The Armstrong Vineyard in Ribbon Ridge AVA (courtesy divisionwineco.com)

Willamette Pinot Noir from Division Wine Company

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As everyone begins to rouse themselves from the post-holiday lull, we thought we would shine a light on Division Wine Co.. one of our favorite producers doing exciting stuff out in Oregon.

Division is an urban winery in Portland, Oregon making incredible wines, predominantly sourced from the Willamette Valley, that are joyous and exciting expressions of this great winemaking region. Started in 2010 by Tom Monroe and Kate Norris, and featuring a marketing manager very dear to our hearts here at Chambers Street Wines in the figure of erstwhile shop manager Sophie Barrett, Division has an eclectic focus that includes a deep love of the Loire, Beaujolais, and the Northern Rhône. In a region that takes many of its cues from Burgundy, Division has gone out of its way to represent other styles and other grapes. Eclectic offerings include a Cot, numerous fantastic single-vineyard Gamays, some Chenins, a "Crémant de Portland", and Cabernet Franc.

Today, though, we'd like to offer two of their Pinot Noirs, from wildly different vintages, that are some of the most exciting wines I've had from Oregon. The Division 2017 Pinot Noir "Un" is their most well-known cuvée, and the 2017 is one of my favorite expressions of this wine. This is all the more remarkable because 2017 was an extremely challenging vintage in Oregon. We here at Chambers Street Wines tend to shy away from ratings and rankings, and there is no better example of the pitfalls of rating a vintage than this wine. Heat, rain, drought, and wildfires all tried their best to ruin the best laid plans of vignerons and winemakers all over Oregon, yet Division rode this bumpy road with aplomb. Especially anxiety-inducing were numerous huge wildfires in both the Coastal Range and the Cascades that surrounded the Willamette Valley with the ever-present fear of smoke contamination. While thankfully smoke taint was entirely avoided in the Willamette Valley, there are few things that make a winemaker lose sleep like seeing smoke curling up from the mountains in the distance. Tom and Kate managed to craft a wine that is a vinous reflection on the meaning of serenity. Beautiful notes of cherry and ripe raspberry on the nose are followed by an elegant palate that adds notes of dark chocolate and just a touch of baking spice that are integrated into fine, soft tannins.

The next offering is the Division 2016 Pinot Noir "Cinq", which offers an excellent counterpoint to the "Un". 2016 as a vintage was the polar opposite of 2017. A warm winter set the growing season off early, but after that the summer was perfect for the growing of Pinot Noir. This wine is sourced from the certified organic Armstrong Vineyard in the youngest AVA in the Willamette Valley, Ribbon Ridge. Volcanic Nekia soils in this vineyard are overlaid with marine sediment and lie atop basalt bedrock. Powerful, darker-fruited, and with a deep ruby core in the glass, this wine shows blackberry and black cherry fruit on the nose which give way to beautiful dark mushroomy character on the palate. The finish is long and expressive, redolent of fresh-tilled earth but with a deep, nutty, coffee note. This wine was aged in one new French oak barrel and one used, without any racking, for ten months. A harmonious combination of great fruit concetration and densely enumerated earthiness, this wine has 10-15 years of cellar ageing potential, though it is big and robust in the best way right now.

We hope you enjoy these lush, stylish, elegantly structured wines! Andrew Farquhar

 

Division 2016 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir "Cinq"

The 2016 Pinot Noir "Cinq" is sourced from the Armstrong Vineyard, in the Ribbon Ridge AVA, where grapes are grown on volcanic soils with marine sedimentary overlay and a base of basalt rock. Two barrels of this wine were made, with one being new French oak and the other being used.This is a powerfully structured wine that will benefit from time in the bottle, though it is pretty awesome right now as well, particularly after a brief decant. This is the earthiest of Division's Pinots, with brambly dark fruit accompanied by notes of grilled mushroom, forest floor, and a perfect subtle hint of sandalwood. This is a great Pinot Noir for winter cuisine, and would be perfect for cassoulet, pork roast, roasted roots vegetables, or pearl onions in gravy. The wine has strong, focused tannins and great rigid structure with incredible focus and concentration of character. Andrew Farquhar

  • red
  • 11 in stock
  • $44.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur
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Division 2017 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir "Un"

The 2017 Division Pinot Noir "Un" is sourced from a number of different single-vineyard sites throughout the Willamette Valley: Bjornson, Eola Springs, Armstrong, and Johan vineyards. Armstrong is certified organic, Johan vineyard is Demeter certified biodynamic, and the Bjornson vineyard has LIVE certification. As per Division's website: "Our oldest vines and first site, the Eola Springs vineyard, continues its multiyear transition to biodynamic farming while still being treated conventionally for Phylloxera (there’s no organic treatment) in the old vines and while we look forward to the day when we can say that all of our grapes are at the very least organically farmed, we will love and tend to those old vines as long as they’re productive." This wine has an amazing, almost ethereal elegance to it that makes the memory of it's drinking linger for quite some time. Aged in predominantly French oak, with Austrian oak making up the balance, 15% new, this wine has great freshness, with hints of a little exotic spice and finely integrated red fruit. The palate is full, but not heavy, with a seriously long finish. It’s dominated by wild and brambly strawberry flavors and dark mineral layers. Serve with tonkotsu ramen, roast chicken, grilled salmon, or pop it by itself at a house party because this wine shines right out of the glass by itself. Andrew Farquhar

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $28.99

  • Low Sulfur