Happy almost spring! I hope this finds you and yours well – we are doing great here in western Oregon, the winter has been relatively mild and we were able to take a vacation in January. Thank you ALL for your continued support and enthusiasm and most importantly - buying, drinking and sharing our wines!
When Clare and I started this in 2006 we could not imagine having such great customers and all the great press that we continue to receive, with two standouts being the New York Times last fall and the current March issue of the Wine Spectator. Our business is doing well but we have decided to make a significant change and offer complimentary Ground shipping on CASE orders. In the era of Amazon prime we cannot ignore the reality of “free shipping” becoming the norm. We have heard you and CASE shipping is now included! Everything else stays the same though and we will leave allocations, clubs, coupons, discounts, etc. to our competitors. Buy what you want, and when it is gone that means it is really gone- no games here at BTF. To that end we still have a few of our 15’s left, but what I really want to tell you about are the 16’s that are here today and yet to come.
I am really happy with all the wines we have to offer today – and those to come in early April and then again at the end of August. The 2016 vintage was warm like 14 and 15 and the 16 Pinots seem to have some of both vintages in them, the structure is similar to the 14’s but the juiciness of the 15’s is there to balance. Very approachable now but will continue to reward with time. The Chardonnays are just delightful – vibrant and brimming with stone fruit and richness framed by minerality and acidity.
I continue to make my wine in the same manner as previous vintages, although I do continue to make small adjustments and experiment and learn as any true professional does. I believe that my skills as a winemaker continue to improve with experience, and my goal of making the best wine that I can is still true.
All the animals are good, we seem to have gone through a few cats though, but we have ended up with Bob, a big orange cat who is very friendly and curious and loves to sneak into the house. He will most likely say hi if you visit, along with Goatio who is still with us (she is 12 now!). Despite all her freedom to eat whatever she wants, she decided this year that the holiday wreathes on the house and winery were tasty snacks. Levi and Clementine are also good, except they have learned how to open the fridge. I jury rigged up a lock that we have to use when we leave, otherwise we come home to a mess and no cheese or salami or bacon left cause that is what they go for first. Clare of course still has her horses that she mostly just rides at the moment because she is busy training for her third degree black belt (the household no hitting rule is firmly in effect). The cows are happy in the barn this time of year, hopefully 6 are pregnant through our second attempt at artificial insemination. We bought some cattle handling equipment that made the process a lot smoother, avoiding the rodeo action of the year before. My garden looks a little beleaguered this time of year but is still giving us kale, brussel sprouts, leeks and celery, and the favas and garlic planted last fall have popped up and hopefully will be good this spring. Also, I am hoping we can take a little bit of asparagus from the crowns that I planted a couple years ago. Apparently if the beds are properly established they can produce for 20 years or more, fingers crossed!
2016 Willamette Valley Chardonnay – even if this wine is terrible you will still want to buy some because the label is sooo cool – Clare continues to tend her bees which inspires this label – a bee crawling across comb. I think the wine is pretty good too though.. barrel fermented with just enough new oak to make it interesting, malolactic complete and bottled end of August without any filtration or fining. 2 new vineyards add to the mix this year, Kindred, in the Eola Amity Hills and Arlyn, in the Chehelam mountian AVA, continuing to make it a true Willamette valley blend. 901 cases, label bee and comb, 45 per bottle - Buy a CASE and the Ground shipping is included!!!
2016 Willamette Valley Pinot noir - some of all 8 of the Pinot vineyards we work with end up in this bottling, making it too a good representation of the Willamette Valley at large. I think this wine will be as pleasing as past vintages and as I said earlier I think I am getting better at what I do, but I will let you be the judge of that. Buttercup graces the label – an American Guinea Hog. They are a super practical pig for us, not too big, do well on kitchen scraps, windfall fruit and just a little grain. Clare finished Buttercup and Hibiscus on hazelnuts, so we are eagerly looking forward to trying the prosciutto in another 8-9 months. In the meantime we have lots of other porkyness to keep us fed. So you might ask does this Pinot go with pork? You bet! And a whole host of other things – cheese, salmon, kale chips, chicken. Potatoes gratin – etc. etc – the versatility of Pinot Noir is amazing…. This is our largest production wine at 1835 cases, but we do sell it all. The 15 has been sold out for a few months – so get this one while you can! Buttercup on the label, 45 per bottle. Buy a CASE and the Ground shipping is included!!!
2016 Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Pinot noir - Clare found a 2013 version of this wine the other day and brought it out for a Saturday lunch. It was vibrant, still fresh and full of fruit. I was quite pleased. Was it my winemaking or my good friend Don Sandberg’s good farming? The 2016 is also a solid wine that is pleasing now and will reward in a year or two, if you can resist. I am pretty sure it is my superior winemaking…. A pair of Don’s vineyard clippers on the label to honor his farming diligence. 285 cases produced, 62 dollars per bottle. Buy a CASE and the Ground shipping is included!!!
2014 Syrah, Rogue Valley - the warmth of the 2014 vintage is evident in this bottling. Picked just before the rains came in mid October – there is plenty of dark fruit and richness to complement hearty fare, but enough lithe and zest that it isn’t overpowering. Syrah has always held a special place in our hearts and this wine holds true. Per usual silverware on the label. 192 cases, 48 dollars per bottle. Buy a CASE and the Ground shipping is included!!!
Don’t forget – CASE shipping is now on us!!
We will be out and about in the next little bit, pouring at the High Museum wine auction in Atlanta March 22-24, then in Chicago for Pinot in the City on May 15, and on July 27-29 we'll be attending IPNC as guests (this is a great event!).
We are scheduled to bottle the 2017 Laughing Pig Rose on April 3 and initial tastings show great promise. 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, we are so glad you enjoy our wines! Cheers! Brian and Clare.
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