DANCIN Vineyards, a culinary destination in Southern Oregon, is known for more than just its great wines. Named for owners Dan and Cindy Marca (Dan + Cin), and also paying homage to Cindy’s history as a dancer, DANCIN is an Italian-style villa winery located in the forested foothills near Jacksonville offering a true wine and food lover’s experience. Situated on a northeastern-facing slope at 1,800-foot elevation with a view of Table Top Mountain and the surrounding Rogue Valley, the estate’s location provides warm days and cooler nights, which provides the balanced acidity and verve to DANCIN’s wines.
Dan’s Italian background is present in the wines. He originally wanted to grow Barbera on the 27-acre estate but has since recognized the promise and success the property has shown with Burgundian grapes Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The awards stacked up on DANCIN’s 15 Pinot Noirs and nine Chardonnays may be evidence enough, but the proof is in taste of the wines themselves, expertly crafted by talented winemaker Chris Jiron since 2017.
The dream for estate-grown Italian wines has not been fully abandoned, so in addition to still (stubbornly) trying to ripen his Barbera, Dan is sourcing fruit from nearby vineyards to produce Zinfandel, Barbera, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, as well as Syrah and Port-style wines that complement the winery’s lineup. Often found pouring in the tasting room, Dan is always eager to share the tales of how he and Cindy met, how the wines are all names related to dance or music and how wine is simply time and place captured in a bottle.
DANCIN is growing seven clones of Pinot Noir, Dan says they do so because “there is a lot of variety within the varietal.” Though none of the wines will disappoint, if it’s available, taste the 2016 Septette Pinot Noir. A combination of the estate’s seven different blocks that are planted to seven clones of Pinot Noir, this wine truly represents the estate’s terroir — bold and balanced, yet elegant and graceful with black cherry, raspberries, juicy red plum, violets, pie spice and an underlying earthiness. A true show-stopper.
Not to give the entire spotlight to Pinot Noir, the 2017 Melange Southern Oregon Chardonnay deserves its share of the attention. Mineral-driven, but with a vibrant acidity, flavors of white peach and nectarine make an initial impression, while floral, toast and grass notes sway in the background and balance out this stunning wine. But don’t stop there, taste them all. The 2017 Allegro Zinfandel, for example, with its generous dark fruit, lively tannins and snappy acidity, is a brilliant food wine.
In addition to a wide selection of well-crafted wines, DANCIN — the first winery in the Rogue Valley to serve food full time — also takes its food program seriously. The winery has some solid options for lunch or dinner, including succulent stuffed mushrooms and multi-course wine dinners, but the artisan pizzas attract locals and visitors alike. Choose from classic Margherita or try the Pommel, sage olive oil, apples, gorgonzola cheese crumbles, onion, bacon and pecans atop house-made pizza dough. And enjoy it all al fresco on the expansive patio overlooking the meticulously groomed vineyards and the valley below. It’s like escaping to a villa in Tuscany without ever leaving Oregon.
And while the food and wine are delicious, and the vineyard and valley views breathtaking, what you might remember most is the personal touch, the stories and warm hospitality the Marcas provide, making each guest feel welcome and special.