Hello friends. I am extremely stoked for today’s offer, because a) it is extremely rare to get access to library anything from Oregon; b) it’s especially rare at compelling prices; and c) this offer has been a long time in the making.
It began in July. On the seventh day of the seventh month of 2015, I received a mysterious, intriguing e-mail from a member of Full Pull’s Vast Network of Wine Spies™.
The subject: August. The body: Remind me to talk to you about these wines. No dist in WA, and the wine is pretty [EXPLETIVE] good for the money.
In September, the spy came in from the cold, carrying library samples from August Cellars. As soon as I tasted the 06 Hawk’s View, I began inquiring about purchasing the entire remaining stock from the winery. Of course, this was now harvest time, so things slowed down considerably, and it took the better part of September and October to negotiate first pricing and then logistics. But on October 22 the wine arrived, direct from the winery cellar, and it is now good to go.
I had actually visited August Cellars several years ago, but I didn’t know the winery even had its own label. It’s a co-op facility in Newberg, hosting shared winemaking and tasting-room facilities for a number of wineries. One of those wineries is Crowley, and that’s where I first met Tyson Crowley and tasted his wines way back when. As far as I knew at the time, August Cellars simply provided space and facilities for other wineries. As it turns out, not true.
They’ve produced wine under their own label since 2002, but winemaking is only one part of a multi-generational, multi-agricultural business. In 1890, August Schaad (the winery’s namesake) emigrated from Germany to the United States. August’s oldest son, Clarence Schaad, purchased the winery’s 42-acre property in 1942, and the farm is currently run by Clarence’s two surviving children, Lewis and Grace. About half of the farmland is devoted to mature English Walnut trees, the remainder split among Italian plums, woods, the winery itself, and yes, some Pinot Noir vines.
The winery is managed by Lewis Schaad’s two sons, Jim and Tom, with Jim in charge of winemaking. Jim would be August’s great grandson, for those counting at home. The story reminds me a little of Olsen Estates here in Washington, where a family with multiple generations of farming success gets into the winemaking business, and does it really well, but doesn’t really focus all that much on the sales side of things. Of course, with Olsen, that eventually led to the dissolution of the winery, but I don’t get the sense that’s the fate for August Cellars. They have their tenant wineries, and they seem happy enough to let their own-label wines sell as they sell, mature as they mature.
Frankly, I’m shocked that somebody in Oregon hasn’t already swooped in and grabbed this wine. Happily shocked. Their loss is our list members’ gain. The winery was retailing this one for $28, which is a totally reasonable price for good decade-old Pinot. I’m hoping our TPU price today makes the wine even more accessible, since it’s such a fun treat for folks to taste mature Oregon Pinot.
This is a barrel select of the three best barrels each year from a vineyard called Hawks View, a 50-acre, 1991-planted site on east-facing, Laurelwood-soil slopes in the Chehalem Mountains. The 2006 vintage spent 16 months in barrel before bottling in February 2008, which is, you know, almost eight [EXPLETIVE] years ago! 2006 was a warm vintage in Oregon, but not crazy warm like 2003, so it offered plenty of ripeness and potential for ageing as well. There are a number of vintage reports floating out there on the internet for those interested. The only one I saw that put a drinking window on the vintage (admittedly: always a risky proposition considering the diversity of styles in Oregon) ranged the peak as 2011-2022, which would put us right in goldilocks territory.
Right on first sniff, you know this is a maturing wine: the fruit character (mostly black cherry and fig) combines fresh and dried fruit, and there are loads of tertiary earth and mushroom and leather notes. This is a darkly-fruited profile for Chehalem Pinot, deep and alluring. I’m just crazy about the way that Pinot takes on a leafy character as it gets older. It evokes crunching on leaf-covered trails in the woods during an autumn twilight: autumnal, crepuscular, deeply attractive, perfect for the Thanksgiving table. There is still some fine-grained tannin chew on the back-end, but those tannins are integrating and softening beautifully now. The entire package conveys a fine sense of balance across the board, and this is a wine just begging to be drunk up over the next five years.
Please limit order requests to 12 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine is in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.