SLOW Pinot

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2014 SLOW Pinot Noir

Sure, most Oregon wines have a great story. Between the people and the terroir there are countless stories and fantastic wines coming from our agriculturally rich state.

Don Oman discussing various wines at blending.

Don Oman talks about the various wines used in the SLOW Pinot.

Then along came Don Oman, co-founder of Slow Food Portland and founder and owner of Casa Bruno LLC, importer and distributor of fine wines in Portland. Over the years Don has built up strong relationships with many of the state’s wine producers and vineyards. He’s the wine connector in Oregon, and understands the business, dedication, and hard work that go into producing fine Oregon wines.

As a Slow Food supporter Don decided it was time to pull out all the stops and see if he could bring together multiple vineyards to create a wine blend to support Slow Food activities throughout the state. Proceeds from the wine would support sending delegates to Terra Madre, develop educational outreach materials for the Ark of Taste, and provide funds to Oregon food and farming projects. There wasn’t a model to follow, no assurances of vineyards coming on board, no quick phone call and it’s all done. No, this was new territory, in so many ways!

Bottles of juice used in the blending.

The juice from the wineries used in the blending.
Photo by Jeff Cole.

The result of Don’s vision and leadership is SLOW Pinot Noir, a fine 2014 wine from the juice of eleven wineries and cellars in the Willamette Valley. Don secured one barrel each from some of the best and most Slow Food-committed wineries and vintners in the state (some of whom have attended and presented at Terra Madre) to create this special blend. Each vineyard added a barrel of their finest juice to the mix.

tasting committee (1 of 1)

Tasting committee: (top L to R) Kayt Mathers, food and wine publicist; Marilyn Henderson, Slow Food Corvallis chapter leader; Katherine Deumling, past Slow Food Portland chapter leaser and SFUSA Board chair; (seated L to R) John Grochau, Grochau Cellars; Don Oman, co-founder Slow Food Portland chapter.

John Grochau, Grochau Cellars, oversaw the blending, bottling and labeling. A committee including Slow Food leaders and wine industry professionals helped with the blending.

Now 260 cases of the 2014 SLOW Pinot Noir are making their way to retail shops and  restaurants throughout Portland and around the state. Ask for SLOW Pinot Noir at your favorite retail shop or restaurant. We will also highlight where to find the wine on our Facebook page as it becomes available.

industry folks

Winemakers attended the first tasting of the 2014 Slow Pinot Noir: (L to R) Leslie Kossoff, Lemelson Vineyards; Nels Becker, Bethel Heights Winery; John Grochau, Grochau Cellars; Bethany Ford, Illahe Vineyards; Colleen Glennon, Lemelson Vineyards; Doug Tunnel, Brick House Vineyards; Bill Holloran, Holloran Vineyard. They gave it a thumbs up!

To date the wine has received high marks.  At an industry tasting held at Nostrana in late October the SLOW Pinot earned cheers. Then on November 8th an enthusiastic crowd enjoyed the wine, plus tasty appetizers, created by Ned Ludd, at the public launch at Elder Hall.

One taste and we think you’ll agree – the 2014 SLOW Pinot Noir is trailblazing delicious! Perfect for the holiday table, this wine also makes a great gift with an “only-in-Oregon” story.

Find SLOW Pinot Noir at these locations.

Check out the interview with Don Oman for an in-depth look at the 2014 SLOW Pinot Noir project.

Here are the eleven wineries included in SLOW Pinot Noir. Visit their websites to find out more about their wines, terrior, and sustainability practices. Many of the wineries have tasting rooms, too.

AyresAyres Vineyard & Winery
Located in the Ribbon Ridge appellation near Newberg, OR, Ayres is a multi-generational family winery committed to sustainability. Ayres has a 38-acre property with 18 acres planted to pinot noir; the remaining 20 acres are dedicated to maintaining agricultural diversity with fruit trees, firs and pastureland. Formerly of Domaine Drouhin, Winemaker Brad McLeroy makes a range of single-variety pinot noirs from the property’s clonal plantings. Harvested from Estate Vineyard. 
Certifications: LIVE, Salmon Safe, Deep Roots Coalition
ayresvineyard.com

BethelHeightsBethel Heights Vineyard
Established in 1977 and located in the Eola Hills of the Willamette Valley, Bethel Heights was founded by one of the many grape-growing pioneering families in Oregon; the winery remains a family operation comprised of multiple generations in the Casteel-Dudley-Webb family. Vineyards planted to pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris, and riesling are farmed using biodynamic practices. The winery is working towards complete carbon neutrality by using solar power, water conservation methods and converting to lighter bottles. Harvested from Ingraham Hill Vineyard.
Certifications: LIVE, Salmon Safe
bethelheights.com

BrickHouseBrick House
Brick House is a Demeter-certified Biodynamic® vineyard and farm in the Ribbon Ridge appellation of the Willamette Valley. The 40-acre farm founded in 1990 is treated as a holistic organism and built on interdependent relationships: the result is a harmonious balance in soil and plant. All wines are made from estate-grown pinot noir, gamay and chardonnay in the vineyards surrounding the winery’s eponym brick house. Harvested from North Face of Estate Vineyard.
Certifications: Biodynamic®, Deep Roots Coalition, Oregon Tilth
brickhousewines.com

CameronCameron
Founded in 1984, Cameron is dedicated to high-quality, hand-crafted and sustainably-farmed wines. One of the co-founders of the Deep Roots Coalition, owner and winemaker John Paul planted his 4-acre Clos Electrique vineyard near Dundee with dry-farmed pinot noir and chardonnay. Since then, Cameron’s vineyards and grape varieties have expanded and include Italian grapes like nebbiolo and friulano. The winery name was inspired by Paul’s family Scottish Clan. Harvested from Abbey Ridge Vineyard.
Certifications: Deep Roots Coalition
cameronwines.com

EveshamWoodEvesham Wood
One of the co-founders of the Deep Roots Coalition, Evesham Wood has believed in dry farming since founding their estate in 1986, a site they named Le Puits Sec (French for dry well). In addition to their estate vineyard planted to pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris and gewürtztraminer, the winery also sources fruit from sites with similar soils and farming practices. Harvested from estate grown, dry-farmed and certified organic Le Grive Bleu vineyard.
Certifications: Organic, Deep Roots Coalition
eveshamwood.com

Grochau Cellars
Sourcing fruit from vineyards dedicated to non-interventionist farming techniques, Grochau Cellars draws inspiration from Oregon’s rich and varied landscape and the classic, nuanced wines of France and Spain. Founded in 2002, winemaker John Grochau takes a similarly minimalist approach in the cellar, allowing the grapes and the place to come through in the bottle. He played an integral role in the Slow Pinot Noir project: the blending trials were carried out at Grochau’s new tasting room in Eola-Amity and the final wine was put in bottle in Grochau’s adjoining winery. Harvested from Bjornson Vineyard.
grochaucellars.com

HolloranHolloran Vineyard Wines
A family winery in the Willamette Valley, Holloran farms its 45 acres using organic and biodynamic practices. The five vineyard sites across the appellation are planted to pinot noir, chardonnay, riesling, tempranillo, and sauvignon blanc–each with a unique set of soils and elevation profiles. Harvested from Le Chenaie Vineyard.
holloranvineyardwines.com

IllaheIlahe Vineyards
In the foothills of the coast range, Ilahe Vineyards is comprised of 52 acres planted to seven different varieties—with pinot noir playing an important role. Work in the vineyard is predominantly horse-powered and cover crops are used throughout the year. Hand-harvested fruit is brought to Ilahe’s gravity-fed and solar-powered winery, where it is fermented in neutral oak or acacia barrels, stainless steel, or clay. Harvested from estate vineyard.
Certifications: LIVE, Salmon Safe, Deep Roots Coalition
illahevineyards.com

JChristopherJ Christopher Wines
With an eye toward the balanced pinot noirs of Burgundy, J. Christopher produces wines that showcase the rich variety of Oregon soils and microclimates. Adhering to biodynamic farming practices in the vineyard and allowing wines to evolve naturally in the cellar contribute to the focused style of J. Christopher’s wines. Based in the Chehalem Mountain AVA, the winery’s primary concentration is pinot noir—it is also one of the only wineries in Oregon specializing in sauvignon blanc. Harvested from Olenick Vineyard.
Certifications: Deep Roots Coalition
jchristopherwines.com

LemelsonLemelson
Located just east of Carlton, OR, Lemelson owns seven estate vineyard sites in the Yamhill-Carlton, Dundee Hills and Chehalem Mountain AVAs–all Certified Organic since 2004. Estate-grown pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris, and riesling are pressed and fermented in Lemelson’s gravity flow winery designed by owner Eric Lemelson. Harvested from Chestnut Hill Vineyard.
Certifications: Oregon Tilth
lemelsonvineyards.com

WestreyWestrey Wine Co.
Since they founded the winery in 1993, winemakers Amy Wesselman and David Autrey have focused their efforts on crafting elegant and age-worthy pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot gris. Sourcing fruit from long-time friends and growers in the Willamette Valley and their own Oracle Vineyard in the Dundee Hills, Westrey has maintained a sustainable approach to grape growing and wine production. Harvested from Oracle Vineyard.
Certifications: LIVE, Deep Roots Coaltion
westrey.com

Find out more about the certification organizations listed above:

Deep Roots Coalition
An Oregon winemaker advocacy group dedicated to the production of wine sourced exclusively from non-irrigated vineyards, the Deep Roots Coalition seeks to educate wine drinkers about the benefits of “dry-farmed wine”, both in terms of the conservation of agricultural water supplies as well as the authenticity of the resulting wine. The organization includes 22 members throughout the state who farm and source grapes exclusively from non-irrigated vineyards. For more information please visit deeprootscoalition.org

LIVE
LIVE is a non-profit organization supporting environmentally and socially responsible winegrowing in the Pacific Northwest. LIVE certification–one of the most authoritative sustainability accreditations in the wine world—is based on a comprehensive set of rigorously-applied standards and procedures that minimize environmental and social impacts while maximizing long term agricultural and economic sustainability. For more information, please visit livecertified.org

Salmon Safe
Working across the Northwest to transform land management and preserve salmon habitat, Salmon Safe is a nonprofit organization with more than a decade of protecting water quality to ensure salmon can spawn and thrive. More than a third of Oregon’s wine industry is working towards Salmon Safe certification. For more information, please visit salmonsafe.org

Oregon Tilth
A nonprofit certifier, educator and advocate for organic agriculture and products since 1974, Oregon Tilth set forth a mission of making our food (and wine) biologically sound and socially equitable. As Oregon’s organic certifier, Oregon Tilth played a leading role in the formation of the national organic certifying program (USDA) and continues its inclusive approach to finding solutions between government agencies, farmers, nonprofits, businesses and citizens. For more information, please visit tilth.org

Demeter (Biodynamic®)
Demeter is a nonprofit incorporated in 1985 with the mission of enabling farmers to grow crops successfully, in accordance with Biodynamic® practices and principles. Through the principle of the farm as a living organism–self-contained, self-sustaining, following the cycles of nature–Demeter’s vision is to heal the planet through agriculture. For more information, please visit demeter-usa.org

Winery and certification copy written by Kayt Mathers, playnicepr.com