Ashley Cates describes her winery brand as edgy, but the essence of the wine is far from that description. It is a pure statement of the variety of grape each bottle represents. The question becomes, why do they refer to Anchor Valley Wine as breaking the mold. The experience one has tasting wine is nonconforming, but the goal; to open the door a bit wider by welcoming people from all walks of life. They provide a fun and relaxing atmosphere at their tasting room in Jacksonville, Oregon, without sacrificing the integrity of their wine.
Ashley’s husband, Matt Cates, is the winemaker. His goal is to deliver the elegance of a pure varietal with minimal intervention by letting the expression of the wine in each bottle tell the story. That tale changes vintage by vintage. Although Matt’s wines are youthful, the integrity of the product comes first and foremost.
Anchor Valley Wines came to fruition in 2018. The partnership of Joe Moxley, Bill and Cari Powell, Matt and Ashley Cates, and Mike Herrera formed when Moxley, the owner of a clothing line, and Herrara, a guitar player in a punk rock band, were visiting Southern Oregon and tasting wine. Meeting Matt Cates was the catalyst that brought them together to shape a brand that includes a clothing line and wine.
Anchor Valley Wine Logo
The name Anchor Valley refers to an Anchor, which reflects the Naval Town of Bremerton, Washington, where Herrara comes from and the valley of Oregon where most of the grapes grow and the wine is produced. It is the union of Washington and Oregon, the two states that the people and wine represents.
The winery motto is to challenge conformity by cultivating community, thus creating change. They accomplish this because their wine is a holistic lifestyle brand. It brings together art, music, and conversation, which are all part of the wine experience.
Ashley and Matt are not newcomers to the wine business. When Ashley was 14 years old, her mother and grandfather purchased a 30-acre vineyard and grew grapes. She grew up around growing grapes. Matt’s father was a Sommelier, and he also worked for Southern Wine and Spirits. Matt studied Viticulture and Enology at Southern Oregon Wine Institution in Roseburg, Oregon. Both traveled to Spain, where Matt interned at Dominio de Cair Winery in Aranda de Duero, Spain. They moved to the Marlborough region of New Zealand and worked at Kim Crawford and Drylands before returning home to work at the Ashley’s family’s winery Agate Ridge.
Anchor Valley Wine
Anchor Valley produces Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir Rosé, Pinot Noir, Primitivo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Sirah. The grapes utilized in their wines are derived from both Oregon’s Rogue Valley and Washington. This article will review three of these wines.
Anchor Valley Wine Pinot Gris
Typically Pinot Gris is very linear. It lacks depth, but in this case, Matt Cates add layers and complexity to this variety. One finds a bright wine with minerality and flavors of grapefruit and stone fruit. With floral aromas, the wine exhibits a sweetness on the back end.
Anchor Valley Wine Pinot Noir
This Pinot Noir comes across with lots of structure and medium tannins. It is strong yet exhibits the elegance that is typical of an Oregon Pinot Noir. It is light yet bold as the wine showcases cranberries, Raspberry, and cherry with hints of tobacco and herbaceous qualities.
Anchor Valley Wine Petite Sirah
Knowing that the Rogue Valley has a very diverse climate and can grow many different varieties, finding a Petite Sirah utilizing grapes grown in the area is unique. Matt Cates shows us that Petite Sirah can maintain its integrity grown in this region. One finds a big, bold, structured wine with balanced tannins, yet there is a softness and elegance that shines through and is a signature of Matt Cates’ style. The wine delivers layers of plum, blackberry, and raspberry mixed with lovely florals. Those that love Petite Sirah will enjoy this Oregon version.
Note: Common to the wine industry, this writer received a hosted wine samples. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.