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.
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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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 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.