A masterpiece. Pure energy. In stereo. The maximum color palette, mixing reds and blues and blacks, creating a landscape of depth and dimension. - Marcus
“One of the most distinctive wines I’ve ever made. It’s an incredible expression of Willamette Valley fruit, love it or hate it,” Grant joked.
Well, we love it! And truthfully, we’re not sure anyone could hate it.
“The decrepit vines gave us such incredible raw material. From the moment we de-stemmed the tiny clusters, the juice was turning purple immediately. We harvested just over one ton per acre on the 28th of September. One portion was de-stemmed into a small, open-top fermenter, what you might call a ‘normal’ fermentation. The second portion was placed 100% whole bunch in a 500-liter amphora and left untouched for 19 days. The last portion was left 100% whole bunch and foot-crushed only. All the lots were fermented with native yeast.
“Early on, when it was in barrel, Renee would say ‘I do not understand this wine.’ It was blueberries with mint, tea leaf and hay and all these odd aromatics that I had experienced over the years…she remained skeptical, signing off with ‘as long as its good!’
“Once it was in the bottle it turned out to be a fascinating wine, a dramatic landscape of rich blue fruits, tense acidity buoyed by sweet tannins, and mouth filling richness.
Whenever we pour it for people their heads snap back, like ‘what is this?!, its crazy!’ But they really seem to gravitate towards it.”
I told Grant that my bottle was finished on day five and it was still fresh and exciting. “Oh yeah, it stays drinkable for 7-8 days open and should age for a long time. I bottled a bunch of magnums; I want my kids to be drinking this 20 years from now, which isn’t to say it isn’t guzzle-able now!”
Grant and Renee purchased their home vineyard, Breaker, in 2018. A tiny 3 acres, “we’re the small guy, that’s what we could afford and even that was a huge stretch for us,” he admitted.
Planted in the early ‘70s, the original owner never made his own wine off it. The property was for sale for a long time; each looker knew what Grant and Renee did: it would have to be re-planted soon.
“It was a burden no one else wanted to take on. We had faith we could work it for at least a couple vintages. It was like falling in love with someone who has a terminal diagnosis. I had fallen in love with this type of soil and our dream was to live there and to farm it. We got two amazing vintages from it, 2018 and 2019, and now we’re going to rework and revitalize the soil with humans and vines.”