Division Pinot Noir “Un” Willamette Valley - Division Winemaking got its start a decade ago in Portland, Oregon.
Founded by two wine lovers, Kate Norris and Thomas Monroe, Division reflecs Oregon & Washington expressions of the European wineries they fell in love with in the Loire, northern Rhone, Burgundy, and Beaujolais. The idea is to create complex and approachable wines reflective of place with minimal manipulation with grapes like Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chardonnay, Chenin, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Cot, and Syrah, to name a few. This Pinot Noir comes from a collection of vineyards in the Willamette Valley, including locations in Eola Amity Hills, Ribbon Ridge, and Yamhill Carlton. It's silky and elegant, with rich cherry, spice, and dried leaf notes. It's like a crisp autumn day in a glass. Drink it with roasted mushrooms chopped fine with tarragon, butter, and white wine, mounded onto buttered toast, with a crisp green salad on the side.
Division-Villages Cab Franc Blend "Beton" - This lovely red blend is inspired by the Loire reds you'd drink in a cafe in any middling town strung along the banks of the slow-flowing Loire river. It's half Cabernet Franc, with the rest of the blend divided between Gamay, Pinot Noir, and Côt, or Malbec. The Division team writes of this friendly wine, "We love the Touraine rouge cuvée wines from the Loire that are typically served as bistro wines in Paris and used them as inspiration for our “Béton” blend. We attribute the success of our red blend, now in it’s seventh vintage, to the desire of so many to have an intriguing and food friendly, yet never overly heavy bistro-style red wine as a mainstay at the dinner table."
They desribe the wine as having pepper, dark earth, and cassis notes, scented of violets and dark berries. Recreate a French bistro at home with roast chicken, baguette from a local bakery, green salad, roasted potatoes, and a good cheese for dessert.
Tribute to Grace Grenache - Angela Osborne moved to California in 2006 with a dream of making Grenache. This grape captured her imagination and she had been searching all the grenache hot spots around the world to find her ideal spot: the southern Rhone, northern Spain, and southern Australia. She found what she was looking for in a high-desert vineyard in Santa Barbara, thirty-three miles inland from the Pacific ocean. She named her winery after her grandmother, Grace, and began crafting multiple expressions of Grenache, a grape underused and underappreciated in US vineyards. Angela provides an evocative description on her website of the land that produces her grenache:
The Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard is situated 33 miles east of Santa Barbara, in the Sierra Madre Mountains. Sitting at 3200 feet elevation, the setting is home to sand, brush, exposed rock, and the odd dingo-type wild dog. And grapes. On my first visit to the vineyard (as pictured in this photo), my mother and I were driving the 33-highway route north from Ojai and were beginning to wonder if we had indeed entered the famed Ojai vortex, so foreign was the setting. We hadn’t seen a single soul in over an hour – in fact nothing living save the odd Matilija mountain Poppy. Upwards we continued to climb, until finally we rounded yet another hairpin-bend and both gasped. Nestled below, amidst a vast sea of sand, were row upon row of vibrant vines.
And so is the setting for this incredible vineyard. Arid and blazing hot in the summertime, snow-laden and sleepy in the wintertime. Not that the summer months see an influx of people, I believe the permanent population of Ventucopa is 59…
Drink this lush, elegant, grippy Grenache with salmon or pork roasted with apples and fennel.
Brooks Oak Ridge Gewurztraminer - Jimi Brooks was a Portland native who caught the wine bug and followed it around the world, working harvests in Beaujolais. He returned to find a developing wine region Oregon. He devoted his life to biodynamic and holistic farming and winemaking in the Willamette Valley. Jimi has since passed away, but his legacy is continued by his young son Pascal who is the sole owner, his sister Janie who runs operations, and his friend Chris Williams who makes the wine. Pinot Noir is a focus, but Riesling and Gewurztraminer play major roles as well. This Gewurz isn't overly opulent or floral but dry and elegant with notes of honeysuckle and candied ginger.
Aubrey Stout (Aubrey is a talented wine specialist at Imbibe Chattanooga).
“If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.”
― Mark Twain