Wine update from Henry 8-7-17

BRAND NEW IN BROOKSIDE. If you come in to our store on 63rd street on an even semi-regular basis, you’ve probably seen me behind the counter. I’m the tall skinny guy who’s normally wearing something crazy, think leopard print pants and the kind of t-shirt that would only go with that. If you’ve spent any time shopping with us, and you care about wine at all, you and I have probably had a conversation or two. You probably already know that I care about wine a lot, and that more importantly I care about putting great bottles of wine in your hands. There’s even a good chance that I’ve taken a $20+ bottle from you and replaced it with something less expensive and said “this is a much better wine.” By the way, don’t feel compelled to tell my bosses that. What I’m saying is that I care about what I do.

We’ve got a new winery and wine maker in the store that I care about, A LOT. Division Winemaking Company is a small artisinal winery based in Portland, Oregon that strives to make all natural organic wines with minimal manipulation that are extremely expressive not only of the grapes themselves but the specific vineyards and their terroirs of the Pacific Northwest. Division was 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. I have been blown away by literally everything of theirs that I have tasted, and wish I could get more of the wines they make. Unfortunately when I say that they are limited production wines I mean insanely so. I already stocked one of their wines, a completely organic Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley. Today I just brought in 3 more of their wines, one Chardonnay and two single vineyard Pinot Noirs. All total they produced just over 300 cases of these wines, which translates into 12 barrels. I’m going to stop babbling on like the village idiot and let winemaker Thomas Monroe tell you a little bit about these spectacular offerings. One last note, I LOVE all of these wines but there is only about 1 case of each available, and I expect them to be all gone within a week…

2015 Division Chardonnay “Un” Willamette Valley AVA  $25.99

2015 proved to be an important one for Chardonnay, we were ecstatic this year when we were able to once again partner with two old vine Chardonnay sites, Draper selection Stangeland Vineyards (1978 planting) in the Eola-Amity Hills, and Biodynamic grown Davis 108 Cooper Mountain Vineyards (1978 planting). We also continue to work with another Biodynamic site, Dijon 76 Johan Vineyards, to add to the mix with Methven Family Vineyards (LIVE Certified) Dijon 76 clone Chardonnay. The warm vintage was perfect for the old vine sites, which struggle to ripen in cooler years. They were both richer than years past, but still vibrant, delicious and in perfect health! The 2015 Chardonnay completed malolactic fermentation resulting in a nice balance of citrus and the ever present saline notes in our wines, layered with orchard characteristics and some very delicate “sweet cream” like flavor from the lactic acid. The 2015 Division Chardonnay “Un” brings a nice amount of richness from the vintage, which is balanced with acidity and full phenolic flavors. We are quite pleased with the result from the very hot year and believe the wine will be perfect for enjoying on the table for the next few years!

Alc – 13.1%, pH 3.36, 175 cases

2015 Division Pinot Noir “Deux” Eola Springs Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills AVA $36.99

The Willamette Valley is typically one of the coolest and wettest major wine growing regions in the U.S, which clearly favors the delicate, but seemingly boundless potential of the Pinot Noir grape. The 2015 growing year proved to be the driest and hottest on record in the Pacific Northwest – a benchmark we can’t help but attribute to our changing global climate. Thankfully, the hottest year ever in Oregon is still well within the boundaries of growing world class Pinot Noir, it just meant we needed to rethink some of our farming and winemaking practices to adjust for the climate. We welcomed back Eola-Springs Vineyard after a two-year hiatus while the former owners managed the sale of their vineyard. Eola-Springs is a very special vineyard for us, in fact, it was the first vineyard we worked with after establishing Division as a commercial winery back in the incredible 2010 vintage. The intense heat of the vintage was greatly moderated by the old vines, who’s roots at 40 feet + down don’t seem to notice much of what’s happening on the surface! While many younger sites were producing some pretty high alcohol Pinot in 2015, our Pinot “Deux” was quite restrained at 13.6% with great finesse, textural precision and classic Oregon Pinot Noir character. The wine has a dense fruit aromatics that lends itself to dark cherry tones with a sliver of iron, but lots of freshness balanced with and the light kiss of fine oak. The palate is open and giving, anchored by jammy raspberry and cherry, a little ginger bread, fresh thyme and an earthy complex that we attribute to the use of whole cluster fermentation. We expect the medium bodied wine to keep integrating and shedding glycerin (baby fat) weight as it matures over the next few years, but are really happy drinking it right now, so no need to wait to enjoy!

Alc 13.6%, 80 cases produced

2015 Division Pinot Noir “Quatre” Bjornsion Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills AVA $41.99

The Bjornson Vineyard is a relatively young vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills, with planting beginning in 2006, but it happens to be situated next some of Oregon’s most highly acclaimed & coveted vineyards. We were ecstatic to get a shot at making wines from these vines planted on soils formed from volcanic remnants, locally called Nekia soil, and marine sedimentary overlay against basalt bedrock.Coming into our second year working with the Bjornson Vineyard, we were prepared with some good ideas of what we thought would work well for the clones we had brought in the year prior, our favorite combo of the elegant and red fruit oriented Dijon 777 and the earthy and rustic Pommard clones. To experiment, though, we added a new element to this year, the Dijon Clone 4407. This clone has supposedly been sourced from the slopes of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s Grand Cru vineyards.

While we knew we had something great on our hands, we are very pleased by how approachable, yet complex the wine is in its youth – likely due to it’s young vine nature. This very small “Quatre” cuvee was aged in French Oak; one single one-year old barrel and one neutral for 10 months, without any racking. The wine is minerally intense, layering in boysenberry and mushrooms. The fruit lends itself to the blue spectrum and the palate is already demonstrating really nice textural weight and well resolved tannins. Drink some now, but make sure to put a few bottles away, this one will age for a while!

Alc – 13.3%, pH 3.54, 50 cases