Sunday, August 30, 2015

the fall wines are here!!

-- Brian's fall release letter --

Howdy from western Oregon!

We hope this finds you well and enjoying the last days of summer! I am writing you today to let you know that our single bottlings of 2013 Pinot noir are now available as well as two ‘whites’ from 2014, 6 wines total!  And to share all the goings on since I last wrote. Per normal we have been busy, welcoming so many of you to our little corner of earth, selling our wines and introducing animals, projects, and of course the new winery to old and new friends/customers alike.

Summer of 2013
The 2013 growing season resulted in grapes that were deceptively ripe – the metric commonly associated with ripeness ‘brix’ or measure of sugar, never materialized.  What happened? The summer of 2013 was beautiful, a good sleeping summer I overheard someone describe it. It never got too hot or too cool, perfect for ripening grapes, and that is exactly what happened.  However, September was exceptionally cool, so the normal accumulation of sugar that happens as the grapes finish maturing – didn’t.  So we had ripe fruit without a lot of sugar.  This translates into wines that have wonderful fruit, almost transparent tannins and for our fall release range in alcohol from 11.2 to 11.8.
We have begun to show the wines here at the farm as we have begun to sell out of the spring wines and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.  I chose not to chapetalize (add sugar, both legal and common) because I thought the fruit was complete – it needed nothing.  This was a gamble that I believe has paid off – the wines are delicious and yet fall below the ‘acceptable’ level of alcohol of 12%.  These wines are charming companions with food and we hope they find their way to your table.
The 2013’s we released in the spring have gathered considerable accolades, 90+, from the usual suspects. These fall wines were made with the same care and gentle handling.  The fall wines range in production number from 136 to 211 cases.  This is not a lot of wine so please don’t hesitate if you are interested in buying these wines.  That being said we did make significantly more Willamette Valley Pinot noir and chardonnay, so we do still have some of those wines available.
Fall 2015 Release — The Wines 
2013 Wirtz Vineyard Pinot noir –this was the first year we were entrusted with the farming of the entire Wirtz vineyard by brother and sister Ben Hawes and Megan Lockheart.  With new ventures comes excitement and enthusiasm as well as learning by experience – fortunately the 40 plus year old vines knew exactly what to do and we picked our first fruit of the vintage from the vineyard September 18.  I was duly impressed with what came into the winery and harvest began in earnest from all our other sites, allowing us to avoid the downpour of late September. The resulting wine is beautiful – heady fruit and spice aromas lead to more of the same on the palate with a satisfying finish that begs you to take another sip, or another bite. Clare continues to draw fabulous labels, hazelnuts for 2013. 157 cases produced, 48 dollars.

2013 Cattrall brothers Vineyards Pinot noir – this is our fifth year working with Tom and Bill Cattrall, and the same block from Tom’s vineyard which sits high in the Eola Amity hills and is one of the coolest sites we work with.  The own rooted wadensville clone has been organically farmed from the beginning. We process the fruit with a hands off approach that would allow us to label as such with the exception of SO2.  We add a little after fermentation is complete, an amount that would be allowable under EU organic rules, but not in the US. 
All that aside – this is a compelling wine – red fruit and spice run from beginning to end all on a frame of 11.2%.  As we have begun to introduce this wine to many here at the farm the responses have been enthusiastic and positive, and yes it is true, when we run out of wine from a previous release we pre- release here at the farm.  Bill and Tom have an amazing array of equipment that continue to inspire drawings by Clare, this year a different persepective of their grape delivery truck. 136 cases produced, 48 dollars.

2013 Sunnyside Vineyard Pinot noir – visiting Lucy and Tom is always a refreshing experience. They take utmost care of their vineyard, deliberating course of action with equal parts education and experience – they have been tending the same vines for over thirty years. The evidence of their work and care is clear – not only in the appearance of the vineyard but the quality of fruit they produce and subsequently the wines. 2013 is no exception, the wine is substantial with all the trappings of past vintages, dark fruit, firm but elegant tannins and fullness yet weightless, all at 11.5%.  We enjoy watching chickens here at the farm, we call it chicken TV. Clare has attempted to capture one moment of that here.  211 cases produced, 48 dollars.

2013 Yamhill Carlton Pinot noir – this is a new offering from us and represents the best of what our neighborhood produces. Our property is within the YC AVA and our hope is that the fruit from our property will eventually end up comprising a portion of this wine, although that means we need to get off our asses and plant some vines. For 2013 however the wine is comprised solely from the fruit of the Coats and Whitney vineyard farmed impeccably by Daniel Fey and the team at Results Partners. My two favorite clones are planted on the 7 acre vineyard, pommard and wadensville and a mix of new and used French oak barrels along with some whole cluster fermentation make a distinctive wine. Clare has chosen a theme of Barn drawings for the wine – structures that grace our local landscape and the site of which we cherish. 160 cases produced, 48 dollars.

In contrast to 2013 – 2014 was also a beautiful summer but September was warm and mostly dry, punctuated by a late rain that gave the vines just enough of a drink to finish ripening perfectly.  Our first release of 2014, the Laughing Pig Rose is sold out, but not to worry there more wines to come, our Pinot Gris and Edelzwicker are available now, and are just as gorgeous, both from the Wirtz vineyard. 
2014 Edelzwicker is the same as 2013 – yet different.  For one we bottled it in April but have held on to it until now – something we learned from our first vintage of this wine, 2013, a little time in bottle does wonders and the 14 has proven to be no different. Additionally, while still from the same blocks of Riesling, gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris the ratio of the three is slightly different, there is a little more gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris than Riesling, giving the wine a warm spice component to go with all the floral and fruit components.  Barrel fermented in neutral oak to dryness and malolactic complete and per usual bottled without any filtration or fining.  Pear blossoms (with a little color) adorn the label. 451 cases produced, 28 dollars. 

2014 Pinot gris – we continue to make this wine in the same fashion since 2010.  Five years in we still think that using everything the grape has to offer is best.  Henceforth it is fermented on the skins and stems, the reddish/grayish grape makes an orange wine that explodes with fruit, body and texture and salinity – seafood, especially fattier versions have always been an amazing accompaniment, I fully expect the 2014  version of this wine to hold up its end of the bargain.  Erosion control plants after the construction here at BTF grace the label.   162 cases produced, 32 dollars.

The Farm and Goings On
Spring and summer have been amazing! We have been at BTF now for 9 years this fall, amazing how time flies.  Our team has doubled in the last couple years – Tiffany is moving into year three and does a fantastic job, I am sure many of you have heard from her as she keeps the right wine moving in all the right directions. Jeff has helped us in the winery and farm for just over a year now, we depend on both for their hard work to keep things afloat.

We hosted Outstanding in the Field for the second time July 11 and it was maybe even more inspired than the first.  The weather was perfect, food amazing and staff exceptional.  The wine was OK.  Feeding 160 people at one big outdoor table is no small feat.

We also participated in the International Pinot Noir Celebration as a featured winery at the end of July, it was great to see old and new customers alike, and is a super event.  We poured the Laughing Pig Rosé at Drink pink at Patton valley vineyard to finish the month, also a super fun afternoon focused on rosé.

Thank you to all who have bumped down our dusty road to say hi and buy our wines.  I am truly amazed at the steady stream of people who come to see us.

Thank you and cheers! Brian and Clare

Note to our customers -
And for all you loyal fans out there, we have another exciting announcement: We’ve just upgraded our e-commerce system to a new platform that will help us better manage everything from our mailing list to order fulfillment. 
What this means for you: your customer accounts will be more secure, the wine ordering process will be simpler, and it will be easier for you to manage your account. To get your account up to date, you only need to do one thing: change your password.
If you are a returning customer of ours, go to this page and enter your email address so that we can send you a link for re-setting your password. Please do this before you shop; it’ll make the checkout process much easier for you!

If you're a new customer, you can create a log-in during the checkout process (after you’ve added wine to your cart and proceeded to checkout).

As always, we thank you so much for your patience and support.
click here to see which wines we have in stock or go straight to the online wine shop

Sunday, August 23, 2015

around the farm and winery in august ...

It's been a busy 6 weeks since my last post... I'm sitting here in bed on a Sunday morning - YES sitting in bed- Brian and I have started taking one day off a week -- a day to do what ever we need and want to do with out others here on the farm... we still do 'work' on sunday's but we are just together. We turn to each other several times during our time on the farm on sundays and say 'hey!! there's no body here!"  

Summer is an amazing time of year - we love hosting and sharing all that happens here - but we have discovered we do need a recharge.... each day during the week and Saturday there is winery work, farm work, hosting wine tastings and working with the other members of the big table farm team - tiffany and jeff ... all this gets juggled every day... it's a very full day with about 10 different hats that get switched out very quickly at times. We are getting better and better at navigating how to do that... but re balancing on Sundays is part of making that work... : ) I feel like slapping my self on the forehead and saying well duhhh! ... but hey I'm a slow learner... so here I sit on sunday morning taking a little me time to share the farm in photos : ) thanks for coming along on the journey! It's been 9 years since we came to oregon on a wing and a prayer and what a ride it's been...

In wine news we bottled the 2014 vintage! Brian made some stunning wines in 2014 and we are both very excited about them - the photo above is a barrel that went into the Earth blend this is a new wine for us it's part of two new wines Earth and the Elusive Queen - a tiny production high end pinot and a chardonnay ... we are very excited about these wines there will be more about them when it's time to release them next year! 

 We also did a boatload of hand bottling of all the large format bottles... magnums and three liters! they are fun bottles and we will start to make more magnums available this fall : )

takes a lot of beer to make great wine they say : ) 

We also received some really super press in Wine Spectator  a 92 on our Pelos Sandberg and a 91 on our Chardonnay : )

 I also dug up my cow horns for my biodynamic 500 preparation - it took a little longer this year than expected but smelled great - and I also found this beautiful clay pot that I got in mexico 15 years ago for storing my prep and it's perfect : )   I will mix this and apply it after we get a little further into fall : )

We slaughtered the last cow for the year - thank you Auggie! 

And this is brian's happy place - he's been spending time in his garden and just loving it! last night we had a beautiful dinner all from his garden... sage butter potatoes, beet top salad, green beans with walnuts from wirtz with a little of my honey, btf burgers and a bottle of 2014 Wirtz... it was a dreamy evening with just the two of us.. : )

Speaking of honey  - I did a small collection from one of my hives in the hedge row I left most of the honey for the bees but got some for me : )

Last but not least is the boys! I took them to my friend susan's farm 'belle mare farm' to be part of a three day draft horse seminar being taught by two amazing teamsters - John Erskine and Don Yerian - I shadowed John for the three days and learned so much from him as he worked with the students and my team. The boys were amazing - patient and hardworking... I'm so grateful for my horses they are great companions and teachers

The pigs are getting fat on all the fall fruit ... apples and plums and pears are in full force right now...


and my cowgirlfriend Sarah helped me with the annual castration - shorty and vinny are a little less of a man but they survived the process with out too much stress : )  thanks as always! sarah! love you girl!

 we are seeing a lot of smoke this week from the east oregon fires.. I wish all the fire crews safety and thanks for there work out there to protect people, livestock and there homes and habitat. 

be well and remember to take time to recharge - and do a little bit everyday towards your dream.