June News From Pigeon + Friends: New Cellar Sale – 6.29.20
June News From Pigeon + Friends: Cellar Sale Update
The sale is back on, if it ever really stopped!
We have a new sipper 6-pack that is all about Pinot, but not just Pinot Noir, we’ve got the whole family! Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir, and none are what you’d expect, and all have an eye to the season.
We are also bringing back our California 6-pack. This weekend is the 4th, so we thought we’d celebrate with our neighbor to the south again.
Finally, and possibly the most exciting, 6-pack we’ve featured yet. We have a 6 pack of the new releases from the Envínate crew, one of the most exciting wine projects coming out of Spain right now. All 6 of their releases from Tenerife, of the Canary Islands.
The pickups this week will be Thursday and Friday just in time for the 4th of July holiday.
The Rainbow of Pinot Sipper Pack (40 available) $125
Here in the Willamette valley we love to celebrate all things Pinot Noir. We cherish it for its unmatched ability to express the tiny variations of soil, exposition, and climate. With so much great wine in our backyard it can be easy to forget that there many other great growing regions for Pinot with their own unique micro-climates. The other thing you may not know is that Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc are all mutations of the same grape (there are even more Pinots out there too). This week we celebrate the diverse expressions of “Pinot” and the equally special places where its many forms are grown.
Weissburgunder, Mediaevum, Gump Hof, 2018, Alto Adige, Italy
The region of Alto Adige- Südtirol was the gateway between Italy and the rest of Europe for hundreds of years and was actually part of the Austro-Hungarian empire until after WWI. The culture, language, and wines have much more in common with those of Germany and Austria than they do with Tuscany. Hence the use of the German name for Pinot Blanc. Although Alto Adige represents less than 1% of Italy’s wine production, 98% of its production is of DOC level quality. The breathtaking, terraced vineyards of Gump Hof rise 500 meters above the Isarco River Valley, the vines face south, and the bedrock is solid quartz. The wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel and bursts with smells of pears, white flowers, and wet rocks. Perfect summertime wine.
Pinot Bianco, Villa Russiz, 2016, Collio, Friuli, Italy
Villa Russiz is located in the Collio hills of Friuli in Northeastern Italy. The winery was founded in 1868 in what was at the time part of Austria. “Russiz” is the name of the area that the Italians now call Collio, the rolling hills of the region are wedged between the Adriatic Sea and the Julian alps which provide cooling breezes for long, even ripening of grapes. The other defining character of the region that makes it great for winegrowing is a special type of soil called “ponca” which is a type of clay that contains lots of limestone and silica. After WWI the estate was turned into the Foundation Villa Russiz. It was donated to the Italian government and is still an active orphanage, using profits from wine sales to maintain itself. This slightly weightier example smells of stone fruits and yellow apples. Very crisp and mineral driven!
Pinot Gris, Eyrie Vineyards, 2018, Willamette Valley
The Willamette Valley has become internationally known for its Pinot Noir, there are now over 700 producers with dozens more propping up seemingly overnight. All of this is due to the pioneering efforts of David Lett who, in 1965, was the first to plant Pinot Noir in the Valley. What many forget is that Eyrie vineyards has also been growing Pinot Noir’s cousin Pinot Gris for almost as long. In fact, David Lett was the first person to plant Pinot Gris outside of Europe! This wine is history in a glass. This Pinot Gris bursts from the glass with aromas of pears, fresh cut grass, and apples, it is fleshy but has lots of natural acidity. Much more complex than many of its local peers, but also unlike Italian Pinot Grigio or Alsatian Pinot Gris. It is in a class by itself.
White Pinot Noir (aka Rosé), “Glass”, JK Carriere, 2019, Willamette Valley
Jim Prosser started off making wine in a 100 year old barn (currently the home of Wolves & People Brewery) before moving to the current winery on their estate vineyard. Jim says that “Its more important to know what you want to be, than to grow up”. His playful nature instills itself in his wines and labels, he proves that you can produce very serious wine, without taking yourself too seriously. This rosé is produced by directly pressing (very slowly) Pinot Noir right when it comes into the winery, then it goes into neutral barrel and ferments until it is bone try. It smells of lime, quince, and strawberries, the oak aging broadens the palate making it versatile for wine pairing. In Jim’s words “it is purpose driven for the back patio”.
Givry, Domaine Chofflet-Valdenaire, 2015, Côte Chalonnaise, Burgundy, France
Much of the conversation about Burgundian wines is centered around the Cote d’Or where all of the Grand Cru vineyards are located. Production is finite and in recent decades prices have skyrocketed. This has lead us to continue our exploration into forgotten and lesser known parts of burgundy that present value and often times over-deliver for the price. The Chofflet-Valdenaire estate in the Côte Chalonnaise has been in the family for over 100 years. Their village level Givry is blended with the intent of producing an accessible wine with lots of bright fruit. Smells of black currant, cherry, and raspberry are complimented with some smells of earth and spice.
Spätburgunder (aka Pinot Noir), Kabinett Trocken, Koehler-Ruprecht, 2017, Pfalz, Germany
Many wine lovers associate Germany with its incredibly high acid Rieslings which are often produced with residual sugar as a means of balancing the screaming acidity. However, the southerly region of the Pfalz is warmer and sunnier than its neighbors to the north and in recent decades has emerged as a leader in the production of dry red and white wines. Koehler-Ruprecht is among the most respected producers in the region, they make wine the old-school way with no additions, no chaptalization, native yeasts and they are aged in old, stuck barrels. This Pinot is grown on sandy soils which contribute to its elegance. This pale wine smells of cranberries and cherries with a touch of wet soil. Super elegant texture.
California Like you May Not Know Her (5 for sale) $195
Here in Oregon we drink a lot of local wine, and a lot of European wine, and sometimes California gets overlooked. Crazy because there is so much great stuff there, the tricky part is that there is so much stuff from there. California is so big and has so many different terroirs, and so many people making wine, using so many methods and different philosophies on farming and winemaking. For this 6 pack we wanted to get outside the Cabernet/Chardonnay box that California is the most known for, and we also didn’t want to just pick the zaniest wackiest wines either. These six wines are thoughtfully made elegant beauties highlight different grape varieties and different corners of the State.
Rosé (Touriga Nacional/Tinta Cao), Arnot-Roberts Rose, 2019, North Coast
Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts are childhood friends who grew up in the Sonoma area. They started their winey in 2001 and began to craft wines inspired by the old world wines they like to drink. They search California to find vineyards that have old vines and cooler temperatures which lends itself to the restrained style of wine they like to make. This rosé is made from the Touriga Nacional is pale in color, medium bodied and bursting with red fruits. It’s also one of the hardest rosés to get your hands, so now is your chance.
Trousseau Gris, Fanucchi-Wood Road Vineyard, Pax Wines, 2019, Russian River Valley
Pax Mahle has garnered a huge following because of his ability to craft aromatic syrah reminiscent of the Northern Rhône but with California fruit. He has begun to experiment with other grapes such as Gamay, Chenin Blanc, and Trousseau gris. Trousseau is a grape from the Jura region of France, but plantings in California are on the rise. Prior to prohibition, it was widely planted throughout the state. This wine ferments in concrete egg for 4 months and sees no sulfur additions. It has a little bit of color but is not as weighty as a rose. Pax says “Pair with sunshine, big laughs, and raw pacific oysters…”
‘Annia’ (Tocai Friulano/Riobolla Gialla/Chard), Massican, 2018, Napa Valley
Dan Petroski, of Massican, learned to make wine in Italy, and through his travels fell in love with the white wines of Friuli in the northeastern part of the country. After taking a job as winemaker at the historic Larkmead estate in Napa he was disappointed that there was very little balanced, local white wines to drink during the hot summer. This inspired him to seek out plantings of lesser-known Italian varietals and begin the Massican project. This blend of Tocai Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, and Chardonnay has notes of spiced pear, dried herbs, and a bright finish.
Mataro, Spinelli Vineyard, Three Wine Co., 2015, Contra Costa County
Three Wine Co. is a family run winery that specializes in wine from California’s “heritage” vineyards. The Spinelli vineyard in Contra Costa County (formerly agricultural area that is now a Bay area exurb) is over 125-years old and has monstrous, own-rooted vines planted in sandy soil. Mataro is known as Mouvèdre in France and is the primary grape in the Bandol region of Provence. It thrives in sunny warm climates and creates wines of great power and depth, rich in dark fruit and spice.
Carignane, Old Vine, Porter Creek Vineyards, 2017, Mendocino County
George Davis founded Porter Creek in the Russian River Valley in 1978 and has since been joined by his son Alex who studied winemaking in Burgundy, including an apprenticeship at Domaine Christophe Roumier. Carignane is a grape used in many southern French blends and was planted by French and Italian immigrants in California during the 1800s. This single varietal example is a unique expression of the grape. It has ripe and stewed red fruits and smells like tobacco and herbs.
Syrah, Sebastiano & Patterson Vineyards, Piedrasassi, 2017, Santa Rita Hills
Piedrassasi is probably the only winery/bakery hybrid on the west coast. It is a project honoring the terroirs and bounty of the Central Coast of California. Winemaker Sashi Moorman makes excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Oregon at Evening Land and in California for Sandhi, but Piedrasassi is a project that focuses on Syrah. Sourced from 2 parcels in the Santa Rita Hills AVA this has all the classic syrah aromas of smoked meat, violets, and black pepper and could easily be mistaken for a Saint Joseph from the Rhône Valley.
6 Expressions of Tenerife by Envínate (12 available) $275
The Canary Islands are technically part of Spain, but are actually closer to Morocco. The string of Volcanic islands is one of the most singular places for wine growing in the world. It is hot, windy, and extremely rugged. The vines here are some of the oldest and highest elevation in all of Europe. Access to many of these sites is more than “difficult”, some gradients are up to 65% and the vines are not planted in neat rows. Enter Envínate. Four friends met while studying viticulture and enology in Alicante. They formed Envínate with the goal of exploring unique terroirs comprised of indigenous Spanish varietals. Rarely are some of these available outside of restaurants and rarely packaged together as a 6-pack.
Táganan Blanco, 2018, Tenerife, Canary Islands
The word Táganan means “slope” in the native Canary Island dialect, and is also the name of the sub-region of Tenerife where this wine comes from. It is a field blend of lesser-planted local varieties like Albillo Criollo, Marmajuelo, Gual, Malvasia..and others some of which are unidentified. The northern coast of Tenerife where these wines grow is cooler than other parts of the Island which allows the grapes to slowly mature, maintaining acidity and keeping alcohol levels balanced. The grapes are all co-fermented and aged in neutral barrels for without any sulfur additions. The wine smells of pears, salted almonds, and has a slight smoky note. Perfect for seafood or Iberico ham.
Táganan Tinto, 2018, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Like the Táganan Blanco, this wine is a field blend of indigenous varieties; among them are Listan Negro, Listan Gaugho, and Malvasia Negra. The 100+ year old vines look like bonsai trees growing out of the volcanic soils and are constantly being battered by winds from Africa and the Atlantic. Fifteen different families own and work these small plots of vineyard, they farm organically but are not certified. For them, it is simply how things have always been done. 30% whole cluster is used in the fermentation which adds lift and a juicy quality to the wild, dark fruit while also accenting the spicy and smoky notes of the wine.
Táganan, Parcela Compenario, 2018, Tenerife, Canary Islands
This wine is a singular expression of the Táganan area. The soils are a mix if white intrusive rocks deposited throughout the vineyard with red volcanic basalt underneath. This is considered a superior area for growing white grapes. The blend here includes Verdello, Forestera Gomera, and Gual (known as Boal and Madeira). This wine completes malolactic fermentation while aging in neutral 600L barrels. This helps to round out the high acids and compliments the notes of bruised lemons and pears. It is the perfect white wine to drink with a meal like roasted chicken or seafood paella.
Táganan Tinto, Parcela Margalagua, 2018, Tenerife, Canary Islands
The incredibly steep Margalagua parcel rises above the Atlantic at 150-250 meters in elevation. The centenarian vineyard is home to a mixed planting of varieties which are over 100 years old, head-trained, and own-rooted. The Envínate team ferments this wine in open-top, wood fermenters without de-stemming. The aromas are enticing and range from orange peel, sea-salt, and flowers to dark wild berries and plums. This is a wine which will improve for years in your cellar.
Palo Blanco, 2018, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Hailing from the sub-region of La Oratava on the Northeastern slopes of Pieco del Tiede which is both Spain’s tallest mountain and an active volcano. This 1.5ha vineyard is planted to Listán Blanco (Palomino) in soils of pure black sand. The old-vines are trained in a unique method called Cordon Trenzado which means “braids”. They are interwoven together and resemble the trunks of thick trees but really look like something out of an old science-fiction movie. This cuvée is fermented in a concrete tank and aged in large 2500L barrels. There is no-malolactic fermentation which accentuates the linear acidity. This is quintessential island wine, it is all about tart yellow fruit and salty, SALTY minerality.
Migan Tinto, 2018, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Migan is produced from 3 plots outside of La Perdoma, also on the slopes of Pieco del Tiede. The Listan Negro grapes used for this wine are grown on varying amounts of basalt, clay, and some sand. The clay and basalt provide textural grip to the wine which also has vibrant acidity and smells of high toned flowers and red strawberries. Aged in 600L neutral oak to let the unique terroir of this subregion speak for itself.