Twill Bracken Vineyard Pinot Noir 2022
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Some wines become special even before they become wines…and even before the vineyard they come from bears fruit. It is a harvesting and harnessing of potential, a special place transmitted through vine to fruit to bottle to glass by a cherished friend.
I walked the vineyard that is Bracken before I knew it was Bracken; the breathtaking site sits on a bench above Sojeau vineyard. Dear friends live on the Sojeau property–we’d hike the perimeter of Sojeau to the top and, with permission of course, let ourselves through the deer fence. I remember the first time I saw Bracken: I was breathless and not just from the climb in elevation, feeling a combination of awe at what was a truly perfect vineyard site and envy that it wasn’t mine!
A cluster of ancient oaks greeted me, then a sea of baby vines each still protected by its own milk carton (it’s what they use, odd as that seems and looks). This was all looking east. When I turned 180 degrees to face west, the magic became more apparent–I was staring at the Van Duzer Corridor (the gap in the Coast Range mountains that funnels cool ocean air into the Eola-Amity Hills) and ultimately, if I could see it, the Pacific Ocean. I recall thinking then, and feeling today: I haven’t seen a more ideal vineyard site in the Willamette Valley.
But it takes more than an ideal site to make a special wine. First, it takes dedicated stewards of the land–Shelby Perkins and Peter Harter clearly fit that description. Together they bring two or more lifetimes of smartypantsness to organic and Biodynamic viticulture; they work in tandem with one of the true greats of Willamette Valley winegrowing, Stirling Fox and his team.
More familiar to our readers will be the winemaker, Chris Dickson of Twill Cellars. Our esteem for Chris–as a winemaker and as a person–runs deep and wide. Frankly, he doesn’t get the recognition he’s earned, partly because Twill’s production is so small that it remains an “insider find” in Willamette Valley wine, and partly because Chris is humble and understated, and he’s not a self-promoter. So, we’ll promote for him.
We adore what Chris has done with the 2022 Bracken. It’s his authentic Pinot noir voice, one of understated yet evocative authority, the kind that cuts through a crowded room because of its tenor. I dare say it even runs counter to what I know of Chris–’22 Bracken is a bit of a showman, with flair and exuberance. But perhaps he’s channeling an inner voice when he describes it as “simply delicious out of the gate.” He’s also right–it’s fantastic, a complete and complex young wine that we believe to be the best Pinot he’s made.
Chris’s always-descriptive, colorful, and spot-on notes: evocative and persistent. Staining aromas of crushed raspberry, earth, pomegranate, and sarsaparilla are followed with brooding bass notes of licorice, blueberry and allspice. Acids and structure feel in unison, with flavors of candied orange, steeped cherries and earth.
There were only 62 cases produced–see above about Twill’s tiny production. A true gem we strongly encourage you to try now so that you can add more to your collection before it disappears.