Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A Visit to Brigadoon

Today I was working on a large painting to replace the one at Oregon Wine LAB that is going to be installed at Oregon Contemporary Theater on Friday. I got a little frustrated with the pace, so I got in the car and just drove. I thought it would clear my head a bit.
Last Sunday we went to the Oregon Truffle Festival event at the Hilton in Eugene and tasted some great wines, one of which was the 2014 Lylee Pinot Noir from Brigadoon. Rich, intense, and very enjoyable, and only $24.
I spoke with Chris Shown about the prospects for the '15s and for the Taproot '14, their high end Pinot Noir.
He mentioned that the tree that was on their property and that I had taken a photo of for a show of etchings at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art a few years ago, had fallen.
The tree was estimated to be at least 350 years old. One of the lower branches had well over 100 rings!
We took off in his four wheel utility vehicle and this is what I saw:
When I first took the photo it was like a candelabra, with four trunks growing from the tree after it had been topped by the Columbus Day Storm in 1962. It was 6 foot at the base. Now after many years of termites, it finally gave up.

Chris and his son Matt were pruning and were almost finished so after a conversation about the prospects of this years harvest, we
headed up to the barrel room for a little sample of Matt's work.
The first taste was the Wadensville  barrel, tight tannins and a rather hard edge with warm flavors and a tannic finish give the structure on which to make a very good wine when blended with the 115 and its warm strawberry and soft, complex flavors. I can't wait to see what Matt comes up with for the blend.
Next we tasted wine from La Chouette  where Matt also makes wine. Barrel aged and smooth as glass, this wine is outstanding and and I am looking forward to tasting it from the bottle.
Chris and Matt outside the barrel room
Last and most certainly not least was the 2015. It had gone through malo* and was just stunning! I was amazed at how rich and complex this wine is. It is too soon to suggest a flavor profile but the flavors are black berry, soft red fruit, with hints of anise and clove.The 2015 Pinots are going to make Oregon a very big player. 
If you have a chance drive out and meet Chris and Matt, pet the dog, and taste some outstanding wines.

* ( Malolactic fermentation is a secondary fermentation that requires hardworking bacteria and instead of yeast. Essentially, it is the process of taking the harsher malic acid that occurs naturally in the wine must and converting it to a softer lactic acid. Malic acid is associated with the tart acid found in a Granny Smith apple, while lactic acid is the more subtle acid found in milk, butter, cheese and yogurt (and it is the diacetyl derivative of the lactic acid, that shows up as "buttery" in a Chardonnay that has undergone malolactic fermentation).

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