We've never tasted a Northwest wine like this, because there's never been a wine like this made in Oregon or Washington. You could call it Oregon's answer to Amarone, but that still wouldn't quite capture the mad science and thrilling discovery that is Chad Stock's Phantom Limb.
An acre of Rogue Valley Petit Sirah was turned into two barrels of liquid mystery. There are 14 cases available and we intend to sell them all.Minimus #19 Phantom Limb 2013
$35.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case* order ($39.95 regular)
The Petit Sirah was ripened on the vine, then the canes were cut to allow the fruit to dry and desiccate (hence the Phantom Limbs and the comparison to Amarone). The grapes were harvested a month later, along with a small amount (roughly 15%) of "normal" Petit Sirah from the canes that couldn't be cut as not to damage the vines' ability to produce the following vintage. There was barely enough juice to make the wine, and the result was a stunningly deep red wine that totally captivated us. A January Northwest Big Reds Wine Club selection.
While it might seem contradictory, as Chad put it, the freshness is due to the sheer concentration. To give you a sense of the concentration, a normal harvest from an acre would yield 7 barrels; this yielded 2 (48 cases were bottled).
He was inspired by a couple things: a wine he had from the Marché, made in a similar fashion, and his experience in Australia's Clare Valley making dessert wines.
A wine like this can only happen under perfect conditions. Once the canes are cut (and before, really) it must be warm and more importantly, bone dry. Even a little moisture could cause rot in the grape clusters.
Chad Stock's Minimus wines are driven by equal parts intuition, experience, technique, process, and guts. Minimus wines are divided in two series: varietal-based (Gruner Veltliner, Grenache, etc.) and numerical-based (#19 Phantom Limb, for example). As Chad describes it, the beauty of the numerical series is to apply what he learns through the winemaking process to continually make better wines. - Marcus
And now for something completely different: a varietal-based Minimus wine that also turned our heads.Minimus Grenache Soloro Vineyard 2015
$26.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case* order ($29.95 regular)
If you drink the right Grenache, you know the combination of power and pretty that leaves an indelible impression. I've been on a Rhone kick of late (blame the super cold weather in Portland) and Chad's Grenache hit all the right spots. The Grenache from Applegate Valley's Soloro Vineyard was planted in 2007 using the plant material from Chateauneuf du Pape's famed Chateau du Beaucastel (by way of California's Tablas Creek). It's the right combination of stressed vines, rocky soil, location and elevation, vintage, and Chad's winemaking: this is outstanding. - Marcus