Winery: Located in Portland, Oregon, Division Winemaking Company is an “urban winery” founded in 2010 by Kate Norris and Thomas Monroe. The duo honed their winemaking and viticulture skills working in wineries in the Loire, Beaujolais, Burgundy and the Northern Rhone. Inspired by the time in France, they established Division Winemaking Company. They strive “to make approachable and balanced wines though minimal manipulation”. They source their grapes from “well farmed terroir expressive vineyards, many of which are organic and/or Biodynamic”. The Division-Villages label is their approachable, entry level label.
Philosophy: “A new generation of winemakers that are looking beyond the status quo to create unique styles of wine, with a purpose, a story and without barriers.”
Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from Willard Vineyard in the Yakima Valley in Columbia Valley. The terroir was specifically chosen for Gamay: “The mineral intense soils formed from volcanic Miocene uplift against basalt bedrock that is layered with a primary top soil being made up of quartz and lime- silica, overlaid with the mixed sedimentary run- off of Missoula floods that makes the soils in the region so dynamic, unique, and in this case, perfect for making crisp and focused rosé!”
Tasting Notes: Coral pink in colour with aromas of cherry, strawberry, melon and a hint of floral. Silky smooth cherry, cranberry and strawberry with a drop of honey, complimented by clean granite minerality and mouth puckering acidity. A squeeze of lemon over cranberry on the crisp, refreshing finish.
100% Gamay Noir
Produced & Bottled by Division Winemaking Company
725 cases produced
Winery: Located in the western Alps of northwest Italy, Institut Agricole Régional is a school and research center dedicated to all types of farming. Founded in 1951, the institute is committed to agronomic, economic, fruit, wine and livestock development. Their viticulture department explores experimental plantings, such as international varieties and their possible suitability into the Valle d’Aosta region, along with preserving ancient varietals and historical vineyards.
Tasting Notes: Deep ruby red in colour with vivid aromas of strawberry, raspberry and chocolate. The flavours delightfully mirror the aromas, with red berries given a shake of crushed pink peppercorn. Bright acidity compliments the dry, yet plush finish. Easy drinking, fresh and fruity, this will disappear right before your eyes.
Vallée d’Aoste DOC
Produced and Bottled by Institut Agricole Régional
€ 10 [I enjoyed this in Florence, Italy, unfortunately it is currently not available in the US.]
Estate: The Chardon domaine is located along the banks of the Cher River in Couffy, in the Touraine region of the Loire Valley. Husband and wife team Sophie and Thierry Chardon cultivate 115 acres of vineyards, with an average vine age of 25 years. Raised on a vineyard in Touraine, Thierry’s family made wine for many generations, until his father was forced to sell the vineyard. Years later, Thierry and Sophie moved their family back to Touraine and purchased a domaine.
Winemaking: Certified organic since the late 2000’s, the believe in minimal intervention in both the vineyard and cellar. “Our wines emerge from grapes cultivated without chemical products, in respect of our environment.”
Tasting Notes: Transparent in red-violet in colour, with aromas of strawberry, resin and earthy funk. Strawberry, raspberry, along with sour cherry wrap around a floral core and are accented by sandalwood, white pepper, a dash of funk and a streak of granite minerality. Black cherry and a trace of tart wild berries linger between each sip. Smooth tannins and food friendly acidity compliment this fantastic, unique expression of Gamay.
Estate: The Couillaud family has been making wine for 7 generations in the Loire Valley. Brothers Bernard Michel and François Couillaud, along with Bernard’s daughter Amelia, head the estate. Known for their elegant wines, the family believes this finesse is a reflection of the terroir and their “strong personalities”.
Winemaking: Sustainable and organic viticulture is practiced. Soils are a mix of mica schists [which contribute towards the “freshness and finesse” their wines are known for], shale and clay.
Tasting Notes: Pale coral-pink in colour with inviting aromas of rhubarb, strawberry, white flowers, minerals and a wink of funk. Agile and zippy with strawberry and floral notes buoyed by an undercurrent of tart fruits. Rain-washed slate minerals and clean grapefruit comprise the dry, refreshing finish.
Gamay [I could not verify varietal percentage.]
Val de Loire IGP
Mis en Bouteille a la Propriété by Couillaud, Vignerons
Estate: Le Sot de l’Ange translates to “Idiot Angel” of Azay-Le-Rideau, and refers to the decision “energetic and young” winemaker Quentin Bourse made when he took over a friend’s domaine in a tiny, off the radar appellation. Azay-Le-Rideau is located within the Touraine AOC, in the Loire Valley and has a winemaking history that dates back to the Romans. The 12 hectare estate has been certified biodynamic for over 10 years; Quentin’s first vintage was 2013.
Winemaking: Quentin manages the entire estate himself, by hand; his friends give help with harvest. Vineyard soil is predominately clay over silica. Crafted in the Pét-nat [pétillant naturel] manner, an ancient method of making sparkling wines.
Tasting Notes: Venetian red* in colour with aromas of strawberry, cherry, minerals and a hint of sweet funk. Packed with tart cherry andblackberry flavours with a streak of lemony acidity. Fine, light bubbles are the foil to a shake of nutmeg and sprinkle of funk on the dry finish. Refreshing and gluggable, this is a wonderfully distinctive wine well worth seeking out.
*[Yes, at the risk of sounding pretentious I used Venetian. I could have said cherry red, but I felt Venetian really is the better descriptor. Ahhh, art school.]
As to be expected with such an engaging, esoteric wine, details such as vintage year, varietal percentage, alcohol content and bottling info are at times a bit enigmatic. I do believe this is the 2014 vintage, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
100% Gamay or a blend of Gamay and Grolleau