Howdy! Spring has sprung here in western Oregon – we are so happy to see all of the blossoms and to have three more wines to offer! Here are the latest versions of the Laughing Pig Rose, the Elusive Queen and of course, Earth!
The 2016 Laughing Pig Rose – wrongly or rightly I always use the rose as a bellwether for the latter bottlings of the vintage, what does the 2016 LPR say about its yet to come relatives? Bright, intense fruit and good now but good later too… it really reminds me of the first Laughing Pig we made in 2007, which we surprisingly recently tasted. Clare found a forgotten case in our cellar (it is crowded, not big) and we apprehensively popped one open and lo and behold – still vibrant and completely drinkable. I think its best days have passed, but this ten year old rose speaks volumes to maintenance of vitality through gentle handling in the winery.
The 2016 vintage was almost a repeat of 14 and 15 but with a smaller crop load – smaller berries and clusters meant less saigné (bleeding of the red wine ferments to concentrate flavors) was needed so consequently we made significantly less rose. This wine has energy and nerve beyond belief, red raspberry and floral on the nose and into the palate that continues for seemingly forever. Only 129 cases bottled and I am reserving a couple to keep me company in the garden throughout the summer. Get it while you can, 2016 Laughing Pig Rose, $32
The Elusive Queen is a passion project for Clare and me – we seem to share a similar palate when it comes to chardonnay and it is really romantic when we can agree on something we want to drink together, that we made together. Best on days that went a little sideways and a correction is needed, the EQ comes out and wow! – smiles happen and worries disappear. The Elusive Queen and Earth represent what Clare and I feel epitomizes what we work so hard to achieve and we want to enjoy. We hope that it raises consciousness in a moment for you too.
Earth is the Pinot noir counterpoint to the Elusive Queen. I do the heavy lifting of the initial barrel selection with a piece of chalk in my pocket and notes at hand, tasting and marking each barrel. This process takes over a month to accomplish. Then Clare comes in and helps with the final decisions that make these wines happen. They are the best in our cellar. Any winemaker can/will tell you that there are always a few barrels that stand out from all the others, and we feel that we can skim a little of the cream off the top, for ourselves and those of you who share our palates, without dramatically affecting the rest of our blends. As I have said before – I treat all fruit and fermentation lots equally once they come into the winery. I do my very best to guide each to dryness and then into barrel, using foot stomping and a simple basket press. Malolactic is encouraged by maintaining conducive temperature, which is easy in our super efficient building. Minimal sulpher is maintained and a small adjustment made at bottling.
Some barrels just stand out, some we just like more than others, so we select and blend and bottle to our own taste. If no one else likes them, no problem, we will happily enjoy them ourselves. We are so happy with the 2014 versions of these wines, it would be embarrassing to admit how many bottles we consumed ourselves. We are in the lucky position that we can make what we truly enjoy, as Clare and I are solely responsible, and therefore free to make wines we chose.
The labels are wacky but beautiful, you will have to ask Clare what they signify.
2015 Elusive Queen Chardonnay, 109 cases, $85 bottle
2015 Earth Pinot noir, 107 cases, $105 bottle
I hope you have already popped a few corks of the 15’s we have just made available, Willamette Valley and Pelos Sandberg Pinot noir and Willamette Valley Chardonnay. If you liked these then Earth, and the Elusive Queen should please as well, and hopefully even more! All of the above are available on our website.
We have thoroughly enjoyed the 14 versions of these wines and we are thrilled to be able to present the 2015 versions to you! We hope that the enthusiasm the 2014 EQ and Earth (both sold out) received will extend to the 15’s. We have started to drink them now, and like all our other 15’s they have surpassed my expectations. I am still stunned by what they have evolved into.
Thank you again for continuing to enjoy our wine, we love what we do and are so grateful for your continued support. Cheers from our table to yours! Brian and Clare