Monday, January 30, 2012

Father & Son...Brigadoon Wine Company

From Kelsey Ivey

Just past where the road ends in a tree-filled cove of the southern Willamette Valley, Brigadoon Wine Company grows vines like family with family.

Sprouted in 2008, Brigadoon Wine Company located on a 66 acre farm with 15 acres of vineyards rooted in Bellpine soil, produces two wine varietals in a father and son affair. From rich and fruity Pinot Noirs to its breathtaking Pinot Blanc, the winery produces high quality wines that won’t break the bank.

“We do what we do and do it well,” said winery owner Chris Shown while savoring sips of their first vintage Pinot Noir. An accolade to the hard work and study of his son, Matt Shown the winemaker, as the sprawling vineyards draped in fog and surrounded by dense evergreen forest framed the duo through their brand new, tasting room windows.

Welcoming visitors like guests to their home, Brigadoon exudes rustic charm with its knotty wood, American antique style tasting room in the cozy Coastal Range foothills – practically hypnotizing you to come on in and relax like one of the family.

This down home trend also expands beyond the tasting room too and into the vineyards.

Tending the vineyards is like having a lot of children, explained Chris. The first one you dote on and worry about, but with each additional child you realize that bumps and bruises are just part of growing. And with this philosophy in mind, Matt and Chris have learned the same with the vineyards. “We do less and less each year,” said Matt. “A very hands-off approach.”

Brigadoon tries to strike balance between wine and site as stewards of the land. With hopes of making the wine business a multi-generational business, Brigadoon treats the soil with respect and understands its limitations and opportunities to nurture and flourish.

“Don’t try to make something out of the vines that isn’t there,” explained Chris. “I am, what I am, what I am.”

By not manipulating the vines, Brigadoon creates wine that reflects its site’s unique characteristics.“The ground is our factory and we must take care of it for our livelihood,” said Chris. Yet while practicing sustainable measures to protect the land, they don’t wish to compete for the most “green” with expensive labels and certifications either. “The money spent to renew [certifications] could be better used – such as on learning about other cultural practices to make the vineyard greener,” explained Chris. “The best imprint you can have in your farm is your boot.”

Chris and Matt’s attention to detail and passion for their land is easily tasted in their wines that sip with a pure, clean and light quality that is rarely sampled in wines of their price point.

2011 Pinot Blanc

The 2010 Pinot Blanc with a light and refreshing flavor features soft tones of citrus and melon without being over powering on the pucker. Finishing with a lingering clean and even tone, the almost clear colored wine makes a wonderful aperitif or really a good any-time-of-the-day-sipper. ($16)

2010 Lylee Pinot Noir

Described by Chris as a “wine for Tuesday night with meatloaf” the Lylee Pinot Noir, which is a combination of Chris and his wife’s middle names, is a light, yet jam-packed with flavor. Priced at an affordable $19 for a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, the wine nurtures red cherry flavors with a soft undertone of rosemary and forest leaves. Though inexpensive, don’t confuse this wine for cheap. The Lylee Pinor Noir is a fantastic quality wine that can be paired  with much more than just meatloaf.

2009 Tap-Root Pinot Noir

Brigadoon’s barrel select Pinot Noir with a heavier oak influence yet still well balanced by a pleasant silky texture and notes of bright fruit flavors. This wine is aged in French oak for 16 months ($32).

2008 Pinot Noir

Brigadoon’s first vintage, the 2008 Pinot Noir strikes a balance with the fruits of its labor. Featuring a ruby red color with a round velvety texture, light tannins and a cherry flavor, this Pinot Noir knocks you back and then consumers you with a finish that settles to the dark side. Get this bottle while it lasts, there isn't a whole lot left. ($42)

In 2011 Brigadoon produced 400 cases of wine but they hope for their next vintage to reach 600 to 800 cases as they continue to grow. Selling predominately out of their brand new tasting room, which opened just in time for the 2011 Thanksgiving wine weekend, visitor can enjoy taking in their beautiful view and sampling their wines April –November.

“We are very hopeful for the 2011 vintage. It will be light, very different." said Matt. "More fruit in the Pinot and more acidity in the Blanc."

And with a buzz already growing about their wine and plans to increase their production numbers for this coming vintage, Brigadoon is a winery to watch out for – this is no country bumpkin even if their tasting room is a little in the backwoods.

"With a name like Brigadoon, we could disappear for a hundred years," joked Matt while sipping their earthy Pinot Noir. "But we won't!" replied his father with confidence and pride.


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