2016 Cowhorn, Grenache 6, $42
Winery Info: Bill and Barbara Steele purchased their property in southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley in 2002 with a dream of owning a piece of land where they could “create a new model of small-scale farming…economically viable, good for the community, and good for the earth.” Because their site has similar characteristics to that of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, they planted Rhône grape varietals and continue to focus on Rhône-style wines. The New York Times has called Cowhorn “a Biodynamic cult favorite among chefs from San Francisco to New York.”
Winemaker: Bill and Barbara Steele
Grapes: 100% Grenache, aged nine months in new and used French oak.
Vineyard: Their Biodynamic-certified estate vineyard in the Applegate Valley AVA with alluvial gravel soil.
Flavor profile: This smooth, vibrant Grenache has good structure and depth, with ripe, juicy aromas of dark fruit and licorice, and notes of red fruit and fresh herbs. All of which is balanced by good, food-friendly acidity and a nice touch of earth and peppery spice that lingers on the finish.
Production: 250 cases produced. This vintage is almost gone.
Drinkability: Enjoy anytime up to 2025.
Food Pairing: The winery suggests giving it a slight chill and enjoying it with your favorite summer barbecue. It would also be great with short ribs, anything with a slight char, or slow-cooked foods.
2014 Maysara, Cyrus Pinot Noir, $38
Winery Info: Originally from Iran, Mahmood (Moe) and Flora Momtazi bought 496 acres of abandoned wheat farm just south of McMinnville in 1997. Before they began planting, they meticulously researched which Pinot clones were best suited to the different soil types throughout their site and planted accordingly. They have never used any chemicals in the vineyard and are certified Biodynamic. This wine is named for King Cyrus the Great of Persia who, they say, planted vineyards and produced wine for his troops, although he allowed some of it to be captured by the enemy. Once they became intoxicated, his army was able to attack and defeat them!
Winemaker: Moe and Flora’s eldest daughter, Tahmiene Momtazi.
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir from Dijon and Pommard clones.
Vineyard: Their estate Momtazi Vineyard in the McMinnville AVA, a unique site with over 600 feet elevation change. The soil is clay and loam-based in the lower parts, changing to Jory soil higher up. The diversity of soils, combined with the location at the mouth of the Van Duzer corridor gives McMinnville Pinot Noirs their dark fruit flavors and spicy earth tones
Flavor profile: This soft, plush Pinot is light on the palate yet still delivers bold, elegant flavor, with notes of ripe plum and a gentle touch of spice. The winery notes that this wine is an excellent expression of the 2014 vintage. The long summer of hot days and warm nights produced a Pinot that is rich yet has great balance and fully expresses the depth and delicacy of the grape.
Production: 1,073 cases produced. It is still in decent supply.
Drinkability: Any time, now through around 2025.
Food Pairing: This would be a great wine for Thanksgiving dinner.