Tag Archives: Orange Wine

Big Table Farm: Wines from Oregon’s Willamette Valley

By Robin Alix Austin

It is impossible to meet Brian Marcy and Clare Carver and not fall in love with Big Table Farm. The winemaker/artist team produces outstanding wines from their 70 acre farm in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

The name comes from a desire to provide a gracious and welcoming table for enjoying handcrafted wine and food with friends. On the farm Brian and Clare have chickens, pigs and cows, in addition to a large garden. They are in the multi-year process of planting a vineyard; Big Farm Table’s current releases are made with grapes purchased from other growers.

I first tasted Big Table Farm’s wines at last year’s High Museum Wine Auction. Their Pinot Noir and Syrah were among my favorite wines at the trade tasting. At this year’s High Museum Wine Auction, Big Table Farm’s wines were of the same high quality.

What initially attracted me to Big Table Farm’s wine is the whimsical label art. Clare draws these images, inspired by life on their farm. The artistry continues inside the bottle, with Brian’s finesse.

The chanterelle label is Big Table Farm’s 2010 Riesling, made with grapes from Brooks Estate Vineyard. The wine is barrel-fermented in neutral oak and left on the lees for 10 months. This is a dry Riesling, with notes of white flowers, lemon and almond that are balanced with fresh acidity.

The wine with grass on the label is the 2010 Pinot Gris from Wirtz Vineyard. What makes this white wine interesting beyond its taste is its pale orange color. Similar to how red wine is made, the skin was left on the grapes for a short time as they were fermenting. In addition to the color, the skin adds a touch of tannin to the wine. Notes of orange peel, raspberry, watermelon and spice make this a fun wine to sip.

Pigs and a steer are the images for Big Table Farm’s two Pinot Noirs. Don and Roger (the pigs) are on the label for the 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Ronnie the steer is on the 2010 Resonance Vineyard Pinot Noir. It’s Ronnie’s second time appearing on a label; as a calf he was pictured on the 2009 Resonance Vineyard Pinot Noir.

Last year I wrote of the 2009 Pinot Noir, “[this is] Oregon Pinot at its finest . . . a must-taste for Pinot Noir fans.” I feel just as strongly about the 2010 Pinots. The Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is fresh and juicy with flavors of cherry, raspberry, cola and spice. The Resonance Vineyard Pinot Noir spent 10 months aging on the lees in 30% new French oak, which adds layers of vanilla, licorice and brown sugar to the ripe berry palate.

As with all of Big Table Farm’s wines, these Pinots are unfined and unfiltered.

Big Table Farm’s wine with the flatware artwork is the 2009 White Hawk Vineyard Syrah. This wine spent 22 months in 30% new French oak. Elegant and rich, the Syrah has flavors of blackberry, boysenberry, black pepper and cinnamon, with a long, satisfying finish.

From their table to yours, Big Table Farm’s wines are a real pleasure to drink.

For more information on Big Table Farm visit bigtablefarm.com.

This is part of a series of articles on wines from the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction. Click here to read more.

(Not So) Scary Wines for Halloween

Give your palate a scare this Halloween with some frightening wines.

There’s really nothing spooky about these wines — they just may not be as familiar to you as other reds and whites.

So go ahead, try something new. You may be scared how much you enjoy them!

 

Bull’s Blood

Bull’s Blood is the English translation of Egri Bikavér, a red wine from Hungary. This type of wine gets its name from a 16th century legend about a small group of Hungarian soldiers who withstood a siege of the fortress at Eger by 150,000 invading Turkish troops. The Hungarian soldiers were served red wine for motivation. Word spread among the Turkish troops that the wine was mixed with bull’s blood — the reason for the Hungarians’ inexplicable strength. The rumor demoralized the Turks, and the siege ended.

Ten different grapes are allowed to make up Egri Bikavér, though regulations state it must contain at least three. In general Egri Bikavér is a big and sometimes gamey red wine that has red and black fruit flavors. It pairs well with beef, game and hearty foods. Not all wine shops carry Hungarian wine so your best bet is to call ahead and ask.

Pinotage

Though Pinotage doesn’t have the most favorable reputation in the United States, you shouldn’t be scared to try this South African variety.  Pinotage was created in the 1920s by crossing Pinot Noir and Cinsault (known locally as Hermitage).

Selecting a bottle can be a trick or a treat. Done well, Pinotage can have flavors of chocolate, coffee, red fruit and smoke. Done poorly, Pinotage can taste gamey with notes of burnt rubber and rusted metal. The Amateur Gastronomer recommends the 2010 Dark Lady Pinotage, a lush and layered wine that shows just how good this grape can be.

Grüner Veltliner

There’s nothing scary about this white wine grape from Austria — except perhaps trying to pronounce it. This varietal produces food-friendly dry wines that have citrus and apple flavors with high acidity and minerality. Grüner Veltliner can pair with shellfish, seafood, poultry, spicy foods and Asian cuisine so it is perfect for whatever you’re serving at your Halloween party.

Grüner Veltliner is growing in popularity outside of Austria and is now grown in California, Oregon and the Finger Lakes region of New York.

Orange Wine

If you want to match the colors associated with Halloween, pick up a bottle of Orange Wine. This is white wine made in a similar way to red wine — skins from the white wine grapes are left in the juice, producing a darker color. The wine tends to be more intense in flavor than other white wines with notes of orange or tangerine and spicy ginger and sandalwood. Though rare and hard to find in most wine shops, Orange Wine is most commonly produced in Italy and (more recently) California.

Trockenbeerenauslese

It too may be scary to pronounce, but it is sweet to drink. Skip the Halloween candy and enjoy a glass of Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) instead. TBA is a German wine term that refers to the ripeness level of the grape. The riper the grape, the higher concentration of sugar; more sugar means a sweeter wine. TBA is the highest category in the German and Austrian classification system and the wines are intensely sweet. TBA wines are typically made from Riesling or Welschriesling. Look for it (or the less sweet Auslese) in the Germany, Austria or dessert wine sections of your local wine shop.

Happy Halloween and happy sipping!