Discovering a New Voice in Oregon Wine

The most rewarding aspect of working in the Oregon wine community is having the opportunity to support its growth, to help discover the voices that will shape its future. It's what we do. We're more than just another wine shop. We collaborate with wineries who inspire us, we help launch and promote their wines because we believe in them, and vice versa.

One such winery, one such inspiring voice is that of Anneka Miller, whose Burton Bittman Pinot noir is a truly distinct wine, a voice that speaks with humble authority and experience as well as youth and dynamism. Her voice and wine represent and honor multiple generations; they speak of the deep familial relationship she holds with the vines she grew up with. It's a voice you need to know.

Encouraged to make wine from her family's vineyard, by Jason Lett of The Eyrie Vineyards while she was finishing college, what began as a "why not?" notion turned to an epiphany of bliss. Knees buried in mud on a cool October morning in 2010, Anneka discovered her vocation. 

Burton Bittman Tukwilla Vineyard Pinot noir 2012

$32.35 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case* order ($35.95 regular)

Speaking of voices, this wine is positively singing right now! Anneka held back a small amount for our offering and wow, are we glad she did. Opening with glorious red fruit and minerals, melding to crushed raspberries, thyme, rose, cream, and sweet cherries. I hardly ever use the word "smooth" but there, I did it. There's plenty of cellar life ahead (another 4-6 years, at least) but this is in the zone right now. We highly encourage you to get some! Only a few of the 80 cases made remain. - Marcus 

Burton Bittman Tukwilla Vineyard Pinot noir 2014

$32.35 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case* order ($35.95 regular)

Aromatically expressive, jumping from the glass with Amarena cherry, incense, brown spices, and orange zest. Lively, focused, and spicy on the palate, adding red licorice and dried thyme hints through the red fruited finish. It is an understated wine (the essence of Pinot noir, no?) with persistence and underlying structure. We've had a bottle open for over three days and it is still developing. I recommend 2-6 years of age, or decanting and enjoying with herb-rubbed pork tenderloin. This is very much a Dundee Hills wine: elegance and purity of fruit over power. An April Reserve Pinot Noir Club selection. 94 cases made. - Marcus

Burton Bittman Cellar Case

$399.95 (save 12% from the regular prices)

Experience a three vintage vertical of Burton Bittman, including the very special 2013, of which only one barrel was produced. The case includes:

5 bottles 2012
2 bottles 2013 Special Reserve

5 bottles 2014

At right, Anneka in Tukwilla Vineyard

More about Burton Bittman

Burton Bittman is named for Anneka's grandmothers who gave her inspiration and strength. The Miller family's Tukwilla Vineyard, celebrating its 27th anniversary in 2017, is contiguous with Eyrie's Three Sister's Vineyard (there's no fence line). Anneka works with a special small block of her family's estate vineyard, a few rows from the original 1990 planting (which is now growing to include other blocks of the vineyard).

We featured Anneka's first vintage, 2010, in our September 2013 Reserve Pinot Noir Club. It was a huge hit, so much so that we didn't have enough to offer our larger mailing list (there were only 50 cases made). A whopping 80 cases of 2012 were produced, which meant we were fortunate to be able to share Anneka's wine and story. In 2013, only one special barrel (25 cases) was made. And in 2014, 94 cases! 

Burton Bittman Wines began in 1990 when a pair of young farmers bought a portion of a family farm in the Dundee Hills with the vision of creating their own family farm. Lee and Kathy Miller had an ambition to return to the rural experience of Kathy's upbringing in Northern California where her father farmed olives and prunes. Inspired by the wines they were drinking, and the stories they were hearing of a burgeoning wine grape growing and winemaking industry in Oregon, they decided to pursue buying land. Lee called David Lett ("Papa Pinot" and Oregon's pioneering winegrower) for advice, and was introduced to Joel Meyers, Lett's vineyard manager, who connected the couple with local realtor, Arno Fidel. After much searching both in vehicle and soul, things fell into place, and they purchased 46 acres of a "century farm" in the Dundee Hills in November 1987. With the collective support of family and friends, Lee and Kathy saw their first vineyard block planted on April 1, 1990 and continue to farm Tukwilla Vineyard sustainably.

In 2010, winemaker Anneka Miller -- oldest daughter of Lee and Kathy -- started producing a limited release of Pinot noir from Tukwilla fruit. With the support of her mentor Jason Lett, she continued to build her experience through the 2011 and 2012 vintages at The Eyrie Vineyards. In 2013 she flew to France to intern at Domaine Pavelot in Pernand-Vergelesses while earning her Brevet de Technicien Supérieur in viticulture and œnologie from the Centre de Formation Professionnelle et du Promotion Agricole in Beaune. Under the guidance of Luc Pavelot, she learned to appreciate the length of the day, the space around each vine, and the consequence of each bud, each shoot, each cluster.

With her grounding in the traditions of Oregon and Burgundy, Anneka's objective as winemaker each vintage is to shepherd all the complexity of the growing season through the fermentation process to create something authentically real, which captures and holds in liquid suspension the essence of all those details. She doesn't lay claim to a strict winemaking style, or ethos. For Anneka, and for her family, the motivation behind all their work is rooted in their love of the farm, the vines, and the annual cycle that deeply connects all of them to the earth.

Read more about Anneka, Burton Bittman, and a parallel story of inspiration and collaboration from Jason Lett.