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There is a north west passage to the intellectual world – Tristram Shandy
No people require maxims so much as the American.
The reason is obvious: the country is so vast, the
people always going somewhere, from Oregon
valley to boreal New England, that we do not know
whether to be temperate orchards or sterile climate.
Evolution white was created out of the desire to make a fun wine, one that would accompany the modern predilection for
yoking different kinds of food together. It is a blend of nine grape varieties (I’ve come over all Mas de Daumas) to wit:
Müller-Thurgau, white Riesling, Semillon, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Muscat Canelli, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and
Sylvaner. And a soupçon of kitchen sink. It is a beautiful mosaic with, as they say, snap, spice and zing, very much more than
the sum of its very disparate parts. The label will also give much pleasure to the diehard traditionalist. As for the red allow me
to quote the literature of the winery:
Introducing Evolution red. This Syrah-based blend (with some Montepulciano, Sangiovese and the nine Evo white grapes)
reveals aromas of cherry and red plum, notes of ripe raspberries, a hint of cinnamon, and has a finish that’s long and juicy. It
contrives, without apparently contriving, to be pleasurable and serious, the sort of wine designed to light your (barbecue)
wine. It’s a friend to grilled meats, barbecued chicken, Italian red sauce dishes, pizza, cioppino and even a fine ratatouille.
The label alone is worth the price of admission.
The grapes for the Pinot Gris are not de-stemmed, but pressed as whole clusters and given a slow, cool stainless steel tank
fermentation lasting about a month. This is followed by an extended period of lees contact prior to blending and bottling in
February the following year. The result is a wine with a firm, focused steely backbone and a creamy lushness. Now, at about
14 months post-bottling, while still exhibiting the primary fresh fruit characters of apple, pear and citrus it is just beginning to
show the complex secondary earth, mineral and spice flavours and aromas that will continue to develop over the next few
years. The mid-palate is fleshing out and the finish is beginning to lengthen. Pinot Gris is a versatile food wine and is
particularly good with shellfish, chicken, quiches, goat’s cheese and smoked fish.
Pinot Noir thrives at Sokol Blosser and the exceptional red (volcanic) jory soils of the Dundee Hills provide a good home. The
vines range up to 30 years old and careful hand-sorting of fruit ensures that only perfectly ripe fruit makes it to the
fermentation stage. Winemaker Russ Rosner (now succeeded by Alex Sokol Blosseer (uses an original technique for producing
full-flavoured wines allowing for a post-fermentation soak of up to three weeks resulting in soft, supple tannins and a more
complex wine. The wine is then aged in French oak barrels for approximately sixteen months followed by a further year in
bottle. Aromas and flavours of black cherry, liquorice and mocha, smooth and supple, long and elegant. This fragrant wine
would be pleasant lightly chilled and served with salmon, pork or mushroom risotto.
The Estate Pinot Noir is a formidable wine, made from a mixture of old vineyard blocks and young vines and low yields. The
wine is fermented in large open top fermenters punched down three times daily and receives the same post-fermentation
maceration as the Dundee Hills. It is 100% barrel-aged (60% new, 40% once used French oak from Allier, Bertranges and
Vosges oak) and is unfined and unfiltered. The fruit is rich and heady with thick black cherry and blackberry flavours and a
hint of secondary earth and truffle character.
EVOLUTION SPARKLING ~ 9 aromatic white varieties
EVOLUTION WHITE 18
EDITION ~9 aromatic white varieties
EVOLUTION RED 4
EDITION – Syrah, Sangiovese, Montepulciano + 9 aromatic whites
WILLAMETTE VALLEY PINOT GRIS
EVOLUTION PINOT NOIR
DUNDEE HILLS PINOT NOIR
ORCHARD BLOCK PINOT NOIR
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“Our native soil draws all of us, by I know not what sweetness, and never allows us to forget.”
― Ovid, The Poems of Exile: Tristia and the Black Sea Letters
KELLEY FOX WINES, Dundee Hills & McMinnville – Biodynamic
Kelley Fox Wines is a small winery producing Pinot noir from self-rooted, dry-farmed, old vines of the historic Maresh
Vineyard in the Dundee Hills, and the Demeter-certified biodynamic Momtazi Vineyard in the McMinnville foothills since
2007. So much for the dry and dusty history for this is a story of a woman and the very special places where the vines grow
and the wine is made and mediated.
Kelley Fox has been a full-time, on-the-floor winemaker for over sixteen years. Most of the canopy work in her blocks at
Maresh she does personally and in solitude, including the biodynamic sprays. The wines are touched only by Kelley, but they
are not a personal expression as she always says.. “No stylistic intentions are imposed. They are silent, living songs of these
She writes: “Ovid wrote in his “Metamorphoses” that we have entered the Age of Iron, “that hard age of baser vein” (I. line
128), but farms like Maresh and Momtazi are tended with such deep respect for nature that they feel more like the previous
Ages of Silver or Bronze.
Maresh Vineyard is in the Dundee Hills AVA with its reddish-brown trouser-staining volcanic jory soils. The own-rooted
vineyard has been farmed organically since planting in 1970. Kelley personally stirs and sprays the biodynamic sprays with a
copper backpack since 2008. The pruning is done with with a crew, but the suckering, shoot-thinning, head-thinning, leaf
removal, and fruit selection post-veraison in solitude.
Momtazi Vineyard is in McMinnville A.V.A. (“American Viticultural Area”) on primarily uplifted marine sedimentary loams
and silts with alluvial overlays. Beneath is a base of uplifting basalt. Clay and silt loams average 20-40 inches in depth before
reaching harder rock and compressed sediments, shot with basalt pebbles and stone. The uniqueness of the soils for
winegrowing is in the 20 to 40 inch depth. Pinots tend to have a great backbone of acidity and tannin to balance the dark
fruits, spice and earth. The Momtazi Vineyards are biodynamically farmed and have a brilliant energy. The place is bright
and full of life.
The 2014 Mirabai is utterly transparent and full of light with a youthful red that is delicate to the point of bordering on dark
pink. This happens to be my favourite look for a red wine. This thirteen-barrel cuvee has twelve barrels of old-vine Maresh
fruit and one barrel of Momtazi. The nose is classic Maresh: red fruit and soft minerals. The texture is weightless and silken in
a way that is pure pleasure. There is serious structure in this wine-yes-but in the way of hidden tensile strength.
Kelley Fox is highly attuned to the song of each vineyard. She would make “spirited” wine, of course, wherever she was
farming. Her approach is subtle and responsive;
for her grapes are matter waiting to release the energy of the vineyard, and
the wined are the liquid containers of that energetic potential.
She is a humble exponent of the personal give-and-take of
iodynamics, the notion that the entire process of winemaking involves tapping into a primal cosmic energy; a process that is
sharp and painful in that it often takes over your whole life, the love in your body, your integrity, and your perception of the
nature within you and without you.
Nature never hurries. Atom by atom, little by little she achieves her work ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
For growers such as Kelley (and there are not many like her) nature itself is the real sublime artist, whilst the vigneron, the
natural artisan vigneron, labours to capture its indifferent beauty. Like the artist in Joyce’s Portrait of an Artist… she never
puts herself at the forefront of the enterprise, remaining within or behind or beyond or above her handiwork, invisible, refined
out of existence. Of course, she is a sensitive and sensible editor, makes myriad choices and has the technical savvy to respond
to the needs of the wine. She
speaks eloquently, however, about liberating the story of the wine, part of the process of
channelling of the energy of the vineyard, and, that the once the wine is born, it no longer belongs to her (and becomes its
own free spirit). This returns us to the notion of humility and respect, that farmers are stewards or guardians of the land.
What they take they also need to give back, which is why this form of vine growing is not just physically demanding as the
process of endless nurturing inevitably is, it is equally spiritually demanding. The process is two way; the vineyard can be a
healing place also.
Momtazi has an initial exoticism on the nose (say Turkish delight – is this associative) leading into deeper aromatics of cool,
crushed minerals. The wine had a fine depth and cutting edge with saline crunch and beautiful shape and whooshes with sour
crunchy black cherry fruit. It is kinetic, salty, sappy and tonic, bursting with life. When I say is, I mean was. The wine does not
obey human rules and will always have the last laugh. Wines will move in the glass, both the wines will keep something back.
With their tautness and coiling energy they straddle the divide between abrasiveness and elegance.
Maresh is different, more feminine perhaps. I get wild briary fruit interwoven with crunch of souring rhubarb and orange as
well as background aromas of mint, wild herbs, earth, fennel, peppercorns and smoke. The herbal tannins lend a medicinal
note and the beautiful natural acidity creeps up on you.
MIRABAI PINOT NOIR
AHURANI PINOT NOIR
MOMTAZI PINOT NOIR
MARESH PINOT NOIR
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Profile of Kelley Fox Wines
Not a profile as such, nor an in-depth analysis of the wines but a transient personal feeling about Kelley’s wine. The first
sensation (what I smell, when I taste) is the strength of the terroir. There is a Gaelic expression Is Blath an Fhuil – “the
blood is strong” – and I feel the sanguine vitality of the respective vineyards pulsing in the wines. Kelley Fox disappears
into her wines (for want of a better expression); hers is a reclusive, generative presence – she understands her wines whilst
detaching from them. Meanwhile, the taster needs to approach with an open mind and an open spirit; in other words, not
burdened by preconceptions of what Oregon Pinot Noir might or should be. When you drink a bottle of Momtazi or Maresh
you should embark on a journey – these wines embody everything that is wonderful and intriguing (and occasionally
frustrating) about Pinot Noir. They carry the darkness and light equally in their souls, sometimes they are temperamental
and sometimes they beam with pure energy. What I love most of all is their opaque transparency. The oxymoron is justified;
the wines are limpid, sans veneer, whilst the fruit is dark, volcanic, throbbing. There is deep-rootedness, but not heaviness,
textural completeness but not obviousness, flowers, herbs, earth and sky, all rolled into a whole.
Three wines – Mirabai, Momtazi and Maresh. All authentic and true to themselves. The truth is in the tasting. In lieu of
knowing the wines, you can certainly “feel” them.
Once the wines are made, Kelley detaches from them. As the Georgians might say “she put them on their feet.” She might
deprecate the notion of being a winemaker. She is a combination of artisan, a translator, a midwife, a sensuous individual.
She feels and understands natural beauty; she is brilliant, charismatic (yet reserved), loyal and respectful. The wines reflect
that – they make no concessions and are not polished to an easy sheen. They are what they are and isn’t that the essential
message of terroir?
GOLDEN CLUSTER, JEFF VEJR, Willamette Valley North
From own rooted vines that were planted in 1965, this is the second vintage of the 100% Sémillon made from the original
block that was once known as the Charles Coury Vineyard. Today, it is called David Hill Vineyard & Winery. Charles Coury
planted the first Sémillon vines in the Willamette Valley back in 1965. Coury believed in the potential of Oregon’s cool
climate regions, and planted these vines on their own roots in the hills above Forest Grove. The grapes come from that
original block, making them the oldest known Sémillon in the state.
The vineyard is dry farmed, thje vines on own rootstocks on laurelwood soils at 160 m altitude. The grapes are hand
harvested and undergo 4 days of skin contact. Indigenous yeast ferment in 225 litre barrels. Unfiltered and unfined the wine
spends a year in bottle before release. This Semillon
tantalises the palate and toys with expectations with its golden appleskin
segueing into honeydew undercut by ripe acidity. We love the typiciy and the sheer mineral verve of the 14 even more than the
dry botrytis style of the previous vintage. There’s a leesy lift to the green-edged fruit and the wine seems more composed – the
low SO2 frees the wine even more. Bravo!
GOLDEN CLUSTER COURY VINEYARD SEMILLON OLD VINES
GOLDEN CLUSTER COURY VINEYARD SAVAGNIN ROSE
GOLDEN CLUSTER DION SYRAH
MINIMUS WINES, CHAD STOCK, McMinnville
Minimus Wines are divided into Numbered Series with the # prefix or the Dictionary Series. The first is experimental and the
experiments are never repeated. Here Chad will trial an idea – using brett in conjunction with Viognier, Sauvignon aged
under a veil of flor over an extended period or examine the way a format - chestnut or amphora – influeces the flavours and
the textures of the wines.
The Dictionary Series is an attempt to produce pure versions of a single grape where the variety shines. The biodynamically
farmed Johan Vineyard provides the fruit for such grapes as Gruner Veltliner, Pinot and Chardonnay, whilst other grapes are
sourced according to where they might perform best throughout Oregon (and even Washington). Each might incorporate
lessons learned from the Numbered series, but the goal is a pure expression of that variety and the site it comes from as
opposed to experimentation.
MULLER-THURGAU “VITAE SPRINGS” PET NAT
GRUNER VELTLINER JOHAN VINEYARD
SM2 AMPHORA SAUVIGON BLANC
FLOWER STELLA MARIS ~ Sauvignon under flor
BLAUFRANKISCH “CECILO VINEYARD”
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BECKHAM ESTATE, ANDREW & ANNEDRIA BECKHAM, Chehalem Mountains - Organic
In 2004 Andrew, a ceramics artist and High School ceramist teacher and his wife Annedria purchased land in the Chehalem
Mountains AVA in Sherwood, OR to build a studio for Andrew’s budding art career. They were inspired by their neighbours
with 20 year old vines to begin growing Pinot Noir. In late winter of 2005 they began clearing 60 year old Douglas Fir trees
and began to plant the first 2 acres of self-rooted and dry-farmed Pinot Noir vines. Each year they made progress and to date
they have 28 acres with 6.5 acres planted to 4 clones of Pinot Noir and a further acre planted to Riesling. Another 7 acres of
North American rootstock were planted in 2014 with plans to graft to Chardonnay, Gamay, Trousseau and
In 2013 the “Amphorae Project” began as an attempt to marry Andrew’s two passions–making wine and making art.
Drawing inspiration from Elizabetta Foradori of Italy, Andrew began experimenting with producing wine in amphora. The
terracotta amphorae are incredible insulators. The fermentation in amphorae has been much cooler and more prolonged
compared to conventional fermentation vessels. Fermenting in amphorae means natural temperature control. Primary
fermentation takes around three weeks to a month for completion. Largely because of the cool and prolonged fermentation the
wines coming from amphorae are bright, high toned and very compelling. Ageing wines in the vessels has also yielded some
incredibly interesting results. There is a common textural component similar to dusty brick. There exists an iron-driven earth
tone regardless of varietal. The A.D. Beckham Amphora wines are fermented with native yeasts, no commercial inoculation
and are unfined and unfiltered.
The Pinot Gris is from manually harvest grapes which are whole berry fermented on the skins in amphora for 30 and 40 days.
Indigenous yeast, no additions. Pressed and 50% aged in amphora and 50% aged in two acacia barrels. Natural malo, no
filtration, no fining and no sulphur.
AD BECKHAM PINOT GRIS
AD BECKHAM PINOT NOIR CRETA
AD BECKHAM MALBEC
AD BECKHAM GRENACHE
AD PINOT NOIR CRETA - magnum
Husband and wife team Scott and Dana Frank have experience all sides of the wine industry. From working in restaurants, to
retail, to wholesale, they’ve gained plenty of knowledge and experience over the years. They recently embarked on a new
project producing wines under their own label Bow and Arrow and are taking Oregon wines to new heights!
You often hear about Oregon Pinot Noirs being compared to the Pinot Noirs of Burgundy. And for good reasons, they share a
similar cool climate in which Pinot Grapes thrive and produce wines of higher acidity and lower alcohol. The Willamette
Valley, formed long ago by repeated glacial flooding, is abundant with fertile and rocky vineyard sites. It is also situated
along the 45th parallel, which coincidentally runs through Burgundy and the Loire Valley. And despite Oregon’s constant
comparisons to Burgundy, it’s the Loire Valley that inspires Scott and Dana’s wines.
They only started bottling in 2010 but have quickly earned a reputation for bringing a bit of the Loire to the Pacific
Northwest. They source fruit from vineyards planted by some of Oregon’s earliest ‘wine pioneers’ that were planted with
grapes like old vine Pinot Noir, Gamay, Cabernet Franc, and Melon de Bourgogne – all typical Loire Valley grapes. These
carefully sourced grapes are treated with the greatest care and minimal-intervention winemaking techniques. Their resulting
wines are a breath of fresh (French) air from Oregon, lighter in style, lower in alcohol, and extremely food-friendly.
Gamay Noir is a dead ringer for a light style Gamay from Touraine. In fact, iconic Loire producer Clos Roche Blanche’s
winemaker Didier Barrouillet served as a casual ‘over-the-phone consultant’ for Frank and Dana’s Gamay Noir. Soft red
fruit flavours and an earthy and granite-based minerality are all well-integrated into a medium bodied and tart finish.
Rhinestones. A blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir, this red is inspired by Cheverny, a typical Loire valley red of the same blend.
Ripe, juicy black cherry aromas lead to a mid-weight palate full of flavours of tart blackberries, earthy moss, and snappy
acidity. It’s great on it’s own but is a perfect food-friendly red for any occasion. Air Guitar is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon from
the Borgo Pass Vineyard located in the foothills of the Coast Range just outside of Monroe along with 40% Cabernet
Franc from Johan Vineyard. Given the grape varietals, it's easy to think of this wine being done in a larger Bordeaux-like
style but the style here couldn't be more different. For those that love aromatic, soulful and sensual wines it should not be
missed. A stellar nose of baked cherry, sandalwood, jasmine, and spicy herb notes build from the glass followed by red cherry,
and mineral that blitz the palate, with fine flavor intensity. The long, complex and savoury finish keeps you coming back for
another glass. Commencing with minerally scents and undertones of flint, this Melon then draws more complexity from
lemongrass, melon and lime tones for enhancement. Brisk and mouthwatering on the palate with fine intensity and length, this
is a wonderful match for a plate of freshly shucked oysters.
AIR GUITAR ~ Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc
RHINESTONES ~Pinot Noir, Gamay
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