CHAD STOCK OF MINIMUS WINES – E&R Wine Shop; Portland, OR (7/17/2014)

Chad Stock has been making many wonderful wines for established wineries in the Willamette Valley for a few years. He’s also been making his own breed of unique and adventurous wines under his Minimus brand. The majority of his wines are experimental projects that make him look a bit like an enological mad scientist. However, there is precedent for most, if not all of these projects from other wine makers in the world. The folks at E&R undertook a wonderful project to showcase Chad’s wines alongside the wines that inspired him to try this or that style of wine making. Listening to Chad talk, you can tell that everything is done with research, intent, and care. Chas and I talk about him as the walking encyclopedia of wine, and it’s really fun to see all of that knowledge come into play with these interesting projects.

When there’s this much variety, it’s almost guaranteed that some styles will work well for you, and some won’t. Many of these wines are from styles that inspire banal rants from writers looking to troll the wine enthusiast public, and I do love finding wines that I truly enjoy among “risky” or unpopular styles. I also enjoy trying to wrap my brain and palate around something new. It happens a lot when someone starts drinking wine, but as preferences evolve, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, or to have a standard baseline against which to compare future wines. While they certainly exist, have nothing in memory to which I can compare sparkling Blaufrankisch, or amphora aged Gruner Veltliner.

While he isn’t one to court celebrity, I think that Chad will continue building a reputation for making fantastic and interesting wines in the Willamette Valley for many years to come. I’m always excited to try his new projects, and I encourage you to do the same if you have the opportunity.

  • NV Minimus Wines No.10 “24 Months” – USA, Oregon
    The nose has lots of earthy funky smells to it, with salami, water that reminds me of a river, and a prairie in the hot summer sun. The texture on the palate is quite nice. The bubbles give levity to the funky notes, and bring a sensation of clarity to apple flavors . Combined, the funk and apples leave a cider like impression on the finish. (87 points)
  • 2012 Azienda Agricola Terenzuola Vermentino Colli di Luni – Italy, Tuscany/Liguria, Colli di Luni
    Chalk and lemon peel scents are in the forefront, and a hit of something floral is present as well. The chalk appears on the palate as well, lightly, and lifted by an overall round texture. Despite the round feeling, it maintains a sense of lightness due to some nice acidity. The mouth feel is interesting and engaging. Overall, it’s clean, subtle, and elegant. 89+ (89 points)
  • 2013 Minimus Wines Vermentino Troon Estate – USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
    Deep pear scents show in the glass, with some mandarin orange, and dried field corn adding complexity. Some pears appear when tasted, and round banana flavors become dominant on the mid palate. Green apple flavors linger on the finish, along with some funky flavor that stays underneath the apples. There seems to be a touch of tannin drying things out late. 87+ (87 points)
  • 2010 Dauvissat-Camus Chablis 1er Cru La Forest – France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru
    Great peach and mineral scents fill the glass and display gorgeous depth. Blind, I’d be very confident that this was Riesling, which is a surprising experience. This is awesome when tasted. Citrus with great depth flows across the palate while light floral notes float above it. Even acidity has excellent texture to it, and ripe peaches are spiced up by a touch of evergreen later. (93 points)
  • 2012 Minimus Wines Chardonnay No. 6 Dijon Free Johan Vineyard – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    This shows great aromatics. Tart kiwi, banana, and dried earth all work together on the nose while some apple scents appear subtly beneath them. The texture is full on the palate, lightened by tart acidity that rolls in hand-in-hand with some green apple flavors on the mid palate. This wine was fermented in ½ barrels, and the oak presents itself well later on. Acidity, tart flavors, and a touch of chalk linger on the finish. 88+ (88 points)
  • 2011 Azienda Agricola Cos Pithos Bianco Sicilia IGT – Italy, Sicily, Sicilia IGT
    The nose here shows pears, Mirabelle plums, and an edge of perfume. If I knew more about perfume, I could probably say something interesting about it, but I don’t. When tasted, it’s gentle on contact with a crazy burst of Mirabelle and tart green apples arriving on the mid palate. The pure flavors persist along with good acidity on the finish. A faint savory flavor shows itself after a few tastes. The wine seems to have an intensely pure core, making every sip engaging. 90+ (90 points)
  • 2013 Minimus Wines A.D. Beckham MMXVII Johan Vineyard – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    I was amazed to hear that this wine was had pressed! Literally, after 77 days of time on the skins, the grapes were removed from clay jar and squeezed one handful at a time. The nose is full of spice and complexity. I smell nutmeg, pepper, and oranges along with some evergreen scents and minerality that reminds me of stones in a pure stream. It really draws you into the glass. When tasted, the core of this wine is full of mineral and spice. Pepper flavors carry strongly through the entire experience, but never dominate the other flavors. Gentle but pure apple flavors show themselves early, and the acidity has a touch of lemon character. Some green apple flavors peak out to mingle with the pepper on the finish. There’s some great complexity here, each sip is interesting. 91+ (91 points)
  • 2007 Paolo Bea Arboreus – Italy, Umbria, Umbria IGT
    Earthy scents are full here, along with a fruity funk reminding me of grapes left out on the counter. Some tart apple scents show, as well as something that reminds me of fresh varnish. It’s quite tart on contact, with a core of apple flavors and acidity. The tannins provide some good structure, but some flavors remind me of pond water, and detract from the other elements a bit. (85 points)
  • 2012 Minimus Wines Sauvignon Blanc No. 4 43 Days – USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
    The nose is immediately engaging, showing lemon popsicles and bright, full grapes. On the palate, the acidity builds a great frame that holds a wonderful core of lemon, again reminding me of popsicles, The balance and enjoyable flavors are very persistent making for a lovely finish. 90+ (90 points)
  • 2010 Clos du Tue-Boeuf Cheverny La Gravotte – France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Cheverny
    The nose on this is pretty complex and quite funky. Roses and a core of ripe cherries are complicated by green vines, some tire rubber, and a touch of vinegar. On the palate, it shows a strong core of minerality. Sour cherries rest on chalky texture while a bit of rubber and beef broth appear on the background. The rose petals linger nicely on the finish. (87 points)
  • 2011 Minimus Wines #5 Reduction – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, McMinnville
    This is dark and full on the nose, with lots of tobacco, dark chocolate, a skunky note, and some dark meat scents appearing in the glass. It’s tart when tasted, with lemons and sour cherries making up most of the fruit. The structure is good, but the skunk flavor sticks around. It doesn’t work for me, but I know some folks will probably enjoy it. (80 points)
  • 2011 Éric Texier Côtes du Rhône Saint-Julien-en-Saint-Alban Vieille Serine Domaine de Pergaud – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Saint-Julien-en-Saint-Alban
    Complex aromas are in the glass here. It works its way through roast pork with baked apples, dried trees in the forest, and chocolate covered cherries. When tasted, leather flavors come out right away, along with a dusty structure. Fruit only shows itself later, with pure cherry flavors appearing under the dusty persistent tannins. The acidity is well balanced, but the tannins stay full and linger long. This wine has no added sulfur. So, I feel like the wine will be much better in time, as the tannins mellow, and I hope that the lack of sulfur doesn’t cause it any trouble. (87 points)
  • 2012 Minimus Wines Syrah Stella Maris – USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
    This delivers a crazy burst of aromas. Blackberry scents are buried under dry brown earth, lilac scents show faintly, and blueberries appear in the background as well. This smells wonderful. Spice, pepper, and leather lead things off on the palate. Big, full, dusty tannins fill the mouth and persist long. There’s a lovely core of raspberries and blueberries underneath the bold tannins, and some sour cherry acidity to keep things fresh. 89+ now, and I’m quite confident that this will be very enjoyable after a few more years in bottle. (89 points)
  • NV Patrick Bottex Vin du Bugey-Cerdon La Cueille – France, Savoie, Vin du Bugey-Cerdon
    Strawberry scents are wrapped in dark bread crust and lifted with a zest of lime. Real nice strawberry flavors show immediately when tasted. There is a depth to the fruit that lingers along with light rose petal flavors. A touch of cream gives a bit of richness and complexity toward the finish while strawberry flavors linger. This is friendly and lovely. (89 points)
  • 2014 Minimus Wines Blaufrankisch Celilo Vineyard – USA, Oregon/Washington, Columbia Gorge
    The bouquet has very nice complexity here. Roses and grilled hamburger scents rise above more subtle strawberries and mineral notes. The bubbles provide nice texture on the palate, and mineral character quickly reveals itself in the glass. Strawberry flavors edge toward over-ripe, and are mixed with a touch of cream, and something tart that works well with the bubbles to make this feel very lively. (88 points)

Many thanks to Chad Stock and E&R for putting together and promoting such an excellent event!

Posted from CellarTracker

Chas was very excited about doing a show on German Pinot Noir. We picked up a bottle of 2011 Maximin Grünhäuser Spätburgunder during a tasting visit, and Chas selected a 2009 Markus Molitor Brauneberger Mandelgraben * Pinot Noir from the Weinhaus Porn in Bernkastel. While spending an evening in Trier, we had time to taste them together in front of the camera. We were also enjoying some Federweisser from Weingut S. Scharfbillig, and wanted to talk about that as well.

 

Why isn’t anyone doing Federweisser in Oregon?

Before we get into content from Germany, we wanted to do one more regular show. We also wanted to get back to drinking some Oregon Pinot Noir! Chas picked up three bottles near the $20 price point for this week, and they all proved to be good examples of different styles. Something for everyone! We taste the 2013 Willamette Valley bottlings from Evesham Wood, Purple Hands, and the Klee Pinot Noir from Roots.

 

What content from our trip to Germany are you most interested in seeing?

While making his Black Cap Pinot Noir in 2010, Jason Lett of The Eyrie Vineyards made a musical experiment in the cellar. Two lots of wine were split out from the main batch, with one receiving music from Hildegard von Bingen (Wiki, Music), and the other from John Coltrane (Wiki, Music). All other aspects of wine making were the same for all three batches. Does it make a difference? We had to find out.

 

What is the craziest wine making experiment you’ve ever heard of?

This show features Dan’s selections of two wines from different vintages. At a recent visit to Brooks near Amity, Dan ended up talking with winemaker Chris Williams about his personal label, Terue. We’re both fans of his current 2011 Dry Muscat. He said that he made a Pinot Noir in 2010 with fruit from the York Hill Vineyard in the Columbia Gorge, and has been aging it until he felt it was ready. He thinks that it’s doing pretty well now, and offered us a sample bottle to taste. For the second wine, Dan picked up a bottle of 2012 Timothy Malone Pinot Noir after it made a good impression in a tasting. The wines are very different, letting Pinot Noir show off a little of its complexity.

 

 

What vintages from the recent past would you like to see us taste in future episodes?

This week we continue our exploration of current release Oregon Chardonnay with three more bottles. We taste the 2012 versions of the Arthur Chardonnay from Domaine Drouhin Oregon, the Freedom Hill Chardonnay from St. Innocent, and the Willamette Valley Chardonnay from Crowley.

 

Where would you like to go tasting with us?

Chas picked up 4 bottles of Chardonnay this week, and asked me to bring one. We didn’t want to do all 5 on a single show, so we’ve split them into two. For this episode, we taste the 2012 Ayoub Dundee Hills Chardonnay, and the 2012 Evesham Wood Le Puits Sec Chardonnay.

 

 

What is your wine of choice during the summer?

 

 

We return to DePonte Cellars for our yearly visit with Isabelle Dutartre. She’s got a lot of experience with Pinot Noir, both in her native Burgundy, and in Oregon, and her wines are always among our favorites. She makes a few different barrel selection wines from the Dundee Hills estate fruit, and one wine from the new Lonesome Rock Vineyard just outside of Yamhill Carlton. We taste the 2011 Lonesome Rock Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, Estate Pinot Noir, Baldwin Family Reserve Pinot Noir, and the 2010 Shirley’s Gran Reserva Pinot Noir.  

Stuart Pigott has spent lots of time exploring the world of Riesling, and has just released his book, Best White Wine On Earth: The Riesling Story. He maintains a Riesling focused blog, and came to Portland to participate in the 2014 Riesling Invasion. He was kind enough to taste a few wines with us, and to discuss some ideas about pairings, and Oregon wine culture. We taste the 2013 Trisaetum Ribbon Ridge Estate Riesling, the 2011 Viento Dry Riesling from Old Vines, and the 2012 Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr GG Riesling.   What is the best Oregon Riesling not mentioned in Stuart’s book? He’s offered a bottle of Riesling from his personal cellar to the best answer!

Chas picked up a couple of bottles from Storyteller Wine Company last week, and they came in handy when we decided to do a show on fairly short notice. We weren’t sure that we’d get one together this week, but everything worked out. These two wines are current releases, and very nice examples of what sparkling wines without dosage can taste like. We taste the 2011 Kramer Brut Zero Dosage, and the Syncline Scintillation.   What are some of your favorite sparkling wines from the West Coast of the United States?