Illahe Vineyard has 60 acres of vines with seven varieties. The vineyard is one nine vineyards situated in the Mount Pisgah area, with silty clay loam soil unique to this area only. Illahe makes wine as naturally as possible from the soil to the bottle. This requires working by hand on small lots with age-old techniques and materials. Besides being organically farmed, they don’t use enzymes or additives, and don’t fine or filter their Pinot Noir. One of Oregon’s few horse-powered vineyards, they use a team of Percheron drafts to mow and deliver grapes to the winery at harvest. The Project 1899 Pinot Noir is made entirely by hand with no electricity or mechanization. Does that make a difference? Come and see.
This Grüner Veltliner has aromas of dried peach, honey crisp apple, and fresh cedar board. The wine is fermented partially in acacia barrels which offer herbal flavors and complex texture. The palate contains flavors of red grapefruit, graham cracker, and white nectarine.
2016 Pinot Gris $18
Illahe’s Pinot Gris is layered with complex fruit and starts with notes of crisp granny smith apple, bright lemon zest, and hints of clove, paired with light notes of papaya and starfruit. Neutral oak aging adds creaminess and texture with lingering flavors of almond butter and a spicy finish of cardamom.
2016 Viognier Willamette Valley $18
The Viognier leaps from the glass with expressive stone fruit, and floral aromas of apricot, tangerine, honey blossom and wet stone. The palate is layered with peach compote, banana peel, and lavender with a touch of uncrushed peppercorn. The wine is steel-fermented to preserve the grape variety’s food-friendly acidity and an off-dry palate.
2015 Estate Pinot Noir $23
The aromas of the Estate Pinot Noir begin with strawberry, tamarind, and blackberry then broaden along the palate to include chalk, tobacco leaf, chocolate, and earth. The acid supports a complete yet not overwhelming tannin balanced between skin and oak. The wine retains its velvet mouthfeel through a process of clarification by racking. For an entry level pinot, this wine is a great value and will last 6 to 12 years under the best conditions.
2014 Project 1899 Pinot Noir $ 68
The 1899 Pinot Noir was made without the use of modern winemaking equipment or electricity. This wine is hand-picked and brought to the winery by horse, hand destemmed and placed into wooden fermenters. It spontaneously fermented on its own. It is hand pressed in a wooden basket press, bicycle pumped into barrel, and encouraged through malolactic fermentation without inoculation. It is corked it by hand, and applied the label by hand. The 1899 never touched dry ice, canned nitrogen, enzymes, stainless steel, forklifts, packaged yeast, electric pumps, or filters. The wine goes to the river by stagecoach and canoes 90 river miles down the Willamette to Portland to the distributor’s warehouse. The wine shows aromas of burnt caramel, dried red fruits, blackberry jam, chocolate with brioche toast and earth with 5 spice and cinnamon.
Madrona Wine Merchants offers free wine tastings featuring 4-5 selections on a theme every Saturday from 2 until the bottles run out and on Sunday we offer a mini-tasting of two wines all day from 11-5.