Happy almost spring from wet western Oregon! and Happy ‘March Forth’!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.