It’s always weird winning awards, especially this early in the game (a single vintage in the bottle to our name). It feels like awards are supposed to be some grand culmination of a lifetime of work and toil. In fact, in the wine industry, it usually takes many vintages to be recognized at all.
This is why being named Oregon Wine Press’s 2016 Persons of the Year is such a surreal experience for all of us involved. In fact, when the editor for Oregon Wine Press, Hilary Berg emailed Ben, she told him she read about us and wanted to recognize Dauntless for our mission and work to come, I spent the next few weeks pretty sure I read about it in a particularly lucid dream.
Since leaving the Marine Corps a decade ago, I have been continually humbled by the care others, particularly in the NW, take toward taking care of veterans. I have always felt that we have never been pitied or held on some pedestal irrationally high above anyone else, but are taken for what we are, people who want to help the world.
It's never too early to taste wine! That is, our 2015 Pinot Noir has only been in barrel for two months and we're already smelling and tasting fantastic aromas and flavors. I took the opportunity this past weekend to decant our two 2015 Pinot Noir's and am very ecstatic about their progress!
Decanting is the method of pouring wine from one container into another in order to aerate and/or separate naturally occurring sediment. Aeration helps form esters (aromas) that would otherwise be hidden from sensory perception.
However not all wines should be decanted; aged wines can be close to their oxygen saturation limit and should only be decanted to remove sediment. But we're drinking young 2015 Oregon Pinot Noir! So needless to say, these wines need a lot of oxygen in order to "open up".
Barrel tasting is more than simply enjoying the fruits of our labor; it is an important part of the maturation process that hints of what's to come. We smell for predominant aromas, including those that indicate trouble inside the barrel. Taking detailed tasting notes is critical because the sensory analysis can help us decide if adjustments need to be made.
I hear it over and over, “Well, I’m just not a big red wine drinker”, or “but whites are just so easy”, or even "I feel like red wine is fancier than I usually drink." For the longest time, all I could do was shake my head and wonder inwardly what caused them to go so astray. I usually push a bottle of pinot noir (Willamette Valley, of course) on them and urge them to go home and find something that doesn’t pair with it, or just to sit back and give it a try.
The world of reds is not relegated to those with deep purses or finely tuned palates. Red wine, and more specifically Pinot Noir are wine of the people.
The Pinot is an ancient grape. It’s finicky, hard to grow, and challenging to make into wine. But the result of all that work reveals wine that pairs with most food from fish to duck and strips of crispy bacon. The creation is wine that is great on warm days sitting outside and cooler winter feasts of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
2014 was an unprecedented year for Oregon wine with ideal growing conditions that delivered a record amount of exceptional, well balanced fruit. In fact, 2014 was the hottest year on record, and delivered 39% more fruit than 2013.
Now that 2015 is in the books it looks like it will surpass the legendary 2014 vintage in heat, yield, and balance; producing another exceptional vintage that will define the future of Oregon viticulture. 2014 & 2015 could be the beginning of a string of great, once in a lifetime, vintages!
2015 yielded ten barrels for Dauntless Wine; all of it out of the Chehalem Mountains AVA. The Chehalem is known for its volcanic soil layered with ocean sediment; this combination has a tendency to bring out dark fruits with peppery aromas. We are aging two barrels of Pommard, and eight barrels Wädenswil; which compliment each other perfectly...