New Arrivals, Pre-Sales and Special Offers
Walter Scott 2015s
Last spring we were blown away by how good the 2014s were and it didn't take long for others to notice as well. Across the board, these were some of the most talked about, requested and reordered wines of 2016. Ken Pahlow and Erica Landon are some of the sweetest, most hard-working people in the Willamette Valley, so much that you just want to support them. We loved their wines and by midsummer they received some of the highest Oregon scores from The Wine Advocate.
The 2015s pick up right where the 2014s left off, although at this point the 15s offer more depth and focus. Daytime temperatures were higher overall than 2014, but nights were cooler and it shows. While the 14s have an airy open-knit charm, the 15s have more structure, delivering nuggets of intensity and well-defined flavors. Balanced and expressive, these are some of the most complete, beautifully-textured wines coming out of the valley.
The hardest thing about them is deciding which ones to highlight and/or drink. After twenty vintages making wine, Ken knows how to let vineyard characteristics shine and each bottling has its very own personality. Here are two of our favorites but you shouldn't stop there. We will have many vineyard selections in the shop and can take orders for the rest.
The 2015 Pinot Noir
(All 2015 Single Vineyards are $49.99 or $39.99 by the case)
Clos des Oiseaux Pinot Noir
A big favorite last year and wow, is the 2015 gorgeous! Beautiful nose and texture, it’s all rosy spicebox perfumed aromas and polished cool rubies rolling about on the palate. (That’s what it made me think of.) This small parcel sits right next to Cristom’s Jessie Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills where three soil types, rocky exposure and three clones of Pinot conspire to produce complex wines with distinctive flavors. Beyond the dappled red fruits and savory wildness, there’s an irresistible Asian spice note that makes this stand out. Elegant but deeply flavored, this is a joy to drink.
Dubay Pinot Noir
New to the lineup, Dubay is also in the Eola-Amity Hills and is rocky volcanic soil over sedimentary. This looks to be a winner, with a dynamic, evolving personality and competing flavors to match. The nose is pretty and demur dark cherry while the palate displays a rowdier side: round and fleshy with a thicket of brambly blackberry, then flavors change course mid-palate as tangier red fruits take over finishing zesty and bright. 30% whole cluster brings added dimension, tension and a satisfying briary touch to the smooth texture and long long finish.
Freedom Hill Pinot Noir
Tasting the Chardonnay and Pinot side by side, it's clear that Freedom Hill's signature personality remains consistent no matter the color: big, bold and powerful with layers of flavors. This bottling from the Dallas-area vineyard consists of co-fermented classic old-school Oregon clones Wadesnwil and Pommard. One sniff and you can tell this is rich and ripely dark-fruited, which is confirmed by mouth-filling dark cherry and medium raspberry that slides into marionberry territory. Yet it's nicely balanced by spice, floral lift and a savory note that adds complexity. Plenty of structure and depth adds some waltz to the brawn - think Beauty and the Beast...
The 2015 Chardonnay
Cuvée Anne Chardonnay
$39.99 or $31.99 by the case
This tastes like white Burgundy, no exaggeration - I can list all sorts of adjectives but there’s no quicker way to convey what this wine tastes like. With its tension and complexity, light nuttiness and dried fruit quality, it sits on a whole different level from the typical domestic Chard. I have never seen so many customers clamor for Oregon Chardonnay like they did for the 2014 Anne. Whether you’re a white Burg addict or just want to see how good Chardonnay from the Willamette Valley can be, this should be wine # 1 on your research drinking list.
Ex Novo Chardonnay
$49.99/$40 by the case
Ken calls this "an epic site" and based on the 2014 and 2015 versions, he's right on the money. Planted by noted California Cabernet winemaker Craig Williams, it hosts an amazing 15 clones of Chardonnay! In Ken's hands, this is a Puligny on steroids. Razor-sharp and attack-mode fast, it's in your face with bright and zippy lemon/lime floral aromas and flavors, saturated with mellow green herbs and underpinned by layers of minerality that deliver power and structure on a light frame. The finish remains ultra-long, making it clear this is a killer toddler of a wine that will be spectacular when it grows up. So put some down to cellar, then pop some bottles for a tasty thrill ride in the meantime.
Freedom Hill Chardonnay
$49.99/$40 by the case
This warmer Van Duzer Corridor site delivers a Chard that is Ken's weightiest and deepest. With flavors ranging from lemon cream to red apple and pear that meld nicely with light toast, nuts, green herbs and a hint of butter, this reminds us of a classic Meursault. The rich smooth texture is lifted by bright acidity that helps pull everything together to a long finish. Still a baby, this is damn delicious now, but will be wonderful with age.
Strike Up the Smock Shop Band
Nate Ready, Master Sommelier turned winemaker/farmer, is an explorer out to unearth the heart and soul of wine from mere grape clusters. Years working in wine retail then top restaurants provided tasting experiences that generated ideas - and achievement of one of the highest wine sommelier certifications. After working at wineries in Italy and Napa, Nate become winemaker Maggie Harrison's major domo at Antica Terra in Dundee. Multiple vintages in the cellar and learning "Maggie's tricks" taught him how to make those ideas finally blossom. He and partner China Tresemer took an older winery in Hood River and created Hiyu Wine Farm, with animals, orchards and 14 acres of vineyards.
Nate lets wines mature in barrel for several years, seeking to transform pure fruit flavors into something more complex. Influenced by those years of tasting, he takes an Italian approach to winemaking that prizes creative exploration and individual expression. Whites see "super-gentle long pressings,” reds get long whole-cluster macerations and sulfur is not added until bottling so fruit keeps evolving. "Being a bit older has thankfully brought me a lot of varied experience and perspective" Nate says, "and I think it shows in the wines."
Smock Shop Band White Wine 2014
$29.99/$24.99 by the case
Inspired by French winemaking legends such as Marcel Deiss and Jean-François Ganevant, this blend of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Gris is darker yellow in color, richly-textured and is full of deep flavors and layered complexity. No surprise Nate calls it "a bit hedonistic." After being slowly whole-cluster pressed over 24 hours, it spent two years on the lees in used barrels, which added a nutty yeastiness. The aromatics are rich and full of tree blossom and classic Chardonnay spice; a sip brings lemon custard, Asian pear, tropical notes, green herbs and a hit of caramel. There's so much happening, but it's well balanced and harmonious - and yes, very European in style. Fascinating and delicious..
Smock Shop Band Pinot Noir 2014
$29.99/$24.99 by the case
The Italian influence is clear in this personality-filled Pinot Noir that underwent gentle pigéage and a "Nebbiolo-type fermentation" with whole berry clusters macerated for 35 days, "retaining flavors that would normally get pressed out," before spending two years in barrel. Medium-dark red in color, there’s a gorgeous nose with hints of iris, sandalwood, nuts and anise - hmmm, like Nebbiolo. The palate delivers dense dark cherry and raspberry fruit, smoke, savory herbs and botanicals. The texture is subtly dense and nicely chewy, while remaining smooth and juicy into the long finish. This is an excellent wine representing a unique exploration into Oregon Pinot.
Smock Shop Band Red Wine 2014
$44.99/$36 by the case
A Rhône-inspired blend of 55% Syrah and 45% Grenache from a leased plot east of Lyle that was left entirely whole cluster and sat for 70 days on the skins. The result is dark in color, aroma and flavor - and high in impact. There's a wildness to the nose that leads to flavors of dark plum, cherry and blackberry interlaced with earth, savory herbs, smokiness, light tobacco and nuts. There's a weighty richness, but nice lift that adds a freshness to keep the party rolling. Clearly ready to become better with age, it kept opening up as it sat in the glass. This one is for you lovers of Northern Rhônes or bold Mediterranean French reds.