Hello friends. Some of the best fun we had in Q4 of 2015 was our dip into the library stash of August Cellars. The 2006 Hawk’s View Pinot (offered in November) is now sold out. For the 2007 Chardonnay (offered in December), we have 24% of our original stash remaining. I’m sure many of you opened a bottle over the holidays, so I’ll include a reorder link at the bottom for those of you looking for another chance to access that one.
We’ll be aiming to dive back into the August library later in 2016, but before we do, I want to focus on their current-release Pinot Noir, which is an exceptional value from a terrific Willamette Valley vintage:
We don’t offer many $15 Willamette Valley Pinots. Trey Busch put a nice one under his Renegade label last year. C&G (a great local importer/distributor that we work with) partners with John Albin on Lorelle, which is consistently very good. The remainder of sub-$15 Pinot that we taste? You don’t want to know. To call the category a minefield would be an understatement.
And the truth is: this isn’t actually a $15 Pinot. It’s actually a $20 Pinot (through the winery) that we’re selling for $15 because we committed to a truckload of it and subsequently secured a very good price.
Now then, some quick reminders on what August Cellars is all about. They’re 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).
This 2012 was raised entirely in neutral barrels, and it clocks in at 12.5% listed alc. The nose offers real purity to the blackest of black cherry juice, paired with dark loamy/leafy forest floor notes and black tea. In the mouth, it’s the texture you notice first: this has an impressive sense of palate weight and presence, and conveys real richness and deliciousness, all on a frame that zips along with moderate alcohol and plenty of mouthwatering blood-orange acidity. This offers sneaky back-end chew, serious stuffing, and way more overall complexity then we have any right to expect at a $15 tag. Are we going to offer our best Pinot value of 2016 in our very first week of offers?
Originally offered December 4, 2015. Excerpts from original offer: I remember having a life-changing experience several years ago now when a buddy brought a 1996 Eyrie Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay to a tasting group. That wine was face-meltingly good, and it sparked a strong interest in older northwest Chardonnays. And no, I’m not going to try to convince you that this wine is the equal of that ’96 Eyrie, but as a simulacrum, it’s pretty damned compelling, especially at a price well below the $108.45 we offered that ’96 at way back when. This wine actually comes from both Oregon (55%) and Washington (45%) vineyards, all Dijon-clone material. It spent a year in French oak (20% new) before bottling in late 2008. You know, like seven [BLEEPING] years ago! Listed alc is 13%.
It pours a lovely gold in the glass. And oh my word do I love a nose like this, which marries Chardonnay fruit (apple, lemon, peach) to the kind of tertiary savory tones that get people so excited about Chardonnay as a vehicle for ageing. Notes like hazelnut and sweet corn and fresh hay. Complex to be sure, and wonderful for just how different it is from younger white wines. The palate is in a beautiful spot. I’d take a stab at a peak drinking window here from 2009-2019, so we’re somewhere just past the middle: a beautiful, immediate-gratification place to access any wine. Fresh and dried fruits are propped up by a sturdy mineral-acid spine, and the savory/nutty notes continue to delight all the way through to the charming, mouthwatering finish.
The Pinot is first come first served up to 36 bottles, and the wine should arrive in a few weeks. For the Chard, please limit order requests to 12 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The Chard is already in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.