has nearly zero impact is to use birds of prey to literally chase the pest birds out of the vineyard. Using imported Asian falcons (domestic birds of prey are protected species and as such cannot be legally domesticated for use) this company will come to your vineyard and use their trained falcons to chase out other birds. Having seen this in operation I can say it is really interesting to see how a single small falcon can have such enormous impact.

I always enjoy the time with friends that I don’t see often, as well as meeting new people. Here’s to another great Oregon Wine Industry Symposium and a big thank you to the organizers for putting together a fantastic educational program!

Spring Wine Club Pick Up

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Join Ledger David Cellars for our spring Primoris Wine Club pick up party March 20-22 at Le Petit Tasting Room. Celebrate the release of our newest wines including 2012 Estate Tempranillo and 2012 Epitome of Three. This adventurous red blend recently took home a silver award at the reputable 2015 San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition. Other wine club selections include our latest vintage 2013 Viognier – perfect for spring wine parings.

Enjoy these wines with small bites from Pomodori Bistro & Wine Bar all weekend. We’re staying open a little late on Friday and Saturday just for wine club members. If you come Sunday, don’t miss local blue grass band Not Too Shabby from 2-4pm!

Event Hours: Fri. & Sat., noon-6pm | Sun., noon-5pm

Please let us know if your billing information has changed. Call Heather Hamlin at (541) 664-2218 or email [email protected] and she would be delighted to update your payment information before processing your wine club order. For your convenience, you can also now update your credit information online with our secure wine club form.

We will be processing orders on Monday, March 16. As a reminder, 3-bottle members receive a 15% discount, 6-bottle members 20% and 12-bottle members 25% discount on all wine club selections.

If you are unable to join us during this event weekend, your wine club selections will be available after Monday, March 23 at the tasting room in Central Point (next to the Rogue Creamery) any time during regular hours.

Ledger David Wins Top Scores at San Francisco
Chronicle Awards

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By Kiley Evans

Dateline: San Francisco, CA.
Event: The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Result: Ledger David Cellars brings 9 medals back to the Rogue Valley including 4 for our first vintage efforts!

2011 Malbec. 2011 Dark Night. 2011 Syrah. 2012 Epitome of Three. Our first vintage of these crowd favorites medal at the 2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Tack on awards for 2011 Orion’s Nebula, 2013 Sauvignon blanc, 2012 Sangiovese, 2012 Cabernet franc, and 2013 Primoris Chenin blanc, too.

Why is this a big deal? First of all, the fact that we are such a young winery makes us a legitimate David versus Goliath when compared to the big name established wineries. It’s a role we really enjoy, too. Secondly, we validate our focus on both varietal wines and blends. Our first Tempranillo-based blend, 2011 Dark Night, our first Syrah-based blend, 2012 Epitome of Three, and our flagship Cabernet franc-based blend, 2011 Orion’s Nebula, all brought home some hardware. Imagine the look on the judge’s faces when the bags are removed and our wines are standing right there toe to toe with the big brands with international reputations! We can almost hear the judges say, “That wine is from where? They grow that in Oregon? Seriously?”

The sheer size of the SF Chronicle Wine Competition, over 6,400 entries, is what makes it such an important measurement for our wines. The event conducts blind tastings by some of the country’s most highly regarded professionals in the wine, restaurant, travel, journalism, and academic industries. When the size of the playing field is considered, a medal at the Chronicle Competition is considered more prestigious than most others. Here’s to a great contest and inspiring results!

Stars Align For Orion’s Nebula

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By Kiley Evans

We get asked pretty regularly about the name of our flagship red blend Orion’s Nebula. How did you come up with that name? What does it mean? How does that connect to wine? Are you astronomers?

Dreamers? Definitely. Stargazers? Maybe.


In a broad sense Orion’s Nebula is a creative outlet for Ledger David Cellars just as Orion’s Nebula gives birth to new stars. We call upon our estate vineyard’s star vines to compose Orion’s Nebula as the celestial stars make up Orion. We further personalize the strength in unity of our winegrowing and winemaking efforts much like Orion is visible in both the Earth’s hemispheres. Colloquially, we call Orion’s Nebula our “Right Bank” red blend based on Cabernet franc as an ode to the great wines from St. Emilion along the Eastern bank of Bordeaux’s Dordogne river, the “Right Bank.” Our priority is a wine of elegance and authority that embodies the beauty of the night sky and the power of the warrior hunter. Bold yet sophisticated. Powerful yet refined.

Orion is visible in the northern hemisphere from Fall into Spring. Besides the star Betelguese, a red supergiant whose color is apparent with the naked eye, the most immediately discernable feature of the constellation Orion is a small southeast-to-northwest line of three distinct stars referred to as Orion’s Belt. Descending from that “belt” is a second line of three stars known as the hunter’s sword. The sword’s middle star is in fact not a star at all, but a cluster of stars and gas known as Orion’s Nebula, which is actually a stellar “nursery” where new stars are born.

Orion. His enormous size, supernatural strength, and cunning skill with the sword made him a legendary warrior and hunter. So much so that he was retained by Kings to rid their kingdoms of vicious beasts. His prowess led to him being in the company of the virgin goddess Diana, sister of Apollo, as a companion and friend. Upon seeing their mutual infatuation, Apollo became enraged. He sent an invulnerable scorpion to chase Orion into the sea while he taunted his sister as she strolled the shoreline that she was not his equal with the bow and arrow. He pointed out a tiny dot in the ocean that she certainly could not hit. Diana unleashed an arrow with mortal accuracy then cried incessantly as Orion’s body washed ashore later. She placed him and his sword among the stars so she might enjoy his company as she rode her chariot across the night sky.

Ancho Chile Soup with Chocolate

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Paired with Ledger David Orion’s Nebula Red Blend
By Robert Trottmann

Serves 6–8

3 dried ancho chiles
4 medium tomatoes, cored
1 small white onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cumin
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Sour cream, sliced avocado, cilantro leaves, and tortilla strips or chips for serving.

Heat a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chiles and cook, turning once, until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, pour over 1 cup boiling water, and let sit until soft, about 30 minutes.
Drain chiles, reserving soaking liquid, and remove stems and seeds. Transfer chiles to a blender and set aside. Return pot to heat, and add tomatoes, and onion; cook, turning as needed, until blackened all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer to blender, along with garlic, cinnamon, sugar, and cumin; puree until very smooth and set aside.
Return pan to medium-high heat, and add oil. When hot, add chile purée, and fry, stirring constantly, until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Add stock, and bring to a boil; remove from heat, stir in chocolate, and season with salt and pepper. Serve ladled into bowls with a dollop of sour cream, a few slices of avocado, cilantro leaves and some tortilla strips.

Holiday Wine Club Pick Up

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‘Tis the season of giving…and receiving. As a Primoris Wine Club Member, get an additional 5 percent off all purchases through December 31. Let’s celebrate!

Join Ledger David Cellars for our Holiday Wine Club Pick Up Dec. 5-7 at Le Petit Tasting Room. Celebrate special wine releases including our limited production 2011 Syrah, named one of Oregon’s ’50 Best Wines’ by Portland Monthly Magazine. Other exciting holiday releases include our 2013 Chardonnay and our 2012 Cabernet Franc.

December Wine Club Shipments Include:

3-Bottle Members
Save 20 percent on 2013 Chardonnay, 2012 Cabernet Franc and 2011 Syrah

6-Bottle Members
Save 25 percent on 2013 Chardonnay, 2012 Cabernet Franc, 2011 Syrah and 2010 Tempranillo Reserve

12-Bottle Members
Save 30 percent on 2013 Chardonnay, 2012 Cabernet Franc, 2011 Syrah and 2010 Tempranillo Reserve, plus an exclusive pre-release of our newest red blend 2012 Epitome of Three

It’s your time. Indulge in your wine paired with a decadent spread of sweet and savory seasonal items. Also, enjoy live music from harpist Mary Vannice on Fri. Dec. 5 and jazz artist Ed Dunsavage on Sat., Dec. 6 from 2-4pm.

Event Hours: Fri & Sat, Noon-6pm | Sun, Noon-5pm

Please let us know if your billing information has changed. Call Heather Davis at (541) 664-2218 or email [email protected] and she would be delighted to update your payment information before processing your wine club order.

 We will be processing orders on Tuesday, December 2. As a reminder, 3-bottle members receive a 20% discount, 6-bottle members receive a 25% discount and 12-bottle members receive a 30% discount on all wine selections through December 31, 2014.

If you are unable to join us during this event weekend, your wine club selections will be available after Monday, December 8 at the tasting room in Central Point (next to the Rogue Creamery) any time during regular hours.

Celebrate Tempranillo Day!

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SONY DSCBy Kiley Evans

Date: 1929 Location: Barcelona, Spain. Event: 1929 World’s Fair Wine Competition. Moment: Spain’s Vega Sicilia is discovered by at-the-time a worldwide audience of wine lovers as its 1917 and 1918 vintages win multiple awards. Fast-forward to 1956 as Vega Sicilia initiates the formation and organization of Spain’s Ribera del Duero wine region as a Designated Region of Origin, similar to our own AVAs. Next, in 1986 and in a world far more connected and wine savvy than in 1956, a wine review was published that would prophet change in the wine world. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate rated the 1982 Pesquera very highly and the fruits of Winemaker Alejandro Fernandez’ labor ignited fires the world over as growers, producers, and consumers suddenly “discovered” the Tempranillo-based red wines of the Ribera del Duero once again. While long the backbone for the great and profound wines from Spain’s Ribera del Duero and Rioja it wouldn’t take long for Tempranillo to become the world’s 6th most widely planted grape.

There is considerably more Tempranillo in the US than one would think, but it has mostly been relegated to plantings in California’s Central Valley and used in the production of generic, bland, non-varietal wines of little distinction. However, in the mid-90s several individuals in the US who realized the potential of Tempranillo began trying to elevate the status of this noble grape. A precious few plantings found their way to premium sites and soils in California’s Sonoma and Napa counties and Sierra Foothills, as well as Oregon’s Umpqua Valley.

In 2002 a group of Tempranillo producers met at an invitation-only varietal tasting hosted by journalists Ray and Eleanor Heald. People met, wines were tasted, and discussion ensued as the seed for an organization dedicated to promoting Tempranillo grapes and wine grown and produced in the US was planted that day. Next, in January 2004 those people got together again, along with a few other pioneers, and formed the base of the group that would promote the Tempranillo banner, TAPAS, or Tempranillo Advocates, Producers, and Amigos Society. From that initial meeting of fewer than a dozen people TAPAS has grown into an organization with nearly 70 winery members. TAPAS biggest annual event comes in the form of International Tempranillo Day the second Thursday in November each year.

Jump forward to today. We already knew the Ledger David estate vineyard was perfectly suited to producing luxurious Tempranillo fruit when our vines went in the ground in 2008. In 2010 we had planned to remove the fruit from those young vines, but we were persuaded to leave it on the vine and that gorgeous wine could be made from that young fruit. The results speak for themselves. Our 2010 Tempranillo, 2010 Tempranillo Reserve, and 2010 Tempranillo Port have been some of our most popular, as well as awarded, wines.

Come Celebrate International Tempranillo Day at Ledger David on Sat., Nov. 15 from noon-5pm. Enjoy small bites paired with our first vintage 2010 Tempranillo Reserve and our very limited Tempranillo Port along with a selection of other estate wines. For more information, visit www.ledgerdavid.com or call (541) 664-2218.

Winemaker Kiley Evans Sums Up 2014 Harvest in A Word: Exhilarating

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By Winemaker Kiley Evans

Well here I sit, Macbook on lap, trying to find the words to express the vintage we are experiencing in 2014 at Ledger David Cellars. Yes, I know the hype in Oregon this year has been early, hot, bountiful, and great quality. I’ll go along with all but the first. You remember my recent post about how our vineyard is a cool spot in a warm area? The evidence is at hand. Let’s dive into our white harvest so far.


Ledger David vineyard in Talent at sunrise during Harvest 2014.

The Ledger David whites are all in the barn (I’m from the South, remember? Everyone has a barn in the South and that’s where crops go when harvested). Our first pick, Sauvignon blanc, or savvy as one of my dear Aussie compadres calls it, is fermented dry and aging. Crisp, clean, concentrated aromas and flavors.

Our second pick was Chardonnay. The Chard has completed its primary fermentation, as well. We kept our vineyard’s two clones separate this year and are again using roughly 20% new French oak and 30% ML fermentation. The wine right now is hard to read. It just finished the alcoholic fermentation and hasn’t fully integrated as of this morning. The component parts, intense tropical fruit, balanced acidity, toasty oak, caramel and butterscotch tones, are there, but they aren’t all playing the same page of music just yet. Patience required.

Chenin blanc came in next. We turned the Chenin into a grand experiment. We have a great combination of stainless steel drums and neutral oak barrels and we have multiple yeast strains at work including “native” yeast, which are the yeasts that come into the winery on the fruit. We will bottle several different tiny lots of this wine for future tasting to see which of these trial wines comes closest to expressing our vineyard site when compared to prior vintages.

I have to say the wines are beyond interesting with unctuous mouthfeels and textures unlike anything we have done in the past. Viognier was next. All I can “legally” share about our Viognier from 2014 is that it is simply astonishing, a first for Ledger David, and an exceedingly rare style of wine. Trust me when I say it will blow the status quo out of the water. Lastly, we harvested our Malvasia bianca. Malvasia is a very late ripening variety and the wine has only just begun to ferment. We have a little something special planned for this, too.


Fresh reds from the 2014 Harvest show signs of future award-winning wines.

Our first red in the barn was Syrah. As I tasted the three bins of fermenting black marbles this morning I was struck first by the intense inky color. Then the aromas took my nose for a ride. Blue and black berries, earth, game, road tar, pepper, all-spice, grilled bread, and an intriguing herbal note that reminded me of dried herbs de provence and garrigue. Tempranillo came next, or at least part of it. What we have fermenting right now astounds me with its depth of flavor, richness of texture, and structure considering its age. This earlier-ripening clone tasted in the vineyard like it had something special to show, which is becoming a bit more obvious now. Reserve, you ask? I can’t say for certain just yet, but am definitely leaning that way.

All of our Malbec came next. Wonder why my hands are stained? Wonder no more. Malbec inspired the “Society of the Black Hand”, of which I am a proud member every harvest. It stained the inside of the glass as I swirled and is staining my keyboard now. Intense black and red fruit, lavender, and freshly roasted coffee with an oily, thick, chewy, and extracted texture, mouth-filling body, and long, pure finish. All I could say was, “Wow.” We have harvested a portion of our Sangiovese and Cabernet franc, but those wines have not begun to ferment yet. Given the Syrah, Tempranillo, and Malbec thus far I am seeing this as one of those rare vintages in which Mother Nature blesses our vineyard with exceptional fruit and we do our best to coax from those grapes an expression of her goodness, vitality, and indomitable spirit. It won’t be long before we start thinking about pressing the reds off the skins, selecting and filling barrels, and shortly after that blending. The process comes on fast, but with wines like these it is such happy torture.

The last of the wines were picked the first week in November – Cabernet franc and Petit verdot.

Stay tuned…

Seared Scallops in Pumpkin Soup

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Serve with Ledger David Cellars 2011 Radiant White (70% Chardonnay 30% Viognier)

Introductory Notes: This particular recipe for a delightful seasonal soup features pumpkin but lots of hearty fall vegetables can be used as the base. Also, scallops are just one possible seafood selection. Crab, lobster, rockfish, the choices are nearly endless.

I like crumbled smokey blue cheese from the Rogue Creamery for one but bacon crumbles, grated parmesan, any number of chopped nuts and a whole host of garnishes (chives, parsleys and other tasty greens) all work beautifully in this fall delight. I encourage you to experiment and have fun eating healthy and seasonally!

1 stick Butter
1 Medium sized yellow onion- chopped
4 cloves garlic/ minced
2 lbs. Pumpkin: You can chop up your market pumpkin, grow your own or in the case of me putting this recipe together, use canned.
3 ounces honey
3 cups Chicken broth
1 cup Ledger David Radiant White wine
4 tablespoons olive oil
16 large scallops
8 ounces chopped nuts (I like pecans but walnuts, hazelnuts or your other favorites would be great)
Chopped chives and parsley
Heavy Whipping Cream
Cinnamon and Nutmeg

Whip the cream ahead of time and set in the refrigerator until serving time.
In a large heavy bottomed sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion until lightly caramelized. Add the pumpkin, honey, chicken stock, white wine and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Puree this in a blender or food processor. Return to the saucepan and reheat.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and pan sear the scallops until lightly golden brown on each side. Watch carefully and don’t overcook the scallops.
Fill each bowl with the pumpkin soup and place equal number of scallops in each bowl. Dollop the whipped cream and lightly dust with cinnamon and nutmeg. Garnish with the chives, parsley and nuts.

Serve immediately.

Taste Ledger David’s Best of the Best Wines of 2014

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By Winemaker Kiley Evans

The 2014 award season was been very kind to Ledger David Cellars, but how does one recap a season in which we entered only a few wine competitions and had stars emerge in each one? There are literally hundreds of competitions held annually throughout the country. Some producers like to tout 25 medals for an individual wine. Our philosophy on competitions is somewhat different. We could enter 30 or more wine competitions per year, but we prefer to enter only a few highly competitive and invitation-only contests so that our medals carry a bit more weight. In our eight competitions in 2014 we earned 17 medals. There isn’t room to mention each one individually, and that limitation always draws some less-than-kind glares from the wines not mentioned, so be kind to those wines when you visit Le Petit Tasting Room, but we can cover the major highlights.

First up, our 2011 Cabernet franc. By no means are producers of Cabernet franc in the Pacific Northwest few in number. In reality, we’re one of probably several hundred PNW producers when you consider Washington, Idaho, British Columbia, and Oregon. When we got the invitation from SIP Northwest to be considered in a “Best of the Best” competition we were flattered. When we got the news we won we were ecstatic. Look. The Cab franc is beaming, too.

Second in line is the 2011 Syrah. Syrah is a great match for the Ledger David Cellars estate vineyard. During the growing season Syrah obviously enjoys our east-facing slopes as it develops and ripens. We really enjoy the wine it produces, as well. The judges for Portland Monthly’s annual “Oregon’s 50 Best Wines” agreed. We ranked #35 in their tasting. There are easily 1,000 wines produced in Oregon in any given year. This distinction is both huge and humbling.

Last, but certainly not least, our 2011 Malbec. This is the first Malbec for Ledger David Cellars. We have always held Malbec in high regard and our site has produced some pretty good Malbec fruit, but we had to be certain we measured up before we took the plunge to bottle a varietal Malbec. When the wine was shipped to the 2014 Los Angeles International Wine Competition we had no expectations. A few weeks later we got the news: Gold Medal, 93 points, and the second highest rated domestic Malbec. Yep, quite a year!

With all of these things in mind and the end of our harvest season approaching we thought a little tribute to these wines to finish off the year would be fun so we are planning a “Best of the Best” weekend for Sat., Nov. 22 and Sun., Nov. 23. A $10 tasting fee will apply and we’ll have our three award winners available in their remaining limited quantities paired with small bites from Déjà Vu Bistro & Wine Bar in Jacksonville. Think we should make this an annual event?