“So the movie Sideways”… stop right there. Pinot Noir was a star long before it’s role in the popular little Indy film in 2004. Pinot Noir has a long pedigree of great wine, starting in some year followed by an A.D. in France. Due to improved farming, site selection and clone selection, growing regions in California and Oregon have joined the party; producing world class Pinot Noirs for the last two decades. Often considered the hardest grape to grow; Pinot Noir can be difficult to shepherd into great wine. Kind of like a child that is allergic to everything, needing to be raised in a bubble, Pinot Noir is fickle, susceptible to frost, shatter, and disease in almost every vintage.
However, when the right area comes to fruition, a skilled winemaker can take this problem child to the head of the class. August “Joe” Briggs is such a winemaker, having worked with Pinot from the beginning of his career, oh so long ago in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Joe currently makes 3-4 Pinot Noirs each vintage, choosing to let the region and the vineyards manifest the differences among the wines. Each of our Pinots is made very similarly: from barrel selections, time in barrel, yeast strains, and production techniques, allowing the grapes and vineyard signature to shine. Much like children, they all seem to develop their own path to maturity.
In tribute to one of our favorite varietals, June is Pinot Noir month here at August Briggs. There will be at least two current release Pinot Noirs along with barrel samples of next year’s releases available the entire month. You might even catch Joe hanging around the cellar for a barrel tasting and a trip down Pinot memory lane.