VOLUME 10, ISSUE 29
April 22, 2016
Serendipity seems to take us on many unexpected paths in life. A perfect example is story of Erin and Jordan Nuccio. As a young man, Erin had no intention of pursuing a career in winemaking. Instead, he was eagerly anticipating the start of culinary school and happened to land a job at a prestigious wine store in the Washington D.C. area. A passion for wine was soon ignited, and he became the manager of the store. Erin soon met Jordan, an aspiring veterinarian and romantic interest, and the pair moved to the northeast as Erin explored the distribution side of the wine business. It was to be the first stop on a journey that would eventually land the couple in the Willamette Valley.
With two dogs, two rabbits and a cat in tow, Erin and Jordan headed west to Berkeley, California. The couple wasn't enamored with the college town, but they made the most of their time there, with Jordan exploring holistic veterinary medicine and Erin enthusiastically immersing himself into winemaking and viticulture in nearby Napa and Sonoma. It was the wines from Oregon, however, that stirred Erin's interest the most.
With Oregon's Willamette Valley calling, the menagerie was loaded into the car once again, and off they went. Shortly after the move, Erin was fortunate to meet Russ and Mary Raney of Evesham Wood Winery. The Raneys took Erin under their wing and he worked three harvests there, developing his skills as assistant winemaker and consummating a long-time smoldering love affair with the Pinot Noir grape. Most significantly, he learned to craft wines with elegance and nuance, signature qualities of Evesham Wood wines.
As luck would have it, Erin's launch of his own label, Haden Fig, coincided with the outstanding 2008 vintage in Oregon. His hip label features a painting of a Northern Saw-whet Owl artfully created by Eli Halpin. Jordan Nuccio had become enamored with this owl while working at the Portland Audobon Society as a volunteer veterinarian. The Saw-whet Owl is a natural predator for small rodents in the vineyard, sometimes residing in nearby nesting boxes, and a symbol for sustainable agriculture. The name is derived from the sound of the owl's call which is said to resemble a saw being sharpened with a whetstone.
The name Haden Fig is curious to say the least, and I asked Erin how the name originated. He said, "When it came time to name the winery we were up to our ears in baby books trying to pick the perfect name for our soon-to-be-born baby boy. This was an enormous and exhausting task, but finally the name Haden came to us. I am not sure if we had stumbled upon the name of our winery or the name of our son, but it stuck in both cases. As for the 'fig' component, this might have been a subconscious homage to Mark Twain and his Huck Finn. It just sounded right, and it has become the name of a dream realized."
The wines are available on the website.
Articles About Haden Fig
2008 Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs: Time to Pop the Corks? (10.4 2/8/2015)
2010 Pinots Tasted in the Willamette (9.11 9/11/2012)
2012 Oregon Value Priced Pinot Noirs Honorable Mention (9.17 12/26/2012)
2014 Oregon Pinot Noir First Team All-Americans (10.2 12/22/2014)
2014 Oregon Value Priced Pinot Noir First Team All-Americans (10.2 12/22/2014)
More Juicy 2010 Oregon Pinot Incoming (9.15 11/24/2012)
Sips of Recently Tasted Oregon Pinot Noir & More (9.42 5/25/2014)
Small Sips of Oregon Pinot Noir (8.11 2/15/2010)
Still More Oregon Wines to Savor (9.15 11/24/2012)
2012 Haden Fig Bjornson Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 123 cases, $30. 5 favorite barrels. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Interesting aromatics featuring scents of ripe cherry, fig (seems appropriate) and bourbon. Extra-delicious core of black cherry and black raspberry fruit, nicely spiced with an additional peppery note. Admirable harmony, and a long, memorable finish that makes the knees weak. This is a wine that tugs at your emotions and defies adequate description. One of the best values in Oregon Pinot Noir. Score: 94. Reviewed July 6, 2014 ARTICLE »
2012 Haden Fig Cancilla Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 148 cases, $30. Produced and bottled at Evesham Wood by the same winemaker. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with bright aromas of black cherry, black raspberry, dried rose petals and spice. Delicious mid to full-bodied flavors of black cherry and black raspberry that fills the mouth with goodness and carries over to the captivating finish. This beauty has the structure for the long haul and deft oak harmony. Did I say the finish was amazing? A steal at this wallet-friendly price. Score: 93. Reviewed July 6, 2014 ARTICLE »
2010 Haden Fig Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., 800 cases, $24. Aged in 10% new French oak. · Moderately rich mix of dark stone and berry fruit aromas and flavors. A user-friendly, fruity wine. Decent. Reviewed September 12, 2012 ARTICLE »
2010 Haden Fig Bjornson Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 75 cases, $30, sold out. · A very impressive wine offering vibrant pie-filling flavors with a pleasant accent of baking spice. Nicely composed and thoroughly enjoyable with a memorable finish. Very good. Reviewed September 12, 2012 ARTICLE »
2010 Haden Fig Cancilla Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Barrel Select Pinot Noir
13.25% alc., $30. Aged in 25% new French oak. 50% each Pommard and Dijon clones. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Middleweight flavors of dark red and purple fruit framed by good acidity and backed by firm, ripe tannins. Very good. Reviewed September 12, 2012 ARTICLE »
2010 Haden Fig Cancilla Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $30. Produced and bottled by Evesham Wood Vineyard & Winery. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. This wine definitely needs decanting if you drink now. Upon opening it offered shy but alluring aromas of dark red cherries, briar and marzipan. The core of red fruits was accented with spice and herbs and although the tangy red cherry finish showed promise, the wine seemed a bit dilute and flat. The following day it was tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle and had undergone an amazing transformation. The intensity of well-spiced cherry flavor had ramped up, the finish had picked up more generosity and length, and the wine became thoroughly enjoyable. Very good. Reviewed November 24, 2012 ARTICLE »
2008 Haden Fig Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc.. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherry pie glaze, underbrush and the slightest oak lead to bright and juicy flavors of cherry, red raspberry and red plum. The wine still has a firm tannic backbone. The finish is replete with cherry goodness. Enjoyable now or can be cellared short term. Score: 90. Reviewed February 21, 2015 ARTICLE »
2008 Haden Fig Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.50, $25. Sourced from five Willamette Valley vineyards (Cancilla, Mahonia, Momtazi, Eola Springs and Madrona) cropped a 2.0 to 2.5 tons per acre. A debut wine from owner and winemaker Erin Nuccio. · Moderately deep reddish-purple color in the glass. Deep and heady scents of dark cherries, forest floor, oak toast and crushed rock. Light but pleasing in the mouth with tasty black cherry, cranberry and dark berry fruit with a faint sidecar of oak spice. Soft tannins and bright, refreshing acidity on the finish. A terrific value-priced wine from a great Oregon vintage offered in a classy and hip package. Relatively simple, but a very user-friendly drinker that will perform beautifully at the dinner table. Very good. Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »
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