Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Presenting Our first 2010 wines!!!

Hello to all from Brian

We hope this finds you well, having enjoyed a fabulous summer and ready to try some of our new wines! As summer winds down and we look forward to harvest we are excited to share the first of our 2010’s with you.

We had a wet spring (even the native Oregonians were complaining) that eventually gave way to gorgeous summer. Our July 2nd event with Outstanding in the Field here at big table farm was surreal. Nephew Zander helped whip the place into shape, the weather could not have been better and the food was exquisite – thanks to Ned Ludd and the OSIF crew! And to all who joined us for that magical evening!

We are eagerly looking forward to participating in the Oregon truffle festival the last weekend of January 2012, if you are available please come join us, it promises to be amazing!

Thanks to all who have made their way out to say hi – we always enjoy the visits! We are eagerly putting all in place in preparation for harvest, keeping our fingers crossed for more nice weather. If you are in the neighborhood please let us know and we will be happy to taste some wine and show you what we are up to. If you are out for the thanksgiving weekend be sure to include us in your itinerary, please stop by and try our new wines!

Farm news –

Clementine’s pup Levi is no longer a puppy, he is HUGE- 9 months and 90+ pounds, not what we were expecting. He is however a very sweet dog and after the initial excitement of meeting you his manners do get better. We had two bull calves and one heifer calf born this spring, Freddie, Jessie and June (named after our recently dearly departed friend) Thanks to ideas from Kevin Chambers we have figured out an ingenious and simple way to compost the poop from Clare’s horses – consequently our veggie garden is doing remarkably well. We also have discovered dung beetles in the cow poop! Very exciting! I will get Clare to take some poop pics and post them on her blog. For next year’s calves we have borrowed ‘Curley’ an Irish Dexter bull (picture’s on Clare’s blog, he’s impressive!) from fellow/mentor/better grass farmers Sean and Jerre Dodson. We picked up Curley mid August so if he has done his job we should start seeing more calves (hopefully 4!) next spring. Broilers are in the freezer and Don and Roger (pigs) are also on ice and in the process of becoming ham and bacon. They were some of the best looking pigs we have had here (immortalized on the Willamette Valley pinot label!). Clare butchered our half of Don at Portland Culinary Workshop, I am looking forward to some bacon!

Honey! Laura and Clare harvested honey from the first hive that Laura brought out last spring – the hive made it through the winter and thrived this summer – producing honey for us and leaving enough to get the bees through this coming winter. Our kitchen was sticky from top to bottom after they collected, but the results are stupendous, bright, floral and not cloying (must be all the weeds we have growing around here!) Clare continues to work with her team and they are finally proving to be somewhat useful, between the compost and dragging a few things around I’ll let her keep them for another little while.

The wine!

2010 was the coolest summer in 50 years capped by a wet September, BUT.… October was amazing! Sunny days and cool nights gave us just what we needed to ripen at the last minute. Harvest was crazy- it started and finished in a matter of a few days. The wines have been exciting from the beginning - open and accessible with fruit and amazing spice but still retaining a core of acidity and tannins that will keep them interesting well into the future.
We have continued to source fruit from the same vineyards as last year (Resonance, Johan, Cattrall brothers, Brooks and White hawk) and added a couple more that we think have made fantastic wine – the Pelos Sandberg vineyard in the Eola Amity hills and Wirtz vineyard just north of Forest Grove, both bottled as single vineyards. We have decided to release just three wines that are showing well now (despite their youth) after much tasting and deliberation. The Brooks Riesling and Resonance vineyard Pinot noir will make their debut just before Thanksgiving.

2010 Pinot gris Wirtz vineyard – unless you have seen the actual Pinot gris fruit you wouldn’t guess that the grapes are a rosy grey (gris) color when ripe. We have decided to utilize this aspect of the grape to make a wine that is a little bit different than most. The grapes were gently fermented on their skins for a brief time to add some color and texture to the wine, and then pressed and finished fermenting to dryness in neutral french oak barrels to soften and round out the wine. The results are a very complex wine that has characteristics of both a white and the striking tannins of a red. Orange peel, watermelon, wet asphalt greet you, the rich pallet of red fruit and spice is framed by firm tannins and balanced acidity. This wine, as well as the rest of our ten’s, is definitely a food wine. Bone dry, malolactic complete and bottled unfined and unfiltered. 125 cases, 28 dollars
Label: Orchard and Fescue grass of big table farm

2010 Willamette Valley Pinot noir – a slightly larger production than last year and more contributing vineyards have made this wine very approachable now – it has great fruit and spice that carries into a rich mid-palate, more spice, fruit and cola linger and keep me coming back for more. It is a very complete wine. Bottled to 203 cases, same price as last year. 38 dollars
Label: Don and Roger of big table farm

2010 Pelos Sandberg vineyard Pinot noir – I joke that Don Sandberg knows each one of his vines by name. Don spends more time in his vineyard than any one else I know, he works with the crews and looks over their shoulders and shows them exactly what he wants. Don epitomizes the saying that the best fertilizer is the farmer’s footsteps, and so when he offered us the opportunity to purchase several acres of his fruit we unhesitatingly said yes! The resulting wine (and label) is a testament to his diligence; ripe red fruits, expansive, lush pallet and a lingering finish of perfect tannins and fruit. Simply delicious. Bottled to 146 cases, 45 dollars -- Label: Don’s hoe

2008 White hawk vineyard Syrah – since this wine was released last spring we have had a few complaints that it is so yummy that the whole bottle was single handedly consumed and we have consequently been blamed for some slight hangovers. Well we aren’t going to stop making the best wine we can, so… I’m not sure what to say other than we still have a few cases left if you want to find out what all the whining is about. 48 dollars

We always enjoy meeting new people, introducing our latest wines and showing what we are up to. And of course catching up with old friends is always a pleasure, so if you are out this way, please let us know! Or we will happily send you some wine – call, email, snail mail, whatever works best and is easiest, we look forward to hearing from you! Cheers! Brian and Clare

You are welcome visit the farm to taste by appointment, or just visit our web site. Yes we are even on Facebook. www.bigtablefarm.com

Hi John!! nice job guessing!!! You got pretty dang close on the pig weights!! where you a farmer and you didn't tell us ; ) - we've got a bottle of Willamette valley with your name on it!!!

cheers! Clare

PS - Don really was the bigger pig - the actual weights on the pigs were 288#'s for roger and 306#'s for don -- John Lewis is our winner and get's a bottle of Willamette Valley!!! Congrats John thanks for playing...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Back home

Thank you to everyone who has sent there thoughts and prayers this past week. The sadness of my dad's passing last week was sweetened by the amazing family time that came as a result - I haven't felt this close to my siblings and mom in years. Brian took care of the farm while I was gone with the help of Milena a young woman from Germany who is staying with us for a bit.

On a farm note I did slaughter the pigs last week before I left and will be announcing the results to the "who's the bigger pig contest" tomorrow!! : ) Check out my good friend Kathleen's blog story 'roger and me' she documented her journey through buying a pig from me getting to know it and butchering it herself - pretty cool she also involved me in the butchering part so I got to butcher my own as well. It was a great process that I will now be able to offer to next years pork buyers - more on that in the next pig blog post!

So it's back into farm life for me the pace of the farm, animals and daily chores brings my heart so much peace.