Monday, March 4, 2019

Happy Spring 2019

Happy almost spring from wet western Oregon! and Happy ‘March Forth’!
thanks to Doug Wilder for this cover shot of PDWR
thanks to Doug Wilder for this cover shot of PDWR
We are doing great here, a little soggy but happy the days are getting longer and spring is around the corner. We took some time off this winter but are back to work now and have some great wines to share with you!  Not only a new vintage but two new wines as well that we are really excited about!  All the animals are good, the garden feeds us (barely this year) and we are taking steps forward on the vineyard project.
The 2017 vintage was warm with large clusters and berries, much like 2015.  Thankfully September cooled with a little rain and allowed grapes to finish ripening at a slower pace, giving us a harvest that was relatively relaxed, despite the size.  I was even able to give people days off at the height of busyness, a first for me.  I am really happy with the resulting wines.  This was our fourth vintage in our own winery and I feel like we have settled in nicely, with a good flow and understanding of how the building contributes to the winemaking.
Today we have the 2017 version of our Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and Pelos Sandberg vineyard Pinot Noir on offer and two new wines!  The Wild Bee will take the place of our Willamette Valley chardonnay in name only, with a very different label and a price that will convince you to drink more Oregon chardonnay – I am sipping some now as I write!  We also have a new syrah to offer as well, we started purchasing fruit from Rich Funk’s vineyard in the Rocks District of Milton Freewater, part of the Walla Walla AVA , but in Oregon.  We have had an affinity for syrah for a long time, so we are excited to have it back in our line up again!
The farm, garden, and vineyard project
All the graziers are in the barn this time of year eating grass hay from the neighborhood, we think the AI missed a couple of the cows but we are think we are still ahead of last year.  During the wet months the pastures are too fragile for grazing, the regrowth is slow  - and they all – cows horses and Goateo seem really happy in the dry and warm barn.  Clare got a new flock of laying hens in the fall who have just started laying – so we are back in eggs! We have moved the chicken bus more times in the last two months than the previous two years  and have been diligent with the electric fence so have thwarted whoever took out the last flock.  Henrietta and Reina were dispatched end of December  and are enjoyed now as sausage, chops, bacon with prosciutto hanging.  Their replacements should arrive early spring.  Bob has continued to endear himself and is probably more house cat than barn, we’ll see what happens when it warms up.  Despite the amount of time he seems to spend sleeping in front of the fire with the dogs he leaves us regular gifts to demonstrate his worthiness.
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On the vineyard front Dan, Jesus and crew have nearly completed vineyard and livestock fencing – both will dramatically change how we will be able to manage and utilize our pastures and property.  This is something we have long dreamed of and barely accomplished, until now.  The moratorium of no new species (goats/sheep) will be lifted once the fence is complete.  I expect Clare to quickly add to the menagerie. 
Yours truly suffers from analysis paralysis and has not ordered any vines, so planting date is still TBD, but we still have prep work and layout to do once the fencing is complete.  More fun news is this year is that the truffles seem to be prolific and very fragrant this year – we have foraged a few times these past weeks and filled our pockets in only a short while.  I was so busy last august that I didn’t have much time to get things planted in the garden, so we are eating leeks, mustard greens and some turnip raab at the moment, of course fortified by trips to the grocery store.  Hopefully I will find a few more moments this year to get a few more things in the ground.
Our friend and videographer Jeremy Fenski  put together a remarkable video that makes both Clare and me seem much more suave than we really are – the reality of all of this is that we could not do even half of what we have accomplished without the amazing community of people around us that make what we, and we all do possible, from the guys in the vineyards, the people we hire in the cellar, office, cleaners, our garbage and recycling drivers, the drivers who bravely bounce down our gravel road, the restaurant people who frame the moments surrounding our wine, both in the kitchen and on the floor, and of course you, our customers who make it all of it possible with the purchase and enjoyment of our wine. Thank you!
In early December Clare took a short sabbatical in eastern Oregon to paint, she is so amazingly able to plan and then implement and get things done.  She created some great paintings and still has some more work to do, but plans to show all of them here April 20, I hope you can join us. 
The amount of press we have received in the past year has been nothing short of amazing, I am honored and humbled.  So many nice reviews, photographs, 4 top 100 lists! Two features in Wine Spectator, The Prince of Pinots all American 2x’s over and Winery of the year by PWDR.  It is all on our website for when you have a moment. - see press here-
Ok – the wines!
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2017 Chardonnay – The Wild Bee! The Wild Bee represents a shift in our chardonnay program. As I alluded earlier, this wine will take the place of our Willamette Valley chardonnay – only in name, label and price!  Same vineyard sources, same winemaking, same barrels.  We love chardonnay, both making and drinking it, but the reality of the moment says that we needed a more accessible wine (lower price) to allow us to continue making our current production – in addition to the Wild Bee we have added two AVA blends, Eola Amity and Yamhill Carlton, that will be released in the fall, exploring what more specific place does for chardonnay.  The Wild Bee is a combination of all 6 sites of chardonnay that we work with and is a fantastic representation of Willamette Valley chardonnay for 2017.  We hope you enjoy it, lots of it!  For the first time we have chosen another artist’s drawing to dress The Wild Bee, someone whose work both Clare and I have admired for quite a while.  Thank you April Coppini!
525 cases produced, 28 dollars/bottle and of course if you buy a case the shipping is included!
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2017 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
I know that our pigs always adorn our Willamette Valley pinot but this wine feels like the tail that wags the dog – it has taken on a life of its own with each vintage and I feel like 2017 is no different in that regard.  It is quaffable if that is what you want, but if you slow down and take a step back, it has most everything wine should have, fruit, acid, tannin, sweetness all in harmony and balance.  When delicious is the first word that comes to mind. I smile, bow my head and say thank you and know that I have done my job well.
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Henrietta and Reina eating BTF windfall pears grace the label. 2509 cases produced, 45 dollars/bottle, and shipping is on the house when you buy a case 

2017 Pelos Sandberg Pinot Noir
– I met Don Sandberg when we first moved here in 2006 and we quickly became good friends.  He began selling us fruit in 2010 and we look forward to working with him and our friendship for many years to come.  He is an amazing farmer, so diligent, attentive and intuitive, that year in and year out he delivers the most amazing fruit, which as long as I don’t fuck it up, makes some pretty good wine.  2017 is no different.  Over the years I have gotten to know the blocks we buy pretty well too and when I taste the wine I feel the sense of place that comes through.  On your next visit to the Willamette Valley I recommend giving Don a call/email to set up an appointment to try the wine he makes from his own vineyard – Iota Cellars, and you will begin to understand what I mean by sense of place.  The 2017 label is Clare’s drawing of Don’s work boots, honoring the long hours he spends growing some of the best fruit in the Willamette Valley.
242 cases, 62 dollars/bottle.  Complimentary shipping on cases orders!
2016 Syrah - the Rocks District of Milton Freewater – I think the ability of power and finesse in the same glass has allured me to syrah since my first introduction over 20 years ago.  I also remember the photograph in Barbara Neyers’ office of Vieux Telegraphe vines growing seemingly out of just rock being mesmerizing and profound.  So when the opportunity arose to work with fruit from the Rocks District of Milton Freewater, I jumped.  Rich Funk of Saviah Cellars agreed to sell us some fruit from his meticulously farmed estate vineyard.  He has continued to trust us in 2017 and 18 and I hope beyond.  I have done my best to capture both the power and the finesse, plus a little fruit and some spice.  The knife, fork and spoon have been replaced by an iconic vine surrounded by stones.
196 cases, 48 dollars a bottle.  Shipping included when you buy a case!

We are scheduled to bottle the 2017 Laughing Pig Rose on April 12.. We will let you know ASAP when it is ready to go, along with the house favorites, Earth and the Elusive Queen.
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Thank you again for continuing to buy, drink and share our wines.  From the Big Table to your table, cheers!  Brian and Clare   
To read more on the wines, click here!
If your super busy - please let us help you order wine in whatever way is EASIEST for YOU! We are happy to assist. Call, email - Clare and Laura are available to make sure you get the wines you love! If you want to reach out please just send an email to admin(at)bigtablefarm.com or call 503.662.3129 - and we'll follow up with YOU and get your order!
Wine orders will be shipped towards the end of March early April, when temperatures across the country are a little more consistent.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

end of summer - begining of fall 2018 release

Howdy from the Willamette valley!

Clare and I have had a great summer with so many things going on and buoyed by all of your support and enthusiasm for what we do and make.  Thank you to all of you who enjoy our wines and Clare’s art, we are truly grateful and all of what we do would be impossible without you.

We have many longtime and fabulous customers, but there are two in particular I would like to recognize today because they gave us a couple gems of wisdom that Clare and I repeat regularly as we try to steer our lives and business in the best direction.  We are not trained or by nature business people, I spent ten years in Napa learning how to make wine before we moved to Oregon in 2006 to start our crazy project, and Clare has been painting since she was a little girl and studied graphic design and worked at that for 20 years until the winery began to pay for itself.  Winemaking and art we know, running the business that goes with those, well, by the seat of our pants might best describe.

Ewen McKechnie lives in the San Francisco bay area as he likes to say and is originally from Scotland.  He is a rugby teammate of my uncle, and as soon as he heard what we were up to he began calling us asking to buy wine – before we even had any to sell!  He still calls us regularly to order wine and has been with us every step of the way, always encouraging.  During a moment of difficult decision making he proclaimed that we needed to continue “onward through the fog”.  This idea of pushing ahead into the unknown is a daily act of courage, but as Clare and I make big and small decisions, we decide and then move “onward though the fog”.  “Onward through the fog” is repeated often by Clare and me as a way of breathing confidence into our plotted course as we venture into the unknown of each day.  Thank you Ewen!

“Just get started” is the second phrase that we often repeat as a motivation for both big and seemingly small projects and challenges.  This came from Peggy Dark, a successful entrepreneur, we met her briefly a number of years ago and as we were desperately trying to make our business work.  Clare asked her what advice she could give us, and the three words of “just get started” have become part of our lexicon.  We quickly realized that taking the first steps toward anything can be the most challenging, but once you have some momentum it is easier to keep going.  “Just get started” is our regular motivational cheer, whether it is cleaning up the kitchen after a busy day of hosting or preparing to embark on a new project – like planting a vineyard.  Thank you Peggy!
So yes! That is our exciting news – we have broken ground on planting vineyard on our property, behind the winery.  This has been part of our vision from the very beginning.  It is a big project for us, a little daunting on top of everything else, and expensive.  We have chosen a great team of people to help us as we ‘just get started’.  The process will take at least three years before we see any fruit and then at another year to 18 months to wine in a bottle.  We look forward to the day we can share those efforts with you.  Onward through the fog!





Other farm news

We just had our one and only calf of the year last week, so our initial attempt at artificial insemination was only 17% successful but at lest we avoided the rodeo scenario of the first attempt, and we have learned and made some changes that will hopefully make this year’s attempt in the coming weeks more fruitful.  Clare is now quite the beekeeper with currently 5 hives, some of which are stronger than others, and she is definitely able to take some honey, which is great.  Unfortunately she is still trying to figure out how to extract the honey from the comb efficiently, which to my chagrin means the kitchen is a perpetual state of sticky – the floor, doorknobs, utensils etc.  So I look forward to the process being completed.  With all the busyness of spring and summer my garden suffered a little bit.  I still have lots growing but not as much as I would like.   Hopefully I will find a moment to put in all the brassicas that we enjoy throughout the winter.  Of course we have a couple pigs to help us clean up all the leftovers and windfall fruit – Henrietta and Reyna.  They are hugely entertaining, both as pigs and as the labels they will adorn, and of course as all the deliciousness the will provide.  Our laying flock has been reduced in numbers significantly by a coyote, plans are in the works to get a new flock and to fortify their living quarters.  Clementine, Levi, Goatio and Bob the cat still consider themselves as greeters although both Clementine and Goatio are slowing down as they age, leaving Levi and Bob to pick up the slack.

The Wines!

We have some great wines to offer today!  These wines represent my very best effort that each vineyard can produce.  They all have their own quirks and characteristics that make them unique and delicious in their own way.  I handle all the fruit that comes into the winery with equal diligence.  I spend a great deal of time tasting the fruit and the resulting wine from each vineyard, and each barrel so that I can put together what I think are the best and most delicious representation each site can offer.  Please enjoy, and remember, Case shipping is on us!


2016 Wirtz Vineyard Pinot noir. Sadly this is our last vintage of pinot from the Wirtz vineyard.  The economic realities of leasing and farming an old vineyard and the time spent managing it no longer made sense.  The bright side is this last wine is delicious and the void created has allowed us to focus on our own vineyard project.  I will miss having a piece of history in our cellar and the wine that it produced, please enjoy this last effort. 203 cases produced, wild cherries on the label, 62 dollars per bottle.

2016 Sunnyside Vineyard Pinot noir,  this is 50 minutes from big table farm making it our farthest flung site, but the great fruit that Luci and Tom coax out of their old Wadensville vines is amazing and I do my best to capture that in the bottle.  326 cases produced, hen and chick on the label, 62 dollars per bottle, Case shipping is on us!

2016 Cattrall Brothers Vineyard Pinot noir, also Wadensville clone planted in their old vineyard, but very different aspect and elevation make for a very distinct wine year in and year out. 184 cases, vineyard truck on the label, 62 dollars per bottle.

2016 Yamhill-Carlton District Pinot noir – the same two vineyards as the last two years, Kalita and Coats and Whitney make up this AVA blend, combining to show the best our neighbor hood can produce.  Big Table Farm is one step closer to being able to make a contribution to this wine! 315 cases produced, Bernard’s barn on the label, 62 dollars per bottle, and of course, case shipping is on us!

2017 Pinot Gris, also sourced from here in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, and made in the same style I have always done, fermented on the skins to create a wine that is copper colored and more importantly has structure and body to make it stand up to food, particularily seafood. 135 cases produced, ancient and invasive on the label, 32 dollars a bottle.  And yes, case shipping is still on us!

As I write we are in the midst of preparing to bottle the 2017 vintage and anticipating 2018.  We have had a warm growing season and I look forward to making more wine! It has been great to see so many of you at all the events we have participated in over the summer, and we look forward to seeing more of you in the fall, at Farralon for Pinotfest and Clare will be traveling to New York for the WS NY wine experience.


Clare and I consider ourselves so fortunate to have so many great customers, and love knowing that our work is cherished, shared and enjoyed all across the country and even in a few places around the world.  Thank you again for all your enthusiasm for our wines, and of course, don’t forget, free shipping on Case orders!


From our table to yours, cheers! Brian and Clare



To get right to the wines, click here!
 

Note on ordering wine: we respect YOUR time.

If you're super busy - please let us help you order wine in whatever way is EASIEST for YOU! We are happy to assist. Call, email - Clare and Laura (the newest member of our team!) are always available to make sure you get the wines you love! If you want to reach out please just send an email to admin(at)bigtablefarm.com or call 503.662.3129 - and we'll follow up with YOU and get your order!

Wine orders will be shipped end of September or early October, when temperatures across the country are a little more consistent, we will follow up with your order's shipping details.

thank you all for being part of this adventure with us!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Royalty, Dirt and Joy from the farm


Greetings from ALL at Big Table Farm!

We bottled our 2017 Laughing Pig Rose last week and are thrilled to have a little more to go around than last year.  Our rose bottling and release has been happening since 2007 (although not every year) and is an annual marker in time for us, a mid spring ritual that promises the warmth of summer while still in the midst of what this year seems to be a perpetually rainy spring.  Also on offer are our two barrel select wines, the Elusive Queen (Chardonnay) and Earth (Pinot noir).  I continue to joke, but in all seriousness if you don’t buy these wines we will (and we do) drink them ourselves.  They represent less than 5% of our production but hopefully capture all of the best magic possible from the vintage.  I do the heavy lifting of tasting all the barrels and narrowing, then clare helps me select the final barrels that end up in Earth and the Elusive Queen, so they truly do represent our taste, and our very best! Please remember ground shipping is included on case orders.



Since our last missive in early March only a little has changed here on the farm.  We have had a cool and rainy spring so the cows are still in the barn, and noisy as hell, as they are ready to be outside.  Although the grass is starting to grow, the pastures are still too wet to let them out.  Clare has ordered her chicks, both layers and broilers, scheduled to arrive April 19, via US post… for real!  The post office will call us at 6AM to tell us the chicks have arrived, many of our neighbors do this too because when you go into the post office the noise of all the chirping day old chicks is deafening!  I have started some of my seeds for the summer garden and still have more on the docket, once I get my greenhouse fixed.  Levi and Clementine chased a squirrel into it and blew out the whole back end – huzza – there is always something!  Bob the cat is still with us and has started to leave us “gifts” on the front porch.  Goateo is also still with us and Clare’s horses are good too, although apparently Hummer is almost 30 and only has three teeth, so now gets special mushy senior horse feed. I only know this because Clare has been traveling quite a bit and their care (read scooping poop) falls to me when she is gone.  New pigs are chosen and should be here any day now.  We have had several suggestions for names but it seems only fair that we should meet them before they are christened.



We are still amazed and so grateful for the success of our Oregon adventure.  Thank you so much for buying, drinking and sharing our wines. 

We are humbled and honored to be part of your daily meals and celebrations alike.  
Cheers! Brian and Clare



To get right to the wines, click here!
Don’t forget – ground CASE shipping is on us!
For our Friends in the  Chicago area we will be in Chicago May 14-15 for Pinot in the city  http://willamettewines.com/pinot-in-the-city-chicago/

Happy Spring from big table farm

Happy almost spring!  I hope this finds you and yours well – we are doing great here in western Oregon, the winter has been relatively mild and we were able to take a vacation in January.  Thank you ALL for your continued

support and enthusiasm and most importantly - buying, drinking and sharing our wines!

When Clare and I started this in 2006 we could not imagine having such great customers and all the great press that we continue to receive, with two standouts being the New York Times last fall and the current March issue of the Wine Spectator. Our business is doing well but we have decided to make a significant change and offer complimentary Ground shipping on CASE orders. In the era of Amazon prime we cannot ignore the reality of “free shipping” becoming the norm.  We have heard you and CASE shipping is now included!  Everything else stays the same though and we will leave allocations, clubs, coupons, discounts, etc. to our competitors.  Buy what you want, and when it is gone that means it is really gone- no games here at BTF.  To that end we still have a few of our 15’s left, but what I really want to tell you about are the 16’s that are here today and yet to come.

I am really happy with all the wines we have to offer today – and those to come in early April and then again at the end of August.  The 2016 vintage was warm like 14 and 15 and the 16 Pinots seem to have some of both vintages in them, the structure is similar to the 14’s but the juiciness of the 15’s is there to balance.  Very approachable now but will continue to reward with time.  The Chardonnays are just delightful – vibrant and brimming with stone fruit and richness framed by minerality and acidity.


I continue to make my wine in the same manner as previous vintages, although I do continue to make small adjustments and experiment and learn as any true professional does.  I believe that my skills as a winemaker continue to improve with experience, and my goal of making the best wine that I can is still true.

All the animals are good, we seem to have gone through a few cats though, but we have ended up with Bob, a big orange cat who is very friendly and curious and loves to sneak into the house.  He will most likely say hi if you visit, along with Goatio who is still with us (she is 12 now!).  Despite all her freedom to eat whatever she wants,  she decided this year that the holiday wreathes on the house and winery were tasty snacks.  Levi and Clementine are also good, except they have learned how to open the fridge.  I jury rigged up a lock that we have to use when we leave, otherwise we come home to a mess and no cheese or salami or bacon left cause that is what they go for first.  Clare of course still has her horses that she mostly just rides at the moment because she is busy training for her third degree black belt (the household no hitting rule is firmly in effect).  The cows are happy in the barn this time of year, hopefully 6 are pregnant through our second attempt at artificial insemination.  We bought some cattle handling equipment that made the process a lot smoother, avoiding the rodeo action of the year before.  My garden looks a little beleaguered this time of year but is still giving us kale, brussel sprouts, leeks and celery, and the favas and garlic planted last fall have popped up and hopefully will be good this spring. Also, I am hoping we can take a little bit of asparagus from the crowns that I planted a couple years ago.  Apparently if the beds are properly established they can produce for 20 years or more, fingers crossed!


2016 Willamette Valley Chardonnay – even if this wine is terrible you will still want to buy some because the label is sooo cool – Clare continues to tend her bees which inspires this label – a bee crawling across comb.  I think the wine is pretty good too though.. barrel fermented with just enough new oak to make it interesting, malolactic complete and bottled end of August without any filtration or fining.  2 new vineyards add to the mix this year, Kindred, in the Eola Amity Hills and Arlyn, in the Chehelam mountian AVA,  continuing to make it a true Willamette valley blend.  901 cases, label bee and comb, 45 per bottle - Buy a CASE and the Ground shipping is included!!!


2016 Willamette Valley Pinot noir - some of all 8 of the Pinot vineyards we work with end up in this bottling, making it too a good representation of the Willamette Valley at large.  I think this wine will be as pleasing as past vintages and as I said earlier I think I am getting better at what I do, but I will let you be the judge of that.  Buttercup graces the label – an American Guinea Hog.  They are a super practical pig for us, not too big, do well on kitchen scraps, windfall fruit and just a little grain.  Clare finished Buttercup and Hibiscus on hazelnuts, so we are eagerly looking forward to trying the prosciutto in another 8-9 months.  In the meantime we have lots of other porkyness to keep us fed.  So you might ask does this Pinot go with pork?  You bet! And a whole host of other things – cheese, salmon, kale chips, chicken. Potatoes gratin – etc. etc – the versatility of Pinot Noir is amazing…. This is our largest production wine at 1835 cases, but we do sell it all.  The 15 has been sold out for a few months – so get this one while you can!  Buttercup on the label, 45 per bottle.  Buy a CASE and the Ground shipping is included!!!


2016 Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Pinot noir - Clare found a 2013 version of this wine the other day and brought it out for a Saturday lunch.  It was vibrant, still fresh and full of fruit.  I was quite pleased.  Was it my winemaking or my good friend Don Sandberg’s good farming?  The 2016 is also a solid wine that is pleasing now and will reward in a year or two, if you can resist.  I am pretty sure it is my superior winemaking…. A pair of Don’s vineyard clippers on the label to honor his farming diligence.  285 cases produced, 62 dollars per bottle.  Buy a CASE and the Ground shipping is included!!!
2014 Syrah, Rogue Valley - the warmth of the 2014 vintage is evident in this bottling.  Picked just before the rains came in mid October – there is plenty of dark fruit and richness to complement hearty fare, but enough lithe and zest that it isn’t overpowering.  Syrah has always held a special place in our hearts and this wine holds true. Per usual silverware on the label.  192 cases, 48 dollars per bottle. Buy a CASE and the Ground shipping is included!!!
Don’t forget – CASE shipping is now on us!!
We will be out and about in the next little bit, pouring at the High Museum wine auction in Atlanta March 22-24, then in Chicago for Pinot in the City on May 15, and on July 27-29 we'll be attending IPNC as guests (this is a great event!).
We are scheduled to bottle the 2017 Laughing Pig Rose on April 3 and initial tastings show great promise. We will let you know ASAP when it is ready to go, along with the house favorites, Earth and the Elusive Queen.

 Thank you again, we are so glad you enjoy our wines!  Cheers! Brian and Clare.
To get right to the wines, click here!




Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Brian's Fall Newsletter and wine release


Howdy all! I hope this finds you well.  Summer has always been my favorite time of year, it’s just too damn short.  I like the fall too, but it takes second place to the Oregon summer.  There is something about the energy that comes from the warmth and long days.

Nevertheless we are happy to present you with our fall release wines: Cattrall, Sunnyside Wirtz and Yamhill- Carlton.  I am sipping these wines as I write, each one is a stunner in it’s own way.  This missive comes to you in a precious moment as I prepare for bottling the 2016 wines and before harvest of 2017.

My overarching winemaking goal is and has always been to make delicious wines.  Complexity, age-worthiness and interesting wines are all also important, but if the delicious is not there, then all else is unimportant.  I mostly use my own palate. I taste and try and taste again, from the grapes in the beginning to each of the barrels before blending, sometimes until my mouth can take no more.  Each barrel is evaluated a multitude of times to make sure it finds the right home in one of our wines, or is even cast off. 



We drink all of our wines regularly because we make what we like and what we think is delicious.  I am sure you have all heard the expression “too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the sauce” -  small wineries like ours where the owner is also the winemaker are in a unique position artistically. We have no outside investors, owners or partners looking over our shoulders and the wines can truly reflect a singular focus. I certainly check in with clare to make sure I am not crazy, but she likes my wine too. Perhaps that’s why the labels are so great!  Or maybe it tastes good because the labels are so great!  OK – enough bullshit – here are the wines.


The Wines
I tasted them in this order... so here they are presented to you as well.

2015 Yamhill- Carlton pinot noir. 
Big Table Farm is in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA and the longer I work with fruit from Coats and Whitney and Kalita the more I appreciate the power, depth and dark fruit flavors that grow here.  Both vineyards are represented equally in this blend and maybe someday a little BTF fruit will join in.  We love old barns and the emotions they evoke whether you are viewing across the landscape or protected inside.  Pike Rd Barn on the label .303 cases made. 48 dollars/bottle.

2015 Wirtz Vineyard pinot noir.
These old vines have become my friends. We have made wine since 2010 and started farming it in 2013, so I have walked up and down the rows many times.  I have always loved the spice and red fruit that come out of this vineyard regardless of vintage.  Label isthe flat friendly fir.  368 cases.  48 dollars/bottle

2015 Sunnyside Vineyard pinot noir.
Vibrant and stalwart – this wine is always a reflection of luci and tom and the effort and enthusiasm they put into farming their vineyard.  I am honored that they continue to sell me their fruit, I do my best to let their work shine through.  Always savory, both red and blue fruits make this an irresistible wine.  One of Clare’s chickens on the label.  369 cases.  48 dollars/bottle

2015 Cattrall Brothers Vineyard pinot noir.
Fruit and humus and then some in this wine, definitely a pinot lovers pinot.  Bill and Tom broke the mold.  They have farmed cooperatively and organically since the 70’s.  Again I am honored that they continue to sell me the same rows of own rooted wadensville since 2009.  I always do my best and I think everybody will be happy with the 2015 version.  Tom’s grape delivery truck on the label. 202 cases made.  48 dollars/bottle.

2016 Pinot Gris.
Yet to be bottled this wine is last but not least. (It will be bottled in just a few days) This wine is made in the same fashion as all previous vintages. The fruit is macerated in its own juices until it starts to ferment with its natural yeast. It’s then pressed and finishes both primary and malolactic. The copper color and structure comes from the time spent on the skins. The result is a very full-bodied, luscious wine with lots of fruit and structure, and with the freshness of a white wine. We will rack 5 barrels today and bottle approx 125 cases. Queen Anne’s lace on the label. $32 dollars/bottle





The 2015 vintage was warm, then a little hot, then warm again and then thankfully cool in September.  It was large in terms of the volume of fruit, which was a good thing given the warmth, giving the vigorous vines more work to do and extending the ripening.   The cool September allowed us to make our picking decisions in a thoughtful way.  The resulting wines are beautiful, balanced and of course delicious.  The quintessential Oregon pinot noir in my mind.  They are drinking well now and conceivably for the next 3-5 years.






On the farm

We will be attempting to AI our cows again this year – we have ordered some handling equipment to avoid the rodeo action of 2016.  Curley the bull did the job in the end last year and we had 6 healthy calves hit the ground this spring.  They are so fun to watch cavort, playfulness must be an attribute of all youth.   Our freezer is full of broilers that clare did another amazing job of raising and of course, thanks to shorty the steer, we will be well fed again this year.  My garden still takes more time than it should and of course the book titled “The $64 Tomato”  often rings in my ears.




Clare is still riding and driving her horses, but just realized that hummer is a little older than we thought and only has 4 teeth.  So of course he gets special treatment and I fear a third horse might be in the works.  Levi and Clementine are still happy to perform dog tricks if you have some treats and of course goatio still graces the place (and sometimes guest’s shoes).  And how could I forget the pigs – hibiscus and buttercup are cute as ever, love all the windfall apples and pears and their daily belly rubs. Buttercup will grace the 2016 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir label, and of course will make more delicious pork chops, bacon, prosciutto, lard, sausage, coppa roast… yes, we eat well.

My very best to all of you, thank you for enjoying our wine, making the trek out to see us or taking the time to say hi at an event.  We cannot do this without you.
cheers! Brian and Clare








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If you're super busy - please let us help you order wine in whatever way is EASIEST for YOU! We are happy to assist. Call, email - Clare and Elaine are always available to make sure you get the wines you love! If you want to reach out please just send an email to admin(at)bigtablefarm.com or call 503.662.3129 - and we'll follow up with YOU and get your order!

Wine orders will be shipped end of September or early October, when temperatures across the country are a little more consistent, we will follow up with your order's shipping details.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Royalty, Dirt, Romance and Rose


Howdy!
Spring has sprung here in western Oregon – we are so happy to see all of the blossoms and to have three more wines to offer!  Here are the latest versions of the Laughing Pig Rose, the Elusive Queen and of course, Earth!


The 2016 Laughing Pig Rose – wrongly or rightly I always use the rose as a bellwether for the latter bottlings of the vintage, what does the 2016 LPR say about it’s yet to come relatives?  Bright, intense fruit and good now but good later too… it really reminds me of the first Laughing Pig we made in 2007, which we surprisingly and recently tasted.  Clare found a forgotten case in our cellar (it is crowded, not big) and we apprehensively popped one open and lo and behold – still vibrant and completely drinkable.  I think its best days have passed, but this ten year old rose speaks volumes to maintenance of vitality through gentle handling in the winery.  
The 2016 vintage was almost a repeat of 14 and 15 but with a smaller crop load – smaller berries and clusters meant less saigne (bleeding of the red wine ferments to concentrate flavors) was needed so consequently we made significantly less rose.  This wine has energy and nerve beyond belief, red raspberry and floral on the nose and into the palate that continues for seemingly forever.  Only 129 cases bottled and I am reserving a couple to keep me company in the garden throughout the summer.  Get it while you can, 2016 Laughing Pig Rose, $32 



The Elusive Queen is a passion project for Clare and me – we seem to share a similar palate when it comes to chardonnay and it is really romantic when we can agree on something we want to drink together, that we made together.  Best on days that went a little sideways and a correction is needed, the EQ comes out and wow! – smiles happen and worries disappear.  The Elusive Queen and Earth represent what Clare and I feel epitomizes what we work so hard to achieve and we want to enjoy.  We hope that it raises consciousness in a moment for you too.



Earth is the Pinot noir counterpoint to the Elusive Queen.  I do the heavy lifting of the initial barrel selection with a piece of chalk in my pocket and notes at hand, tasting and marking each barrel.  This process takes over a month to accomplish.  Then Clare comes in and helps with the final decisions that make these wines happen.  They are the best in our cellar.  Any winemaker can/will tell you that there are always a few barrels that stand out from all the others, and we feel that we can skim a little of the cream off the top, for ourselves and those of you share our palates, without dramatically affecting the rest of our blends.  As I have said before – I treat all fruit and fermentations lots equally once they come into the winery.  I do my very best to guide each to dryness and then into barrel, using foot stomping and a simple basket press.  Malolactic is encouraged by maintaining conducive temperature, which is easy in our super efficient building.  Minimal sulpher is maintained and a small adjustment made at bottling.

Some barrels just stand out, some we just like more than others, so we select and blend and bottle to our own taste.  If no one else likes them, no problem, we will happily enjoy them ourselves.  We are so happy with the 2014 versions of these wines, it would be embarrassing to admit how many bottles we consumed ourselves.  We are in the lucky position that we can make what we truly enjoy, as Clare and I are solely responsible, and therefore free to make wines we chose.
The labels are wacky but beautiful, you will have to ask Clare what they signify.

2015 Elusive Queen Chardonnay, 119 cases, $85 bottle
2015 Earth Pinot noir, 117 cases, $105 bottle

I hope you have already popped a few corks of the 15’s we have just made available, Willamette Valley and Pelos Sandberg Pinot noir and Willamette Valley Chardonnay.  If you liked these then Earth, and the Elusive Queen should please as well, and hopefully even more!  All of the above are available on our website.

We have thoroughly enjoyed the 14 versions of these wines and we are thrilled to be able to present the 2015 versions to you!  We hope that the enthusiasm the 2014 EQ and Earth (both sold out) received will extend to the 15’s.  We have started to drink them now, and like all our other 15’s they have surpassed my expectations.  I am still stunned by what they have evolved into.

Thank you again for continuing to enjoy our wine, we love what we do and are so grateful for your continued support.  Cheers from our table to yours! Brian and Clare