News From Pigeon + Friends: Cellar Sale, Sept. 22nd
News From Pigeon + Friends: Cellar Sale
The sale never sleeps!
We have 2 new wine packs this week.
First off we have an ‘Almost Sipper’ pack of wines exploring an Oregon biodynamic treasure: The Johan Vineyard. 6 bottles, 4 grapes, 3 wineries, 1 special site.
Next is a 3-pack horizontal of 2016 Baroli from Fratelli Alessandria. This is a rare opportunity to snag the 3 single vineyard bottlings from one of the stars of Barolo from the eagerly anticipated 2016 vintage that was just released.
TO ORDER select your wine bundle of choice, follow the steps to securely order your wine. All payments will be processed ahead of time through our website.
Once you order they will be available for pickup at Le Pigeon Tuesday through Saturday, beginning on Thursday, September 23rd, from 12:00pm to 4:00pm. You can pick them up from our front door, or we can bring them out to your car. If those times do not work for you, please let us know and we can arrange an alternative. Shipping is available as well. Please call after placing your order.
We are all in this together, and when you’re drinking good stuff, well hey, you’re keeping it classy
Exploring an Oregon Biodynamic Treasure: The Johan Vineyard, 6 bottles, 4 grapes, 3 wineries, 1 Special Site, $150
The Johan vineyard was planted in 2005, and from the very beginning its 85 acres under vine have been Biodynamically farmed with the goal of creating and nurturing an ecosystem above, below, and in between the vines. It is a very special place for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and a host of other grape varieties planted there. It is located in Oregon’s newest sub AVA (American viticultural Area) of the Willamette Valley, The Van Duzer Corridor AVA. There are many factors that differentiate this area from those surrounding it. The primary factor is that the vineyards are directly affected by powerful and cooling winds from the Pacific Ocean that are funneled through a break in the mountains of the Coast Range. This cooling influence delays ripening and helps balance alcohol levels. Simultaneously the strong winds cause the grapes to develop thicker protective skins that impart flavor and structure into the finished wines. The unique soils at Johan help to balance the wines. There is a large amount of calcareous material found throughout the vineyard which helps keep acidities high and the wines bright. We wanted to explore this unique site through the different lenses of a few producers who make wine from it. Hopefully you will geek out as much as we did!
Pét-Nat Rosé (of Pinot Noir) Johan Vineyards, 2019
The Johan team specifically farms one block of their vineyard to make this sparkling wine, they value it for its fruitiness and high acidity levels. The wine is allowed to ferment on its skins for 24 hours then it is pressed off when it is still very pale in color. A short time later it goes to bottle before the alcoholic fermentation is finished. The wine finishes up fermenting in bottle and the resulting C02 gets trapped inside. (That is the simple definition for what a Pét-Nat is. Essentially the bubbles are the trapped gas of the primary fermentation, as opposed to the “Champagne” method where the bubbles are formed through a secondary fermentation). The result is a very pleasant fizz perfect for sipping with or without food.
Melon de Bourgogne, Johan, 2018
Melon de Bourgogne is the grape of the Loire Valley’s Muscadet appellation and wines. For this wine, the Johan team applies some of that region’s methods, but certainly puts their own spin on it. After primary fermentation, the Melon is aged “sur lie” (on its dead yeast cells) for 10 months…this is commonplace for Muscadet as it imparts more texture and some aromatics. However, before primary fermentation even began the fruit is given 36 hours of skin contact which adds even more weight and grip to the light Melon grape. This wine will pair well with some oysters or shellfish, the traditionally paired foods, but it can hang on the table for the rest of the meal with a roast chicken, or other heartier fair too.
Melon de Bourgogne, Bow & Arrow, 2019
Bow & Arrow is an urban winery located about a mile away from Le Pigeon/Canard. It was founded by Scott Frank and draws heavy inspiration from the wines of the Loire Valley. This Melon is an homage to the mineral-driven, vibrant, and crisp wines of Muscadet in the Western Loire Valley. It spends about 8 months aging in tank before bottling. It smells of yellow apples, white flowers, and wet rocks. This wine harkens to the cool winds of the vineyard it comes from, and shows a real kinship to the region that inspires it. A great contrast in style to the Melon from Johan.
Gamay/Pinot Noir, Rhinestones, Bow & Arrow 2019
As mentioned above Scott Frank of Bow & Arrow draws much inspiration from the Loire Valley. For this wine, the inspiration is Cheverny, an area in the Eastern Loire Valley. Cheverny reds are made from a combination of Pinot Noir and Gamay, and that is the same blend that makes up Rhinestones. This wine is fruity, funky, and bright. It smells of wild berries, black cherries and sweet herbs…it is currently our favorite wine to pair with a juicy hamburger.
Pinot Noir/Chardonnay, Tulips, Division Wines, 2018
Division Wines is another urban winery located in Southeast Portland, it was founded by Tom Monroe and Kate Norris after learning to make wine in Beaujolais and Burgundy. This inspired wine is a co-ferment of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay. The Pinot is not de-stemmed which results in some carbonic fermentation. This accentuates the fruitiness of the grapes but is balanced by the intense mineral character of the Chardonnay. It is a complex and unique wine that smells of strawberries, flint, herbs, and spices. They only produced 2 barrels of this special cuvee. In case you were wondering it is a RED, not a Rosé.
Chardonnay, Trois, Division Wines, 2018
This Chardonnay is a great example of why we love Oregon Chardonnay and why the rest of the world is beginning to take notice. The unique soil composition of the Johan vineyard, combined with the cool climate, and ideal growing season of 2018 provided Division with the means to produce a truly captivating wine. The Chardonnay juice was fermented in a combination neutral 228 Liter and 500 Liter French oak barrels which don’t impart any of the “oaky” flavor associated with most domestic Chardonnay. It smells of tart apples, spiced pears, and has lots of saline notes, it will really develop and become more complex as it sits in your glass. Open it a little early so it can breathe a bit.
Fratelli Alessandria 2016 Barolo Horizontal 3-Pack, $220
Verduno is a tiny hamlet in the northwestern corner of the Barolo zone. The wines of the area had for years been the quiet secret of wine geeks and passionate collectors but, as of a few years ago, the secret’s out! While that makes the wines a little harder to get, which makes us sad, we are glad that the producers are finally receiving the attention they deserve. The Baroli of Verduno and spiced and fragrant, and while still being long-lived wines that can age for decades, they are a little gentler, and some might say more finesseful, than their neighbors to the south. Some say it’s due to the soil, a complex mix of calcareous clay, silt and sandstone interspersed with chalky veins. The Alessandria family has quietly been producing world class wines from the area since the 1870s. To understand Alessandria is to understand Verduno. We are very excited to share these wines with you and hope that you catch the Verduno bug in the same way that we have. Due to the required length of time Barolo must spend in the barrel, years pass between a Barolo harvest and release, which gives fans lots of time to get excited, and the 2016 wines are ones that we Barolo fans are super jazzed about. You’ll see why….
Barolo, Monvigliero, Fratelli Alessandria, 2016
Monvigliero is the undisputed “Grand Cru” vineyard of Verduno. Very few producers work this land, and even fewer with as deft a hand as Fratelli Alessandria. It is south/southwest facing and sits between 750 and 900 feet elevation. The soils are comprised of sand and clay but also contain a high proportion of limestone. This is unique in the Barolo area and is what sets Verduno apart from many of the other hamlets within the appellation. The limestone soils give lift and perfume to the notoriously tannic Nebbiolo grape. Fruit from the 45-year-old vines is hand harvested, fermented in stainless steel, then aged in the traditional fashion, which is large Slavonian oak casks (neutral) for 3 years. It smells of red and black cherries, tobacco and tar. For all of its power, the wine shows lift and grace. Truly a marvel.
Barolo, San Lorenzo, Fratelli Alessandria, 2016
The San Lorenzo vineyard is comprised of similar soils to the famed Monvigliero but sits a little bit lower in altitude. The slightly warmer micro-climate produces a wine which is more approachable in its youth. The hallmark of wines from San Lorenzo is the beautiful perfume of the Nebbiolo grape. It smells of red cherries, berries, roses and violets. It is a wine to meditate over!
Barolo, Gramolere, Fratelli Alessandria, 2016
This is the only single-vineyard Barolo produced by the family which is located outside of the Verduno zone. The commune of Serralunga d’ Alba is in the southwest of the Barolo zone and is characterized by more heavy clay soils and a warmer micro-climate. We though that it would be fun to add a wine made mad with the exact same methods from a different area so that you could compare the influence of terroir on the finished wine. It is darker and more brooding with notes of balsamic, dried herbs, and black cherry.