Division Wine Co’s National Sales Manager
Our Wine Wednesdays, include one *free sample from each of our hand selected fine wine features (up to four wines). This week we welcome the National Sales Manager for Division Wine Co, Sophie Barrett.
Join us as we feature a selection of hand-made wines from one of Oregons brightest stars. This is a rare chance to sample wines never available in the NC market. We will be offering a pre-sale with killer pricing and an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of each wine poured with the National Sales Manager! Dont miss it!
Division is an artisanal winery based in Portland, Oregon striving to make delicious, interesting and balanced wines with minimal manipulation. They are extremely passionate about supporting sustainably farmed, terroir expressive vineyards that celebrate their favorite varietals.
Crémant de Portland Brut Urbanique
Crémant wines are typically Methode Champenoise (in bottle ferment) sparkling wines produced in French regions outside of Champagne, and are the inspiration for this sparkling Crémant. Produced from Chenin Blanc, this sparkling wine by winemakers Kate Norris and Thomas Monrone is greatly inspired by their time spent in the Loire Valley of France.
‘La Frontiére’ Sauvignon Blanc
It’s no secret that within the Willamette Valley the Eola-Amity Hills is one of the most special places in the U.S. for growing cool climate Pinot Noir grapes. It is definitely not and area very well known for growing Sauvignon Blanc, well, not yet. Myron Redford is as great a legend in Oregon’s wine industry as they come. He founded Amity Vineyards back in mid-1970s as a part of a group of pioneering young wine entrepreneurs that were building the start of the Oregon wine industry. Myron, always experimenting, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, with grapes like Gamay Noir, Riesling and yes, Sauvignon Blanc. He and his partner Vikki Wetle planted a small 7.5 acre certified organic vineyard on Jory, Yamhill & Woodburn soils at their home property in the Eola-Amity Hills in 2006, which includes the Sauvignon Blanc that dominates for our “La Frontière.” The organically farmed Allegre Vineyard, our first in the Columbia Gorge, makes up the remaining portion. We are usually some of the first to make picking decisions each year as we seek to make wines that are lighter, more finessed, vibrant, but still with intensity and complexity. Sauvignon Blanc was a bit of a conundrum for us as it is notorious for demonstrating very green tropic and grassy “cat pee” like aromatics when not completely ripe. For this reason and because we just hadn’t tasted many versions made in the New World that were that compelling, we eschewed making Sauvignon Blanc in the past. Ultimately, this meant we would need to harvest at a more ripened level than is typical for us. Like in 2016, we were thrilled with the balance of acidity to ripeness of both sites of Sauvignon Blanc and are confident we have another special and uniquely Oregonian Sauvignon Blanc. We created a pied de cuve (early native ferment) with a small amount of grapes to build a strong yeast population from the native flora for both sites. The wines were fermented “sur lie” in one puncheon (500L), five neutral white Burgundy barrels and a two stainless steel barrels. The ferments started and completed quite quickly in the puncheon and stainless barrel, while the oak barrels lingered and finished between December and January (2018). All were fermented dry, including the malolactic fermentation, which was completed this year. Our second “La Frontière” demonstrates the clear Sauvignon Blanc characteristics, led by peach and pear notes and followed by lychee with snap peas or snow peas, enlivening the riper fruit notes. We thankfully stayed away from the dreaded “litter box” notes, as well as the Dole tropical fruit cup tendencies that seem to dominate the domestic Sauvignon Blanc scene. The palate is full and vibrant, with secondary notes of wildflower honey and orchard fruits, like quince. The wine is drinking very well out of the gate and is quite pleasurable and we’re looking forward to seeing the future of this bottling.
Rosé of Pinot Noir
Methven Family Vineyard & Bethany Heights Vineyard. This is the wine that started Division Winemaking Co. a mere 50 cases of the 2010 Rosé of Pinot Noir, which we have always made from the mineral intense Eola-Amity Hills in the Willamette and continue the tradition year after year. Methven Family Vineyards is set in Amity section of this AVA and has provided a significant portion of the Pinot rosé since 2011. The vines were planted in 2001 on soils formed from volcanic remnants, a clay and broken rock soil locally called Nekia, and marine sedimentary overlay against basalt bedrock. Not too far away on the western slop of the Eola Hills, is the old vines at Bethany Heights Vineyard. Bethany Heights is a bit cooler and wetter than the rest of the region due to the Van Duzer coastal gap corridor and its proximity to the coast, and the site features similar volcanic soils that more in the deeper Jory clay based series, most well known in the Dundee Hills. We believe the best wines are made by picking before overly ripe characteristics dominate the wine and balance and finesse suffer. Therefore, especially with rosé, which we seek more white wine-like vibrancy than red wine-like richness or intensity, we pick this site relatively early with more acid driven grapes and lighter red fruit. To achieve this profile, we crop and keep the canopy managed in a way to provide a lot of shading to slow sugar production, while keeping acidity high. Due to the early start of the season and the late heat wave, Methven was harvested around a normal time this year, one September 22nd, as we finally had a “cool” year after several warm to hot ones in a row. Bethany was picked about a week earlier on September 16th, with fruit quality that was very healthy, vibrant and perfectly ripe for making rosé. While in the past few years, most was direct pressed, we did most of the Methven pressing by foot into neutral French oak this year and the entire Bethany by the press into a stainless tank. The foot pressed portion, now per our annual tradition, was about 30% of the total wine and adds considerable depth and complexity the rosé. For the fermentation, we created a pied de cuve (early native ferment) with a small amount of the Bethany grapes to build a strong yeast population from the native flora, which was added after settling into one stainless 1900L temperature controlled tank. The stainless tank began fermenting very quickly and we kept it on the cooling jacked at 17 C , with the ferment lasting until mid December. The French oak barrel portion of Methven rosé fermented considerably slower in the cool barrel room and finished in mid- January. We allowed the tank and barrels to fully finish the malolactic fermentation, as the wines had enough acidity not to warrant halting the malolactic transition. Last year, we said the Rosé of Pinot Noir was our best since 2013, and while it truly was, the 2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir is our best since our first vintage in 2010. It’s truly complex, delicate and delicious. The wine is quite soave and polished with a distinct honeysuckle and strawberry character. The palate is crisp with floral white peach, sweet strawberries and pretty feminine Pinot notes . The wine has a deep core, not typical of crisp and dry rose, and a delicate light pink hue. This rosé is quite complex and will be a wine to both drink now and even hold for the next few years.
‘Les Petites Fers’ Gamay Noir
Methven Family Vineyard (30%), Rebecca’s Vineyard (30%), Bjornson Vineyard (20%), Redford-Wetle Vine- yard (10%), Carson Vineyard (10%). The Gamay Noir grape, which hails from the Beaujolais region and also flour- ishes in the Loire Valley, is witnessing a rapid popularization in growth in the U.S. over recent years. A fact that that makes us very happy! The majority of our “Les Petits Fers” Gamay comes from three vineyards in the Eola-Amity hills, a part of the Willamette Valley, an area known as typically one of the coolest and wettest major wine growing regions in the U.S. The mix of soils is mostly volcanic clay with some marine sedimentary overlay, espe- cially at the lower elevations. We had the opportunity to also include some Dundee Hills Gamay, for the first time, which adds a truly new dimension to the wine. The balance of this cuvee comes from Rebecca’s Vineyard, a volcanic clay site that borders on cold for growing grapes in some years, but old own rooted vines have proven to grow excellent and unique Gamay that we have come to really appreciate. Rebecca’s is located in a lesser know area of Ore- gon, 100 miles to the south in the northern coastal slopes near Eugene, named after the area’s primary river, the Umpqua AVA. All of these AVAs share some commonalities that make them excellent for growing Gamay, including the proximity to the Van Duzer corridor which pulls in cool coastal air at night time to help drop the temperature to better retain acidity, as well as great exposure to the warmth in the afternoons for ripening. We fell hard for the carbonic maceration fermentation technique while learning about and making wine in the Beaujolais region. Carbonic Maceration involves fermenting the wines fully on the stems in a closed vessel that is initially inundated with co2 that macerates the grape skins by mostly using the co2 to enzymatically extract color, phenolics and flavors. We utilize this traditional Beaujolais technique for much of the “Les Petits Fers” Gamay Noir, including a fully carbonic ferment with one of the Methven blocks and partial carbonic ferment for the Redford-Wetle & Bjornson sites. Only Rebecca’s Vineyard was fermented without the stems as a more traditional red fermentation involving pulverization and recir- culation. This allowed us to create a balance between the fruity carbonic wine with nuanced and vibrant traditional wine. Each of the ferments were relatively short this year and lasted about 15 – 20 days on the skins, with the wines being pressed off in late October for ageing in two 475 gallon cement vessels, two puncheons (500L) and four neutral Burgundy French oak barrels. The “Les Petits Fers” Gamay Noir is complex, vibrant and shows numerous layers that makeup the wine. This wine is demonstrates classic Gamay sensibilities, with intense strawberries and raspberries, black pepper, and dark earthy warm earth tones. The palate is mineral rich and intense in mixed berries, with funky exotic spices tea notes and a lighter and ethereal texture. Designed to be a drink earlier wine, the 2017 “Les Petits Fers” is roaring out of the gate and ready for quaffing!
DV “Beton” Red Blend 2015/2017
Cabernet Franc (65%), Gamay Noir (20%), Côt (10%), Pinot Noir (5%). Quady North Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Serra Vineyard Cabernet Franc & Côt, Methven Family Vineyards Gamay Noir, & Johan Vineyards Pinot Noir. The Applegate Valley AVA in southern Oregon has become a favorite for us due to it’s unique granitic bedrock and it’s microclimate that is warmer and drier than the Willamette Valley, but cooler and wetter than the greater Rogue Valley to the east. The Applegate has proved to us to be a perfect region for the Loire clones of Cabernet Franc we have come to love so much. Herb Quady is one of the best growers in the region, if not the state, who is doing all the right things for the terroir there, including organic farming techniques and very well thought out and judicious irrigation use. His own Quady North Vineyard and the Serra Vineyard, which he also farms, sit in the hills above the Applegate river. We anchor our Béton bistro style red blend with Cabernet Franc from both of these, as well as the Côt (AKA Loire Malbec) portion from the Serra Vineyard. The Gamay component (20% of the blend) comes from Methven Family Vineyard, planted in 2002 which located in the Willamette Valley, as well as a small amount of Biodynmaically farmed Pinot Noir from Johan Vineyards, also in the Willamette Valley. We love the red Touraine blend wines from the Loire that are typically served as bistro wines in Paris and used them as inspiration for our “Béton.” We attribute the success of our red blend, now in it’s sixth vintage, to the desire of so many to have an intriguing and food friendly, yet never overly heavy wine as a mainstay at the dinner table. With the winemaking for the “Béton,” we independently fermented most of the components, including two carbonic fermentations (Methven Gamay and Johan Pinot Noir in stainless) and three other fermentations with varying whole cluster components (Serra Cabernet Franc and Serra Côt, as well as the anchor Quady Cabernet Franc) to create a balance between the fruity carbonic wine with more nuanced and finessed traditional fermented wine. For the all the lots, we utilized spontaneous fermentation or a pied de cuve buildup from the native flora in each vineyard. Each of the ferments were fairly lengthy (with the exception of the Côt) and lasted about 25-35 days on the skins, with the wines being pressed off ranging from early to late October. Per the name of this of this Loire style red, all of the parts were blended post pressing and aged in concrete (AKA Béton), including our new 975 gallon concrete tank, affectionately named “Big Bertha.” We are very excited about the 2017 Division-Villages “Béton” blend., perhaps the most unique yet. The Cabernet Franc from Quady was definitely impacted by the southern Oregon wildfires, AKA vintage “terroir,” adds a complexity and depth not seen before. The wine demonstrates rich black fruit, classic pyrazines and an almost Mezcal like smokiness.. The palate is brooding yet fresh and mineral rich with gorgeous dark berries across the midpalate. We are excited by how well the Béton is drinking now, but anticipate this vintage to need some time for all elements to find harmony.
In addition to the wines above we will be offering a PRESALE on the following wines:
Division Chardonnay ‘Trois’ Johan Vineyard, Willamette Valley 2016 – $38.99/33.15PRESALE
Division Pinot Noir ‘Trois’ Temperance Hill Vineyard, Ella-Amity Hills 2015 – $44.99/38.24PRESALE
Division Pinot Noir ‘Cinq’ Armstrong Vineyard, Applegate Valley 2015 – $37.99/32.29PRESALE
***tasting free with purchase of $10 or more per guest***