It seems like just yesterday we sent our last missive, but it has been six weeks. We hope all who have ordered the first of the fourteen pinots are enjoying them and are happy with our efforts. We have two new wines to offer and a reliable favorite.
Clare and I have evolved as a winemaker and an artist dramatically since we started Big Table Farm almost ten years ago. I have gone from using the memories and wisdom of mentors to creating my own set. The wines that I make today are certainly still influenced by what I learned from others so long ago, but I have filled in those lessons with many of my own. I know what I want to drink and how to push to get there.
To that end, the Elusive Queen and Earth most clearly demonstrate what I and Clare feel represent what we are most proud to share. I joke, but in all seriousness, if we can’t sell these wines, we will be happy to drink them ourselves, and at just over 100 cases each we could certainly do with time. These wines are not for everybody. They are for those who know and want understand pinot noir and chardonnay, unquestionably some of you know even more than I.
With almost 700 cases of chardonnay and 3000 cases of pinot noir in our cellar for 2014 we felt that we could pull out the best of the best barrels, blend and bottle them, without having a dramatic impact on the regular bottlings.
I hope that those of you who get to try these wines enjoy them, I hope that this trial is a success because I would like to continue creating and exploring the best that I can offer each year with what is presented to me. Will these blends happen every year? I don’t know.
I don’t remember who came up with the name Earth but I chose it. There were other names bantered about but I chose Earth because it represents so much and can mean so many different things, interpreted from a plentitude of angles. It is our home, expansive and tiny at the same time. Made simply of 118 elements, yet so profoundly complex. We have known it for generation upon generation yet we continue to make discoveries, both personally and scientifically. As I write I think maybe I have chosen a name too grand, but I want this wine to make us think about our home. Clare and I try to live each day in harmony with ourselves, each other and all that is around us. We are not religious, but we try to accept our humanity and try to live within the confines of our home and what it can support.
As the wines are a departure from our past the labels are also an artistic exploration. I remember the day Clare was working on them. It was a beautiful Sunday (one of the first we have started to take off). I was in and out of the house as she worked with focus and intention. I left her alone and when she finally showed me what she had come up with – I was a little shocked and asked her what she had been smoking?
Absolutely nothing she laughed (not her thing and I know it) and proceeded to explain the significance of all that had been committed to paper. I cannot remember all that she explained and I’m not sure I would/should share if I could. I think it is up to you to make your own inferences, to add to the enjoyment and mystery of drinking these wines.
The name the Elusive Queen is inspired by Clare’s passion for keeping bees. As you well know, our Willamette valley bottling of chardonnay always has honey bee inspired drawings, so then should the barrel select. Clare can tell the story better than I but the name came to her one day as she was collecting a swarm of bees and wasn’t sure if the swarm contained the queen, and then she caught a glimpse and knew the swarm would turn into a successful hive.
2014 Elusive Queen Chardonnay, 116 cases produced, 85 dollars
2014 Earth Pinot noir, 108 cases produced, 105 dollars
Part II – April 8, 2016. Today was a great day, cold and clear in the dark this morning as I opened up the winery to prepare to bottle the 2015 Laughing Pig rosé and edelzwicker (fall release). This was our fourth time bottling in our new winery, and it gets easier every time. The bottling went smoothly, Clare made everybody cornbread and chili for lunch. Jeff and I cleaned up in the afternoon and now I am sipping 2015 Laughing Pig rose as I write- admiring the cows graze new spring grass, dogs lazy in the sun on the porch, and me taking it all in. The wines are TERRIFIC; I am looking forward to having the Laughing Pig around all summer. I love to take a glass out with me at the end of the day to the garden and spend an hour or two hoeing weeds, puttering and planning, watering and watching it all grow.
The laughing pig rosé is back – it is as good as ever. We have just a little more than last year, and from what I read in the wine business rags, rosé is increasingly popular these days, so please don’t wait to order. I promise it will make any occasion just a little bit better, a little laughing pig makes all moments more memorable.
2015 Laughing Pig rosé, 480 cases produced, 28 dollars
Thank you again for continuing to enjoy and share our wine, this is unquestionably what allows us to continue this wacky adventure called Big Table Farm.
From our table to yours, Brian and Clare
p.s. Click here to browse the three new wines.
'winemaker dinner and spring release celebration in portland'
Simpatica and Big Table Farm are teaming up for the fourth year in a row! For those of you who came last year and the year before, you know you are in for a very special evening!
This will be a multi-course dinner with big table farm wines paired with each course. We will be featuring our spring release wines as well as some extra special bottles — Brian and I will be bringing out The Elusive Queen and Earth! — our two new Cuvee's, and some big bottles too!
Simpatica Dining Hall Featuring Big Table Farm
Amuse Shrimp Crepenette, Citrus
2014 Big Table Farm Edelzwicker
Rabbit Strudel, Rhubarb, Tarragon, Fennel
2015 Big Table Farm Laughing Pig Rosé of Pinot noir
Burrata, English Pea, Radish, Pistachio Brown Butter
2014 The Elusive Queen
Smoke-roasted Ribeye, Shaved Asparagus, Morel Hollandaise
2014 Big Table Farm Willamette Valley Pinot noir
2014 Big Table Farm Earth
Torteau de Chevre, and assorted cheeses
2013 Big Table Farm Syrah
As always, it will be a fun evening with good friends and wines...
$125 including all wine pairings, excluding gratuity
When Friday April 15th @ 7:30 pm
Where - 828 SE ASH ST. PORTLAND, OR 97214
call simpatica to reserve your seat
(don't delay, tickets will go quickly!)