Half-Bottle Heaven: Fire and Flood Pinot Noir

Getting into the world of top-tier Oregon Pinot Noir is usually so expensive for the average consumer, most will not even venture into the gorgeous art in a bottle that lies within. I think I've found a solution.

 
 Mark Tarlov, Chapter 24

Mark Tarlov, Chapter 24

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be there for the launch of all the new Mark Tarlov wines, the original founder of Evening Land. Evening Land made big waves in the wine world after it started up in 2005, with vested interests in both Oregon and Burgundy. They always made great wine and got fantastic press. I couldn't wait to see what the next project was. It ended up being two projects. The first is the now well known Maison L'Envoye line, which are some of our most popular Pinots and Cru Beaujolais and a separate higher-tier venture called "Chapter 24."

Today, we delve into the latter, Chapter 24 being so named after the 24th chapter of Homer's great epic, The Odyssey. The reunion and the resolution of the great sung poetry of one of the greatest stories ever told. With that we have two of their releases "The Fire" & "The Flood", both Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs, both with great press, both in half-bottle sizes and both at a price that makes a luxury wine actually approachable for anyone. Where a normal-sized 750ml bottle of either would be about $60 suggested retail, but a 375ml half sized bottle would only cost around $35. I want people to try these. I want everyone to have a chance to see why top-level Oregon Pinots are so revered.

 
2014Fire.jpg

Chapter 24 "The Fire"
2013 Pinot Noir
375ml "Half Bottle"

93 Points Wine & Spirits
Suggested Retail: $35
Our Price: $19.99

The cleverly named "Fire" of the duo comes from a nod towards the soil composition these vines were planted in. If you've never been up to the mountain ranges of the Pacific Northwest, especially in Oregon, you are missing one of the most beautiful views on the continent. The breathtaking Cascade range was heavily formed by violent volcanic activity, which caused mass destruction, but also the foundations that would later bring all sorts of varied life. This volcanic soil brings an incredible amount of deep-lying material to the surface, adding a complexity that can be grasped by the roots of the grapevine and by the skill of a very talented winemaker, into your glass.

"Once past the gingerbread spice and subtle oak presence, the 2013 Fire is like a platonic statement of Jory and Nekia soil expression, its pulpy red-cherry fruit given a dusty lift from that red-dirt grippiness. The tannin-acid structure is at once subtle and gentle, propping up a ferrous, volcanic minerality that lends grace, length and even lift to a subtly assertive wine. "

-Wine & Spirits Magazine

Chapter 24 "The Flood"
2013 Pinot Noir
375ml "Half Bottle"

93 Points Wine & Spirits
Suggested Retail: $35
Our Price: $19.99

The equally cleverly named Flood of the duo gets it's name from the cataclysmic Missoula Floods. Over 13,000 years ago these massive geologic deluges reshaped the land with 2,000 years of reoccurring events across the Pacific Northwest, and with it the soil drastically changed. Sedimentary soils were flushed across the land, leaving deposits where hidden gems of the perfect Pinot growing conditions would later be taken advantage.

I remember as a child, there was a a severe flood that almost came up to our house, on a hill which we later learned was a 100 year flood plain. It was a bit frightening, but luckily it didn't climb all the way up to the house. After it receded, my father surveyed the land, finding huge deposits of silt we could use. He told me how farming along the Nile and other large agricultural civilizations could exist because of the fertility of this flood-brought treasure. Talk about silver linings...I thought we were going to lose our home!

Floods bring destruction and chaos, but they can change the landscape in a way few things can. The vines planted on the once heavily flooded lands of the Willamette Valley are a testament to that.

"The 2013 Flood derives from the Willamette Valley’s ocean-influenced, sedimentary soils. Quiet and firm at the outset, it develops with air, taking on a dark-cherry scent and a tarry depth of flavor. It’s not until it’s been open for two days that the fruit brightens into strawberry accents, becoming fleshy and mouthfilling in its ripeness. This needs time in the bottle to knit; then serve with duck breast."

-Wine & Spirits Magazine

Do not pass up these two excellent wines. If you have ever had an Oregon Pinot and enjoyed it, treat yourself and pick up both of these wines. I know I'm going to load up on some, as it's near impossible to find such high-quality wine in half bottles for this sort of price. Enjoy!

 

Cheers,

Zach Cherry
Wine Director & CMS Certified Sommelier