The Best Elements of Oregon Wine: Hundred Suns

We had planned an even bigger celebration of Hundred Suns Week. Our enthusiasm for the truly outstanding wines and the wonderful people behind them makes us want to dance in the street! But...turns out we're not the only ones who love them—our mere hint at Hundred Suns' final Pinot noir from the old vines at their home vineyard, Breaker, was enough for our followers to gobble up all but a handful of cases. We are in no rush to sell the rest of 2019 Breaker—we love it and would prefer that it lasts forever.

You'll see Breaker listed below another exquisitely evocative new Hundred Suns wine: a Cab/Syrah from River Rock Vineyard in The Rocks District of Walla Walla. Winemaker Grant Coulter outdid himself with this one, creating a unique and delicious blend that—no surprise—immediately captivated us and continued to do so over days. Much like Breaker, the production and thus the supply is miniscule.

The warm and fuzzy feelings we have about Grant and Renee's Hundred Suns reminds us of the best elements of Oregon wine: unique voices, underdog determination, long partnerships, all underpinned by wines of intention and soul. We urge you to support small family wineries like Hundred Suns and we thank you for supporting us!

$39.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($44.95 regular)

Cabernet from a Pinot noir winemaker, and one of the best of them, we'll add.

This beautiful 80/20 Cab-Syrah is the biggest surprise among the new Hundred Suns releases and projecting months ahead, is guaranteed to be one of the year's standout bold reds. Explosive black and blue fruits mingle with dried herbs roasted red pepper accents and ultimately, it comes back to the fabulous fruit purity and the generous yet elegant texture and feel.

Grant had no preconceived notions about what Cab from The Rocks should be like, nor was he interested in "keeping up with the Joneses"—trying to compete with other producers' similar wines. 

He was focused on being gentle with every aspect of winemaking and particularly with his choice in aging vessel—half in terracotta amphora and half in neutral French oak.

"In making Pinot noir you’re always trying to bring out such delicate nuances—floral, herbal, blue vs. red fruits, talking hyper specifics like 'oh, is that tarragon?' because everything is so transparent," Grant explained. 

"With Cab and Syrah, there can be so many loud voices it’s hard to hear anyone speak. One of those loud voices is new oak. So, I worked to frame things in a fashion where there are fewer people in the room talking."

$54.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($59.95 regular)

We had planned a huge feature for 2019 Breaker—it is wholly deserving of the attention. Alas, after merely hinting at its release Monday, we're down to the last handful of cases. Ever.

The final vintage from the old vines at Grant and Renee's home vineyard; they purchased the aptly-named Breaker after falling in love with it, knowing they'd be lucky to get a few vintages from the phylloxerated vines. They made just two: last year's 2018 and now, this tiny 90 case batch of 2019.

We fell in love with Breaker last year, knowing that this year's release would be the old vines' swan song. What a song it is. A masterpiece. In stereo. Incredible, seemingly limitless energy. We opened our bottle on a Monday evening, finished with dinner Saturday and it was still on the upswing, generous and vibrant.

There are paragraphs more to write (wine club members will read them in the April newsletter as several cases are allocated to the Oregon Reserve Pinot club) but with only a handful of cases to share with the world, we're going to stop here. After all, we want to make sure we have several bottles left for ourselves.

$27.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($29.95 regular)

A tremendous value that has it all: great Chardonnay character, a rounded and mouth-filling texture, depth and intrigue, wonderful balance. This hits the nail on Grant's winemaking vision—to create a layered wine of great complexity that is, first and foremost, totally delicious! 

And speaking of value, we know what makes up the backbone of the 2020 Old Eight Cut: Koosah Vineyard. It is no understatement to say that Koosah is one of the handful of most exciting Oregon Chardonnay vineyards planted in the last five years. To have all that energy channeled into a sub-$30 Chard is electrifying!