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Recently Tasted Oregon Wines

Big Table Farm, Gaston

Brian Marcy and Claire Carver moved to Oregon from Napa in 2006, after Brian had been making wine for ten years. They started very modestly, producing 150 cases with their first vintage in 2006.

Today, they own and manage 70 acres in the northern Willamette Valley, where they raise animals and produce seasonal vegetables. On a visit, you will find free-range hens, pasture-raised pigs and grass-fed cows. Their goal is to have a healthy, sustainable and diverse farm.

The art on the labels is drawn by Clare and is unique for each vintage and bottling. The labels are made by using a letterpress and thick printmaking paper. After each label is applied by hand, Clare’s team wraps each bottle in tissue to preserve the letterpress paper’s texture and beauty. There is a product code on the bottom of each bottle so you don’t have to unwrap them to identify the wines.

Tasting is available at the farm in the owner’s house by appointment only. Visit

2016 Big Table Farm Earth Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 105 cases, $105. Released April 17, 2018. 100% whole cluster fermentation. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The name of this wine is appropriate because their is an appealing earthiness that pervades the experience. A bit of whole cluster goodness shows up on the nose that offers aromas of black raspberry, blackberry, exotic spices, rose petal and burnt tobacco. The mid weight core of black cherry and black raspberry fruit provides plenty of vim and vigor. There is a seamless quality to the wine with perfectly integrated oak and t n’a. A subtle smokiness belies some fruit from Pelos-Sandberg Vineyard in this wine. More ostentatious when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 94

2016 Big Table Farm The Elusive Queen Willamette Valley Chardonnay

13.3% alc., 104 cases, $85. Released April 17, 2018. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Light golden yellow color and unfiltered clarity in the glass. Exhilarating aromas of lemon, pineapple, baking spices and buttered toast light up the nose. Delicious flavors of pear, lemon, yellow grapefruit, hazelnut and spice offered on a sleek platform. Impeccably balanced with a finish that is really tenacious. I could try to go on about this dreamy wine, but sometimes greatness defies adequate description. Score: 97

Coehlo Winery, Amity

Coehlo farms three vineyards in three sub-AVAs of the Willamette Valley. Coehlo Estate Vineyard is in the soon-to-be-approved Van Duzer Corridor AVA, Delfina Vineyard is in the McMinnville AVA, and Zeitoun Vineyard is in the Eola-Amity Hills. The wines are all estate grown and bottled with Diam cork.

The wines are available at the winery, on the website and in high-end retail stores. Visit These stellar wines represent the best value in this issue.

2016 Coehlo Coehlo Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.58, RS 0.3 g/L, 94 cases, $45. 50% 777 and 50% Pommard clones. Harvest Brix 22.5º. 100% de-stemmed, 3 to 5-day cold soak, 100% malolactic fermentation. Aged in French oak barrels, 25% new for 14 months and in stainless steel for 2 months. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Soaring aromas of black cherry infused with gentle oak-driven notes of spice and vanilla. The luscious fruit veers to the ripe side, but the flavors of black cherry, pomegranate and blackberry are captivating. Silky in the mouth, with impressive intensity and length and a giving finish. This wine was considerably more harmonious when tasted from an opened bottle later in the day. The richest of the three 2016 Pinot Noirs. Score: 94

2016 Coehlo Delfina Vineyard McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., pH 3.51, TA 0.59, RS 0.1 g/L, 97 cases, $45. 25% 667, 50% 777 and 25% 115. Harvest Brix 22.5º. 100% de-stemmed, 3 to 5-day cold soak, full malolactic fermentation. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 25% new, and 2 months in stainless steel. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Upon opening, this wine was not particularly appealing. Subdued aromas of black cherry and oak vanillin led to a rustic palate of sweet dark red and black fruits with a noticeable backing of citrusy acidity. Quite a change when tasted later in the day from a previously opened bottle when the wine exhibited considerably more harmony, showing adept oak management and a persistent finish. Score: 92

2016 Coehlo Zeitoun Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.55, RS 0.4 g/L, 95 cases, $45. Unknown clones. Harvest Brix 23.0º. 100% de-stemmed, 3 to 5-day cold soak, full malolactic fermentation. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 50% new and 50% neutral. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of a range of dark fruits and a hint of vanilla. Clean, polished and impeccably balanced in a mid weight style featuring an array of perfectly ripened purple and black fruits blessed with adroit oak input. A flat-out gorgeous wine that slides through the mid palate and finish likes its lubricated. Score: 94

Rain Dance Vineyards, Newberg

Rain Dance Vineyards is a newer producer with an Oregon agricultural and hospitality legacy dating to 1859. Ken and Celia Austin of Newberg, Oregon, founded the winery in 2009 and debuted their first vintage in 2013.

Rain Dance is home to 120 acres of farmland including 73 acres of LIVE and Salmon Safe vineyards. A collection of four estate vineyards includes 53 acres of Pinot Noir, 17 acres of Chardonnay, 2 acres of Riesling and 1 acre of Gewürztraminer. The vines are dry farmed sustainably using balanced pruning, careful attention to cover cropping and multiple thinning passes to ensure low yields. Vine by vine composting is one particularly unique approach. Vineyard clients include Adelsheim, Alexana and King Estate.

The wines are produced and bottled under the direction of winemaker Bryan Weil of Alexana Winery in a custom crush agreement working closely with Ken and Celia Austin.

The winery’s country tasting room is located at 26335 NE Bell Road just minutes from the center of Newberg. Tasting is offered at the tasting bar, or covered porch or outdoor patio. Open daily. Visit the informative website at

2017 Rain Dance Estate Grand Oak Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Rosé

14.1% alc., pH 3.36, TA 0.653, 50 cases, RS 0.83 g/L, $22, screw cap. Released May 5, 2018. Harvest Brix 22.3. 100% Dijon clone 114. Whole cluster pressed with no skin soaking. Cold fermented. Aged in neutral French oak barrels. · Delicate orange color in the glass. Aromas of blood orange, yellow apple, peach and fragrant melon. Slightly creamy in the mouth and reminding of Orange Julius (which I always loved). A lighter styled but flavorful wine that has a savory floral note as well in the background. A terrific table wine that has a very dry, thirst quenching finish. Score: 91

2016 Rain Dance Estate Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.51, 164 cases, $40. Released May 5, 2018. 44% 667, 14% Pommard, 14% Wädenswil, 14% 943 and 14% 115. Harvest Brix 24.4º. 4-day cold soak, aged in French oak barrels, 29% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Nicely scented with aromas of Bing cherry and mocha java. The mid weight core of black cherry fruit is framed by toasty, smoky oak. Elegant in style, with amendable tannins, good juiciness and some finishing purpose. The oak oversteps its role a bit, but overall this is a charming wine. Score: 90

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