This tiny three-acre vineyard at the top of the Eola-Amity Hills AVA was originally the Cattrall family farm, founded more than 100 years ago. Brothers Bill and Tom took over the farm from their uncle when Bill returned from serving overseas in the U.S. Army. While abroad, Bill was exposed to more wine. And when back in Oregon, he realized that the climate had many similarities to great European grape going regions. So, they decided to try their hand at growing pinot noir.
Bill and Tom planted vines in 1980, establishing the first organically certified vineyard in Oregon. The vines there are a mixture of Wadenswil and Upright Pinot Noir clones. To this day, the brothers farm everything themselves. The site rests at 750 feet of elevation. It’s cool weather, volcanic Jory soils, and late ripening clones make it an ideal source for sparkling wine.
Lonesome Rock Ranch
Planted by Scott Baldwin of DePonte in 2012, this incredibly beautiful vineyard is located deep within the Oregon coast range at a high elevation of 700 ft. This cool location helps it ripen several weeks later than lower, warmer sites, which we hope will be perfect for sparkling wine.
Lonesome Rock Ranch has a large selection of heritage clones planted. These are clones which were originally brought to California in suitcases during the early days of U.S. wine production. They tend to be slower ripening and hold more acid compared to the more prominent Dijon clones, which were selected for their early and consistent ripening characteristics. While a bit more difficult to work with, we hope that this site will yield sparkling wines of outstanding character for our 2018 vintage.
Eola Amity Hills
Every now and then you taste a wine that completely surprises and amazes you. When one day Ken Pahlow from Walter Scott poured us a new Chardonnay they were producing, we knew had to know more. With it’s intense flavors and complexity, it became a mission to see it in sparkling form. Shortly after, we were in touch with Craig Williams, and his son Gavin, the forces behind X-Novo and Kindred vineyards.
Planted in the Eola Amity hills, Kindred, like other vineyards there, is built on a foundation of higher elevations, Van Duzer winds, and volcanic soils. Beyond this amazing site, what sets Kindred apart is its focus on clonal diversity. Each block is co-planted a large number of clones in each block, yielding amazing complexity in the wines. The block of Chardonnay that will go into our Kindred Blanc de Blancs includes more than 15 different clones.
The vineyard itself is farmed by Stirling Fox. Stirling brings a holistic approach to the vineyard, farming it sustainably, without the use of herbicides.
Even though this wine is years away from release, you can already start to taste the layers of flavors that this site brings. We’re excited to be working with Craig and Gavin, and cannot wait to release these wines in a few years.
Moe Momtazi is a real life legend. He famously escaped Iran shortly after the hostage crisis on a motorcycle with his pregnant wife. Making their way through Pakistan, Spain and eventually to the US, they filed for political asylum.
In 1997 they bought a 400+ acre ranch, where they started to plant vines. They farm completely biodynamically and are biodynamically certified. Today they make their own wine for Maysara, as well sell grapes to producers like us.
For our 2017 Momtazi Carbonic Rose, we worked with a selection of vines called the “Pinot Patch.” This is a patch of clones all mixed together, which we believe yields more complex wines.
We used a technique called carbonic maceration to create this wine. The whole clusters and berries were put in a bin and covered with CO2 for seven days before pressing. This technique prompts the berries to ferment inside their skins, even before you press them. This fun but complex wine brings together flavors of strawberry and raspberry with an intriguing herbal background.
Van Duzer Corridor
Namaste Vineyards is the home of the oldest Chardonnay plantings in the newly minted Van Duzer Corridor AVA. This AVA is named for the opening in the Oregon Coast Range mountains that enables cool winds from the ocean to blow over the vines each night. These winds help create delicate wines, with intense acidity.
Originally planted in 1980, the site was bought by Dave Masciorini in 2002. Since then, he has hired Jessica Cortell, who manages some of the top sites in the valley, to farm the site sustainably and care for the old vines.
Because of the cool weather and old vines, the grapes here barely ripen in time for still wine, which made us realize this would be a perfect place for sparkling. We end up harvesting at the same time many others are harvesting for still wine. This helps creates the intense flavor which underly our Namaste Blanc de Blanc.
Winter’s Hill has been in the Gladhart family for three generations. Originally purchased for a family farm in 1961, the site turned out to be prime territory and smack in the center of where many of the Willamette Valley’s top wines come from.
Their journey as a vineyard and winery started when Peter and Emily Gladheart planted 20 acres of vines in 1990, and they are now joined by their son Russell in the family business. The family has been careful to maintain the vineyard in a sustainable way, and care for the surrounding ecosystem. They have been LIVE certified since 1999.
The site is a cool one: at 700 feet up, it is several degrees cooler than the valley floor. During the winter, you can often find inches of snow in the vineyard, while the rest of the valley is clear.
We purchase Pinot Blanc fruit from Winter’s Hill. While not traditionally thought of as a sparkling wine grape, it is actually one of the seven official grapes that can be used to produce Champagne.
The Pinot Blanc so far has produced some of our favorite sparkling from Oregon. It has a strong backbone of minerality, a finish that goes on for days, and beautiful floral and pear notes.
We’re excited to be working with such a great family and great vineyard.