Autumn is the ideal time of the year to visit Dancin Vineyards in the Rogue Valley AVA. Not only does the wine dance, but the fall colors of the foliage create an exquisite performance as if they are dancing in the wind. All this makes visiting this winery spectacular.
The story of Dancin is a matter of chance and faith because it follows the steps of Dan and Cindy Marco, owners of Dancin, to their destiny. It was meant to be when the two ran into each other twice in one day. Dan was on a business trip to Monterey and forced to stay an extra night. Married after three months, they developed a passion for wine that took the two of them on a journey that included education and ultimately brought them to Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley to start their vineyard. With Dan’s Italian roots, he hoped to grow Italian varieties but soon discovered that their property was ideally suited for Pinot Noir, so their vineyard now grows both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They source Barbera, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, and Syrah. Today the property boasts 27 acres.
Rogue Valley Winery
I think Dancin is one of the most picturesque wineries I have been to in a long time. As much as the autumn colors invite you to enjoy the beauty of the vineyard, I can only image the springtime with bud break and flowers all abloom. The Tuscan style tasting room with its ochre color blended into the landscape on the day we visited. The Piazza, with its more modern structure of steel glass and stone, is a delightful place for a meal and tasting. The patio overlooks the tranquil setting of the pond. It is the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon of tasting.
The name of the winery, Dancin, is a play on Dan and Cindy’s first names. It also references Cindy’s love of ballet dancing, which represents the theme of the labels while various ballet terms became the titles of the individual wines. The labels also feature a ballerina performing with the tutu merging into wine, creating a wonderful sense of melodic movement. This theme is branding at its best and is part of the ambiance one feels when they spend time visiting the winery.
The romance and passion exuded from Dan and Cindy abounds and permeated every aspect of the winery. It is a very romantic spot, captivating the visitor’s senses through the scenery, wine, and culinary delights offered.
Wine Tasting Luncheon
Our group was treated to a wine tasting luncheon. The cuisine was prepared by Chef Desiree Baird and a very memorable one.
We started with the 2018 Rose of Pinot Nori called En L’air. En L’air means to turn in the air, and in ballet, it means to do a single, double or triple turn in the air. This Rosé will turn your heads with its Provencal light style that exudes flavors of raspberries and stone fruit.
Dancin produces nine Chardonnays that consist of either estate-grown or Chardonnay grapes from the Dundee Hills. Our group tried three. The first, En Avante, which means to the front or forward, represents the Chardonnay vines on the Dancin property. They are at the front of the property. Flavors of pears dominated this wine. The second, Mélange, a wine that showcases stone fruit and apples while the third, Chaîné, which describes short fast turns in a straight line, and in the case the wine exhibited flavors of lime, melon and green apple. All three wines paired nicely with a Cauliflower soup.
As Pinot Noir is their main variety, Dancin produces 15 different Pinots. For Dan and Cindy, it is about the place, and their Pinot tells the story of their fruit. The vineyard is northeast facing with the sun setting in the early evening during the summer months. Seven clones of Pinot Noir are planted, including 114, 115, 667, 777, 828, Wadenswil, and Pommard.
We began with a vertical of the 2017 and the 2016 Septet. Like ballet, the Septet represents seven parts, seven clones that make up the wine. The 2017 was my favorite with its red currant flavors.
My favorite, but available only through the wine club Allocation, 2017 Écarté. Écarté means a change of direction and this wine consists of 100% Pommard, which departs from some of Dancin’s other wines. I found a more complex wine with flavors of dark fruit.
The 2017 Septet complemented an Arugula Salad with Glazed Walnuts and Pinot Noir-Tarragon Vinaigrette.
The 2016 Septet and the 2017 Écarte paired marvelously with Pan-Seared Duck Breast on Wild Rice Pancakes with mushrooms and Cilantro Sauce.
Before dessert, we sampled a few more wines, including another favorite Dancin Wine, the 2017 Pique Sangiovese, and like its ballet term, the wine rises to the top. I found a bright wine with flavors of pomegranate and hints of white pepper.
Our luncheon ended with a 2014 Finale Port Style. This port consists of Touriga Nacional and Tinta Cão. Between the Cranberry-Hazelnut Spice Cake with Housemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, we were in heaven. What a perfect ending to an outstanding lunch.
One must visit Dancin Vineyards when visiting Ashland or Medford, Oregon, and the Rogue Valley. Located a half-hour away, enjoy the passion of the place, wine, and make sure you allow for a meal during your visit. While in the area also allow time to visit the cute town of Jacksonville.
For more information:
4477 South Stage Road
Medford, Oregon 97501
Tasting Room Hours:
May – September:
Wednesday 4 – 8 PM
Thursday – Sunday 12 to PM
October – April:
Thursday – Sunday 12 – 7 PM
Note: Common to the wine industry, this writer was hosted on her visit to Dancin Vineyards. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.