ABOUT THIS WINE:
This vintage of the Columbia Gorge Pinot Noir is a blend of parcels from Atavus and Elder and captures many of the qualities of the single vineyard wines we released from those sites in the fall. 2018 is one of those vintages where the volume is turned up on every channel; the wines are extremely rich, aromatic and powerfully structured.
The fermenters from Elder spent 14 days on the skins, those from Atavus 30, all of it whole cluster without destemming before being pressed with a basket press directly to barrel. It was aged for just over two years in small casks before being bottled by hand.
ABOUT THIS PRODUCER:
Spend any time with natural wine enthusiasts, and sooner or later the conversation will likely drift to Nate Ready, Smockshop Band and Hiyu Wine Farm.
Ready, a master sommelier turned farmer and winemaker, and his Hiyu Wine Farm have become enigmas in the wine world. Focused on biodiversity and sustainability, Ready is a courageous winemaker focused on creating delicious, otherworldly, low-intervention wines that defy easy classification.
The key, Ready says, is looking back to viticulture’s deep, Old World roots, where plants and animals – both domestic and wild – intermingled with farmers and their crops, creating a symbiosis where the produce of one, could not be possible without the interplay and influence of the other. Such is the philosophy at Hiyu Wine Farm.
To the unitiated, Hiyu Wine Farm is more than a vineyard. It is a deeply interwoven, interconnected, 30-acre farm tucked into Oregon’s Hood River Valley and the heart of the Columbia Gorge American Viticultural Area (AVA). According to Ready and his partner China Tresemer, Hiyu Wine Farm is “guided by nature and inspired by ideas from biodynamics and permaculture. We tend vines, raise animals, garden, cook and make wine to reveal an experience of place.” The place is closest in climate to winegrowing areas in the Alps; the Savoie,Valais and Valle d’Aosta.
“The property is composed of 14 acres of vines, four acres of field and pasture, .5 acres of market garden, four acres of forest and a pond. The rest of the acreage is in grounds that are being moved toward food forests,” according to Ready and Tresemer. “Outside a little work beneath the vines with a scythe, there is no mowing or tilling and any control of vegetation is done by the pigs, cows, chicken, ducks and geese that live with the vines during different parts of the year. We direct the diversity of plants on the site by seeding directly into the dense growth or behind the pigs as they root around in search of food. We make a single cut of the vines at pruning, but there is no hedging, green harvest, leaf pulling or other interruption of the vines growing cycle. We spray 85 percent less material than a typical organic or biodynamic vineyard. There is no sulfur used. The primary control of mildew is with cinnamon oil and the other sprays are mixed herbal teas. The plantings have as much biodiversity as the understory.”
Whereas most Pacific Northwest winemakers focus on producing single varietal wines, Ready takes an entirely different approach. At Hiyu Wine farm, Ready produces wines from twelve complex field blends, each with its own unique theme. Often historically inspired, Ready’s wines represent a fusion of passion, alchemy, mad science and a whole lot of mojo.
With juice from multiple varieties blended, and no manipulation or additives in the cellar, Ready’s wines defy easy classification. They can be simultaneously fresh and immediately accessible while delivering compelling nuance worthy of lengthy rumination. In short, these are special wines, and it should come as no surprise that they are rarely available off the farm, and only in very limited quantities.
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