In an effort to keep you up to date on wineries in Portland we will be featuring one winery a month in an email and on social media. The plan is to give you a couple of highlights in this email and then follow us on Facebook or Instagram to hear more about each winery.We hope you enjoy this snapshot into each of these unique small Urban Wineries.
A big THANK YOU! has to go out to Aliya Hall for taking the time to interview our winery members.
Clay Pigeon Winery
What kinds of wine do you make?
We basically, in the grand scheme of things, we lean heavier on the reds. We don’t really have a stable system. I think we have made Pinot for quite a few years, but I haven’t made Pinot for a few years now partly because there’s a lot of Pinot. It’s Oregon. And the style of Pinots we make, like I said I age mine quite a bit longer and I’m still selling my 2015 Pinot and tell people to decant it for maybe an hour or two before you eat to let it breathe. It’s not designed for super thin, high acid cherry that the valley is famous for, it’s got different notes there.
Cabernet Franc and Syrah from down in the Rogue Valley I would say have become pretty popular with wine club and general public. So for our Syrahs, we typically age for two to three years on the vintage in barrel, and we just released our 2014 Syrah in the fall. Again, we give it a lot of time but it’s designed to age even longer.
For white wines, we do a Pinot Gris. I usually do our Gris barrel aged and stir the lees to give it a little richer in the mouth feel, so it basically is more Alsation then again Willamette Valley. Then we do a Chardonnay that I based on the style of the Jura region in France, which is lesser known but gaining a lot more popularity. I was first introduced to it as a sommelier and I think a lot Somms are big fans of Jura, especially their whites, because they’re very food friendly. I also like that they’re highly oxidized so we make this highly oxidized Chardonnay. We’re about to release our new one which was four years in barrel with no topping, resulting in a lot of oxygen exposure. It’s really golden and it almost tastes like an unfortified sherry. A really different flavor profile but really packed with a lot of flavor.
Now we’re starting to branch a bit more into Cabernet Sauvignon and I have a Tempranillo that’s still aging. I’m always trying to look at different styles that maintain a little flexibility and leave room for whatever little experiment we want to do next.
Who inspires you within the wine industry?
There’s quite a few people, but The Scholium Project down in California was one early on. The thing I like about Abe, who is the founder and wine maker, is that he’s got this relaxed attitude. Years ago he did this interview and was asked how he got this wine that was off-style and he said, “Oh, honestly, I was traveling and I totally forgot about my barrels” and I was like holy shit I love that he’s very open about it and was like, wow this is interesting so I’ll let it keep going and play out and make it into something. He’s really experimental and not pretentious, which again is a nice thing. On my website it says, “We believe in lazy wine making” and I think that’s a bit tongue in cheek but we let the wine do what it’s going to do and we’ll try to stay out of its way. I could call that very intentional and say we’re very meticulous or I could say, “it’s pretty lazy when you think about it and it’s all said and done.” I think that’s a nod to someone like Abe who has been that way and open about it, which is refreshing.
Even closer to home, there a lot of people here in Portland and in the valley that are doing just lovely things.
To hear more about Clay Pigeon be sure to check out our Social Media pages and you can find a link to them on our website.
News or Events from other PDX Urban Wineries
Adega NW is now open for Wine Tasting!
4855 SE 18th Avenue, Portland 97202
The Entrance to the Winery is through the parking lot on Schiller Street between 17th & 18th.
They have a large outdoor area that they are using to host guests. Inside seating to come later. They are serving several rotating wine flights as well as a large selection of wines by the glass / bottle. Hours of operation are:
RAM Cellars Summer Shindig & TLDEF Fundraiser
Sunday August 22nd 5pm – 8pm
RAM Cellars will be pouring a special lineup curated by Viv for your tasting pleasure that includes 4 of our current VIV label wines as well as 4 RAM cellars label wines.
We’ll have those 8 wines open, charcuterie, cheese and other complementary small bite foods to pair with the wines (vegan options available), music from several of our talented friends, and an evening of good times raising $10 per tasting fee for our VIV label partner organization the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) in support of their Name Change Project. Advance Ticket purchase is required. Get your tickets here.