Division-Villages 'Méthode Carbonique' Pinot Noir 2015
Wine: Division Winemaking Company 'Méthode Carbonique'
Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Grapes: Pinot Noir
I've met Divison Winemaking Company's winemaker Tom Monroe twice, both times were brief but memorable. The first was last December at Hopper's on upper Magazine Street where proprietor Ric Hopper generously opened and shared a few bottles with the small group of sales reps and hangers-on like myself who'd gathered on a Wednesday afternoon. (Among those bottles was the Giovanni Canonica Paiagallo Barolo, which I'm still crushing hard for). Tom had his chenin blanc 'Savant' with him that day, an unusual bottling that I've been wanting to re-visit ever since. The pinot noir here I brought home from Bacchanal, which is also where I met Tom for the second time. We remembered that we share a mutual good friend in Andy Fortgang, Sommelier extraordinaire at Portland's Le Pigeon, and so it doesn't matter that I don't really know Tom, I feel like he's a friend. That he makes some damn fine juice is all bonus.
Tom Monroe and Kate Norris are co-winemakers and co-founders of Division Winemaking Company, an urban winery in Portland, Oregon's Division-Clinton neighborhood, and part of the Southeast Wine Collective project, a custom crush facility with wine bar and restaurant attached. A handful of like-minded small producers make their wine there, and the wine bar features their own plus others with a similar approach to the craft, prizing sustainably grown fruit handled simply, and striving for unadulterated, honest wines. Chris Brockway of my beloved Broc Cellars (I'll drink that Sogi "all day and day") is on the list.
The Division-Villages pinot noir is one of a few cuvées under the 'Villages' sobriquet, pronounced as the French do [vil-lahj], it evokes the easy table wine of France's Beaujolais region, known for practicing carbonic maceration with gamay grapes to produce soft, fruity wines that go down quick and delicious. This one hits all the marks. It's a young wine with ebullient cherry notes on the nose and palate, satiny tannins so soft they take you by surprise in the most pleasant way, and a long finish, always the mark of quality. I'm curious to experience all the Division wines, and just added a trip to Portland to The List.