No. PF - 11

Wild Pinot

Noir (OR)

Wild Pinot Noir (OR) With Dacha (2022)

With

Dacha (2022)

Club Only

Fall

Corvallis, OR

750 ML

Experience

This is the kind of Pinot Noir you would drink while camping under the shadow of moss covered trees. It’s black cherry, fog, celery leaf and your best scary story.

  • Grape(s)

    Pinot Noir
  • Place

    Applegate Valley
  • Producer

    Dacha Wines
  • ABV (%)

    12.7
  • Contents (ML)

    750
  • Collab No.

    PF - 11
Process

Fleeting Stress & Rare Flavors

Written by Brent Braun

Most American winemakers take one of two paths — Buy or inherent a vineyard and focus your winemaking on fruit from said vineyard — Or buy fruit from one or multiple vineyards that are owned by someone else and farmed by someone else. While this is a bit of an oversimplification, the broad strokes are accurate. Isabel Newton, on the other hand, has carved an alternative path to both those options. She does not own her own vineyards (what first generation winemaker has that kind of money?) and she does not buy fruit from vineyards that other people farm. Instead, she seeks out small vineyards and farms them herself. 

Often times, they are homestead vineyards or little hobby vineyards that seemed like a fun idea to plant until the owners realized that farming is actually really hard and really expensive. In such situations, the common choice would be to call a vineyard management company and have them handle the farming. But many of these vineyards are too small for vineyard management companies to want to work with. This situation presented an opportunity for a small quality oriented farmer like Isabel to step in. And step in she has. She currently farms 5 different small vineyards across Oregon. Most of them are 1-3 acres. In trade for her labor and expertise, she receives some portion of the grapes, in which she makes a lineup of stunning little natural wines. 

As you all know, one of our goals with Post Familiar is to highlight tiny lots of things that would usually be forgotten. Last November, right after the 2022 harvest, Isabel reached out to us about a strange half barrel of pinot noir she had in her cellar. It came from a vineyard she farms in Applegate Valley, in southern Oregon. The vineyard has been in pretty rough shape when she took over and it was barely producing fruit. It’s about 2 acres in size and in an ideal world, a vineyard that size might yield 12,000 pounds of grapes. In 2022, Isabel harvested 300 pounds of grapes. For the mathematically inclined amongst you, that is about 2% of what a normal yield should be. What would cause a vineyard to yield such incredible low amounts of fruit?

In this case, the main reason was stress.

Post Familiar Natural Wine “This is a young vineyard planted on a historic but unforgiving property, that had a bit of a rough beginning. The landscape is beautiful, starting-to-feel-southern, and the vineyard is rugged and dry. On the third year of working with the site I harvested about 300 lbs of grapes off of the 2 pinot acres. I did prune extremely conservatively, but even so, that should give you some idea of how stressed out this vineyard is.” - Isabel Newlin

“This is a young vineyard planted on a historic but unforgiving property, that had a bit of a rough beginning. The landscape is beautiful, starting-to-feel-southern, and the vineyard is rugged and dry. On the third year of working with the site I harvested about 300 lbs of grapes off of the 2 pinot acres. I did prune extremely conservatively, but even so, that should give you some idea of how stressed out this vineyard is.”

Isabel Newlin

Grape vines, despite their legendary resilience, can be finicky when it comes to producing grapes for wine. It’s hard to know when a vine is dealing with stress. In the case of the Applegate vineyard, the vines looked pretty anaemic and the berries were super tiny. 

But the most interesting consequence of stress shows up as a totally unique flavor profile in the finished wines that is sometimes described as agave like. It’s not something that you taste very often and not something that can be manufactured in any other way than stress. When over the top, it can devour all other flavors. When balanced, it can create a layer of complexity that is intoxicating and, again, nearly impossible to recreate. 

The fleeting flavors of vine stress is like listening to an early recording from a band you love.

To be clear, a stressed vine is not a healthy vine, and the goal of a farmer is get a vineyard back to health so that the vine stress syndrome never appears again. In that sense, capturing the fleeting flavors of vine stress is like listening to an early recording from a band you love. Sure, compared to their peak career stuff it might seem less refined and way more wild, but that snapshot of energy and rawness captured in time is so incomparably special.

When we tasted Isabel’s barrel of vine stressed Pinot Noir, we were floored by its complexity and utter deliciousness. I’ve always found the flavors of vine stress captivating and we immediately realized that this would be a unique opportunity to share that rare flavor experience with our wine club members.

  • ABV (%)

    12.7

  • Contents (ML)

    750

  • Sulfur added (PPM)

    20

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