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On my trip to Oregon a few months ago, I met so many passionate, dedicated, friendly winemakers and was so impressed with the camaraderie within Willamette Valley. One of the best examples was between Brittan Vineyard and Winderlea Vineyard and Winery. These two wineries were founded by two different couples but the wine world has brought them together and now, while their brands are their own, their businesses are intertwined. You can read the story I wrote in the Napa Valley Register here. One of the things that fascinates me about the wine industry is the level of friendship, camaraderie and passion that exists in such a competitive industry. In essence, every winery is seeking placement in a very crowded market. But, friendship and collaboration seem to overpower the competition. A perfect example is Brittan Vineyards and Winderlea Vineyard and Winery, two wineries in the Willamette Valley.
This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register.
Often you will hear a domestic Pinot Noir described as Burgundian in style. But only Pinot Noir from Burgundy tastes Burgundian.
Each region has its own style. Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir has bright red cherry fruit aromas. Santa Maria Pinot Noir has darker cherry aromas as well as earthy spice and tea notes. Russian River Pinot Noir is noted for its cherry fruit flavor, bright acidity and earthy mushroom notes. Oregon Pinot Noir has raspberry, strawberry, cherry and floral aromas with earthy notes of mushroom.
What sets Burgundy apart is that it is a region driven by its terroir. Land is passed down from generation to generation and Josh Green of Wine & Spirits Magazine described it as a more spiritual way of dealing with vineyards. The vignerons (grower/winemaker) look to grow grapes in a way that represents the place from where it comes. They do not have a preconceived idea of what the wine should be. In comparison, in the U.S., a winemaker chooses the land they want to work with and are more driven by varietal.
While we should not compare other wine regions to Burgundy, an interesting panel discussion led by Josh Green took place at World of Pinot Noir. The panel consisted of three Oregon wine producers: Aaron Bell of Domaine Drouhin, Thomas Savre of Lingua Franca and Mark Tarlov of Chapter 24. Their wines were tasted side-by-side with Burgundy producers. Why was that? It was not to pick the best but to see if we could find parallels. The greatest parallel is that all three of these wines have ties back to Burgundy.