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In 2016, I made the pilgrimage from Cabernet country to the new American mecca of Pinot Noir (and Chardonnay). I am talking about the Willamette Valley in Northern Oregon. I fell in love with this place - the land, the people, the wine. I bought a piece of land and started a vineyard which had its first harvest last year.  I would like to share with you some of this magic and let you see for yourself how enjoyable these wines really can be.

The Oregon wine industry started more or less in the mid 1960s making it a pretty young viticultural area. The passion and goodwill of those early pioneers and the generations that followed quickly fostered a broad knowledge framework of the land, the varietals, methods of farming, and techniques in the winery. In essence - American terroir.  Sure, we don’t have the generational monk mapping of Burgundy, yet even the Burgundians are buying up land here - Drouhin, Lafon, Jadot, Meo-Camuzet, Henriot, and Marc Roy to name just a few. Outside of Burgundy, this climate is one of the very few in the world that is so well suited for Pinot and Chardonnay. As a friend once said “The fact that companies from Pinot’s birthplace have invested here is an incredible validation, but anyone who’s had a glass of well-made Willamette Valley Pinot already knows why we’re here.”

What better time than now to begin your personal exploration of these wines. They have a promising price to value ratio, they are a local product, they are farmed organically and / or biodynamically, you will be supporting the American economy and its small producers more specifically.  Plus the wines are on hand and available for delivery to your favorite sheltered location.

We are offering a mixed case containing one bottle of each of these wines for $590 (10% discount). 

Additional wines will receive 5% off.

Walter Scott

I fondly recall tasting new releases with Ken and Erica on their picnic table outside of their shipping container style home (at the time I was living in a tent on my nearby yet to be vineyard). The wines showed an amazing purity and each vineyard designate stood on its own. It was love at first taste. Ken is known to be an early picker. During the early years, some of the old school thought he was a bit crazy, now they set their pick dates by his… 

The winemaking philosophy at Walter Scott centers on giving our wines a voice. They listen what these unique sites within the Willamette Valley have to say. They believe that as winemakers they have a responsibility to bring out the distinctive characteristics of each wine's terroir. Thus the idea of terroir is a place and all of the things that influence it. It embodies the sun, wind, soil and rain, but also all of the people involved in the vineyard. Their energy and vision must come through in the wines along with the unique expressions of each individual vintage.

To this end, Walter Scott approaches every vintage with open minds and never follow a recipe. Each element of the process is intentional and essential in representing what the terroir offers. Native or ambient yeast fermentations are embraced; minimal punching down or extractive techniques are used, and subtle adjustments are made each year to allow the transformation of vintage to shine.  The intent is to make balanced wines with the signature of place and structural integrity that will allow them to age.

2018 X-Novo Chardonnay - $65
This wine is exotic and striking, scented with jasmine, gardenia, lemon blossoms, white peach, and flint. The palate frames balance and concentration effortlessly showing notes of lemon drops, candied tangerine peel, fennel, and wet stones, and welcomes a salty, mouth-watering finish.

2018 Sojeau Pinot Noir - $65 (this is the vineyard neighboring my own - I encourage mass purchasing)
On the nose, this wine is bursting with notes of sweet red and black cherries and layered with spices showing savory sarsaparilla, raw cocoa, and tobacco. The palate is concentrated with notes of bolete mushrooms, black plums, violets, and roses and has delicate yet gripping tannins that lead to a vibrant and intensely mineral finish. Though the name of this site has changed, the beautiful combination of power and sophistication remains consistent in its wines.

Lingua Franca

Thomas Savre was so young (and still is) when I first met him on the brand new LS Vineyard. He spent the afternoon explaining the nuance of Oregon vineyard management. Since then I have seen him finish the vineyard, oversee the construction of the winery, get married, have a baby. The team of Thomas, Larry Stone, and Dominique Lafon has proven a formidable force here in the Willamette Valley.  Bien joué… 

Lingua Franca is the culmination of Larry Stone’s life-long quest to find a great vineyard site and make wine. He has joined forces with talented winemaker Thomas Savre and consulting winemaker, Burgundy icon, Dominique Lafon to produce nuanced and flavorful wines from the exceptionally located LSV estate vineyards and other outstanding vineyard sites in the Willamette Valley. LSV has the stony, volcanic soils, steep slopes, cooling, gentle breezes and soft early morning sun that make for the excellent fruit and mineral expression in our wines. We coddle the vines with biodynamic preparations and meticulous attention to vine health, shoot positioning, gentle pruning and moderate yields. The intent is to leave the soils abundant and healthy with an entire universe of micro-organisms, fungi, birds, and native insects that will provide the best environment for the vines as well as bestowing us with natural beauty

2017 Estate Chardonnay - $55
Lingua Franca Estate Chardonnay is a permanent addition to our wine portfolio. Its aroma is a combination of creamy lemon custard, grapefruit zest, jasmine and vanilla. While it has the richest aroma and texture of all our Chardonnays, it is still lively and bright, lifted by its underlying energy; an excellent expression of our vineyard.

2017 The Plow Pinot Noir - $60
The 2017 vintage may be the best expression of The Plow to date. It was composed from one lot of fruit planted on a high elevation block in our estate LS Vineyard where Larry Stone planted a refined, moderately productive Pinot Noir clone sourced from outstanding vineyards he discovered in the Russian River Valley in California, with a long history of producing great wines. This block is situated exclusively on the Gelderman-Jory Complex soil that we find to be the most expressive and nuanced of our vineyard. The result is a powerful wine with luscious texture and length, supported by a beautiful structure that dances on the tongue. The long flavors are a complex of black cherry, red cherry, red currant, black tea, rose petal, and minerals, with a mouthwatering finish.

Division Wines

I cannot honestly recall whom I met first, Kate or Tom. I remember meeting Kate in San Francisco at Jardiniere at a panel discussion and tasting for Oregon wines. She was a vision of elegance and grace and the wines were divine. Now Tom is another story. As memory serves we were introduced by a mutual friend which was basis enough. A trip or two to Jackson Hole sealed our friendship…  

Division Winemaking Company is a Portland, Oregon based winery founded in 2010 by Kate Norris and Thomas Monroe. Inspired by the wineries of Loire, Beaujolais, Burgundy and the Northern Rhone where they first learned winemaking and viticulture, the urban winery creates Oregon and Washington wines including Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chardonnay, Rose, Chenin, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Cot, Syrah, Grenache, and Sauvignon Blanc. Determined to make approachable and balanced wines though minimal manipulation, the winemakers have a passion to work with well farmed terroir expressive vineyards, many of which are organic and/or Biodynamic®, celebrating the varietals the winemakers loves to drink.

2017 “Trois” Temperance Hill Pinot Noir - $55
We've been fortunate enough to have the same block of Pinot Noir in the Upper Bench of Temperance Hill since 2014. The 23 year old vines are in their prime and demonstrate the vineyard's famed power and elegance year after year. 2017 is no different in that regard, but does feature some differences over the prior three warm to hot vintages. While the Pinot Noir from Temperance is almost always the last wine to really express itself, the 2017 vintage was a late bloomer, but is really showing promise for the future. Its savory and earthy core is covered in brambly and pine sap dark berry fruit. We can't wait to see where this wine heads in the future, but there is a drinking window now that should be taken advantage of. 

2018 “Trois” Johan Vineyard Chardonnay - $39
Our third vintage of making a designate Chardonnay from the bio-dynamically farmed Johan Vineyards located near the Oregon coastal hills along the Van Duzer corridor. During 2016, we grafted  two rows of our Dijon 76 block to Draper Selection cuttings from our old block at Stangeland Vineyard, which was originally planted on its own roots in the mid 1970s. The Draper selection, thought to have been suit cased over from Meursault in early 60s, demonstrates great power, complexity and nervy acidity. We were blown away with the wine from these two rows and decided to shift the "Trois" Chardonnay from other parts of the vineyard to this small section. The wine is incredibly well balanced and floats right over the middle of fruit and savory intensity, with a firm flinty mineral and peach fruit core. The wine has all the markings of age potential and further development, but is drinking quite well at the moment.

Domaine Roy

I met Jared Etzel several years ago at a wine bar of all places. He impressed me with his energy and enthusiasm to show case what Oregon can produce. Coming from one of Oregon’s storied families, he could have coasted but he didn’t. I would encourage a visit to the winery and tasting room in Dundee where they always start you off with a glass of Champagne - it is just proper… 

Domaine Roy et fils mission is to produce wines of purity and transparency at the highest level from our land in Dundee and Carlton. Marc-André Roy and winemaker Jared Etzel established Domaine Roy & fils in 2012 to celebrate their heritage and continue the winemaking history of their fathers, Robert Roy and Michael Etzel, who founded Beaux Frères Winery in 1991.

Over 20 years later, the two families have kept the same focus of producing timeless wine through meticulous and almost obsessive work in the estate vineyards. Through meticulous stewardship of the land, a minimalist winemaking approach and a commitment to organic farming, Domaine Roy et fils wines exhibit a full expression of vintage and terroir.

Dundee Estate (“Iron Filbert”) was once a hazelnut orchard in the heart of the Willamette Valley. Thirteen high density acres of Pinot Noir and two acres of Chardonnay were planted in 2013 on a south facing hillside single panel that ranges in elevation from 400 to 600 feet. Dundee Estate’s volcanic soil embedded with basalt rock is farmed organically.

2017 Dundee Hill Incline Pinot Noir - $60
Aromatically the Incline Dundee Pinot Noir shows cranberry, red rose, pie cherry and a slate-like minerality. The palate is broad, supple and concentrated, with lots of red and black fruit and a medium plus body. The wine has a great freshness and precision, framed by a low alcohol level. The tannins and bright acidity are integrated and soft allowing the prime drinking window to be around 2020-2028.

00 Wines

Upon moving to Portland, I was looking for an attorney who knew the vineyard business and heard stories of one who also happened to share my passion for Riesling. Although Chris and I have yet to share a bottle of that fair liquid, we have shared a Chardonnay or two. Over the years I have come to adore his energetic wife, Kathryn, without whom none of this would e possible - sorry Chris… 

In 2015 by Oregon native and white Burgundy collector Chris Hermann, 00 Wines is the culmination of three decades tasting, walking the vineyards, traveling, and working with winemakers in Burgundy, Champagne, and the Willamette Valley. Their international team brings experience consulting with the world's top cool climate white wine estates to our grand vision. 

They only work with farmers who are fanatical about vineyard practices that translate to the final enjoyment of wine in the glass. They pay obsessive attention to every detail of our craft, from our grand cru vineyard sourcing, to the barrel program, to the hand wax dipped, hand labeled bottles.

2017 VGW Chardonnay - $75
"This offers ripe-pineapple and lime-juice aromas, as well as white peaches and wet stones, in a very expressive mode. The palate has a very smooth core of mellow, cashew nuts and white peaches with some very assertive and dense, fleshy-peach and praline notes to close. Drink or hold.” 97 points - Nick Stock, Oregon 2019 Tasting Report

Vincent Wine Company

I met Vincent a few years ago at a lunch called The Good Old Boys. Among this group were some of Oregon’s wine pioneers like Dick Erath and Myron Redford. Vincent stood out as he was a good 30 years below the average age. He poured me one of his Vincent Chardonnay wines which I knew nothing about, but quickly consumed. Fast forward about a year and I met him again at a trade tasting and these wines were every bit as good as I remembered, and very reasonably priced...

Vincent Wine Company is Willamette Valley winery making Oregon Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. Owner/winemaker Vincent Fritzsche launched the winery in 2009 after years of apprenticing in wineries in Oregon and California. We’re all about low-input wine making, working with several sustainably-farmed vineyards around the Willamette Valley to produce small amounts of handmade wine without a lot of fuss.

2017 Temperance Hill Pinot Noir - $44
The venerable Temperance Hill. I work with 1983 vines in the Flat Block, own-rooted Wadenswil on the high wire high in the Eola Hills, above Bethel Heights on wind swept volcanic soils. These grapes always come in last, and the wine from Temperance is always a totally different thing. This wine is so red fruited and floral with a pronounced soil note It has a softer texture than Silvershot but is no less structured thanks to the acid at this high elevation site. Super aromatic and elegant, all red fruits, strawberries and raspberries, clean earth and woodsy. Should open up well over the next few years and last a decade or more.

2017 Chardonnay Willamette Valley "Tardive" - $29
Fresh, crisp Chardonnay fruit filled out with 18 months aging on the lees in older French oak, then bottled without filtering. Vineyards here are Andreas in the new Van Duzer AVA, own-rooted vines from the early 1990s. Also Dion vineyard in the Laurelwood section of the Chehalem Mountains AVA, also own-rooted, these wines were planted in the late 1980s in loess soils this area is named for. Drink over the next five years for maximum enjoyment, though I'll save some of this as I do all my wines to see how much further it can go.

Kelley Fox Wines

Kelley and I first met at a wine storage facility in Portland (WWS to us locals). She is a passionate person with no lack of opinion. It is this fire and drive that push her to create some of the most compelling and elegant wines I have had the pleasure to drink. As that evening moved on to sometime around 1 in the morning, we took a breath, looked around and realized we were the only two there - maybe we became friends that day…

The wines are made to reflect the land, the vines, the fruit of the vines, the year, and everything else unknown and unseen that comes with those things. That said, the wines are not really "made" at all.  As the winemaker, Kelley Fox has no end result in mind each year for the what the wines will be. What she is doing is responding to the essence of the fruit from each block, which she hopes is carrying the essence of the earth that bore it, along with the details of the year (the weather, the stars and the planets).

2018 Maresh Vineyard Pinot Noir - $75
The Maresh 2018 is a medium, youthful and noble blue-red that is full of light and gorgeous transparency. It is certainly deeper in colour than my 2017. It’s my Maresh. Of course the nose is full of Hood strawberries warmed in the sun with the freshness of rain and the Pacific Ocean in the spring air, along with spices and other delicious notes that are difficult to articulate. The texture and length are also classic Maresh: silky and drapey without heaviness and more of the wind for its heft. As I write these notes, I find that this bottling is more coiled than the Red Barn Blocks 2018. It is both haunting and elusive. 

Statera Wine Cellars

Luke is an interesting cat. I first met him while he was working with Tom Monroe (see Division above). Talk about crazy passion. This guy loves Chardonnay, so me with my new Chardonnay vineyard and he with his new Chardonnay wine brand, well we hit it off. Now, the wine below does not come from my vineyard, but stay tuned for his 2019 release… 

Statera Cellars is owned and operated by two friends, Meredith Bell and Luke Wylde. Meredith is biochemist with a Masters in Oenology from UC Davis. Luke has worked vineyards in South Otago, Margaret River and the Mosel. Their mission is to make delicious, honest Chardonnay from the most distinct vineyards in the region. They are the only winery in the area to focus exclusively on Chardonnay. They love the grape and want to showcase its potential and diversity in the Pacific Northwest. The wines are made using natural and traditional winemaking practices, resulting in wines that are compelling and markedly alive.

So why just one varietal? Why not expand into the Pinot Noir market with everyone else… “We want to do one thing exceedingly well,” Wylde says. “We don’t want to put out sh*t just to say we have it. Why would we be mediocre when we could do one thing that’s exceptional”  And it is.

2017 Johan Vineyard Chardonnay - $35
Our Johan Chardonnay always has a saline, lime character that gives the wine gorgeous tension. 2017 was a bit colder than the previous few vintages, so the acid is particularly high, and there are notes of white flowers and flint. It's still fairly wound up, but will open up nicely with time.

Mark Royer
COURTIER | 510 926 6565
2266 Central Street #3A
Richmond, CA 94801

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