But Weisinger’s Winery (3150 Siskiyou Boulevard; Ashland, Oregon), the first of at least twelve places that I plan to visit as an in-town tourist in Ashland, Oregon, was disappointing.
Maybe it was because James and I biked from our house and were dressed in sweaty garb, but while the staff at the winery was courteous and solicitous to a group of four well-heeled tourists who came in after us, they were just shy of rude to my husband and me.
Instead of offering detailed information about each wine, they poured us our glasses distractedly. They did not tell us about the stomp competition that was happening that afternoon (and still had openings), even when I pressed for details. And they only reluctantly showed us the cheese and cracker menu.
The other visitors were offered a free tour of the winery. We were not.
But we were nickeled and dimed. I’m used to paying for wine tastings but Weisinger’s charges even for crackers. They only had one cheese–the most expensive–on the menu ($11.95) and after they cut it up and served it to us, other customers helped themselves. As well they should have. They couldn’t have known the cheese was on us!
But my biggest complaint was the wines themselves.
I’m a huge fan of southern Oregon wines (read more about why in this article I wrote, “Move Over California, Southern Oregon Win Takes a Stand“) and I think their high quality makes it worth spending a little extra to enjoy them. But I actively disliked the taste of these wines, finding most of them unpleasantly metallic with too much acid.
Was it something in my glass?! Two of the three whites we tried left an unpleasant aftertaste in my mouth. James had the full flight–three whites and five reds–and he enjoyed them more than I. Though there were two that I found palatable:
Their 2010 Petit Blanc was a bit sweet but flavorful
The 2007 Claret was what James described as a “non-heavy” Bordeaux, with a complex aroma and a faint taste of cigar tobacco
But though I liked the taste of these two wines, they did not seem worth paying $28/bottle for.
I always try to buy at least one bottle of wine at boutique vineyards to support local businesses and small agriculture. Predisposed to like this winery and have a good time (it’s rare James and I get to spend a Sunday morning together), I left without buying a bottle and feeling rather ripped off. We spent $23 on just the wine tasting and shared cheese.
“I can take or leave their wines,” a friend who loves wine said to me when I told him about our experience later that afternoon.
On the way home we stopped at Case Coffee, one of the several excellent coffee shops in town. Their reasonable prices, cold-brew iced decaf, and friendly service helped wash away the disappointing experience we had at Weisinger’s.
This Viognier, which costs $26 a bottle, left the unpleasant aftertaste of pennies in my mouth:
Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., is a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. Her latest book, The Business of Baby: What Doctors Don’t Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Before Their Bottom Line, will be published by Scribner in April 2013.