Paul O'Brien Wine 2013 Charlemagne

Paul O’Brien? He doesn’t exist.

Spend some time hanging with wine nerds in Southern Oregon, and you’ll hear over and over, “You’ve got to try Paul O’Brien’s wines.”

But don’t try to track down the famous winemaker Paul O’Brien. He doesn’t exist.

Rather, Paul O’Brien wines are the result of two decades of friendship and collaboration between two winemakers – Dyson Paul DeMara and Scott O’Brien Kelley.

They met working in for some of California’s most prominent wineries, but when Dyson (Paul) moved back to his home state of Oregon to take over Oregon’s oldest winery, Roseburg’s Hillcrest Winery, he encouraged his friend Scott (O’Brien) to do the same.

Scott had always had a real affection for the Umpqua Valley where he spent vacations with his family growing up, and it wasn’t long before his family made Roseburg home.

And not long after that, Scott and Dyson opened Paul O’Brien Winery, the first urban winery in the Umpqua Valley — housed in a historic brick warehouse in downtown Roseburg.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Paul O'Brien Wine, Roseburg, Oregon
2013 Charlemagne

After uniting the lands that are modern-day France, Germany, and Italy, Charlemagne was crowned the Holy Roman Emperor and is considered the “Father of Europe.” It’s no wonder that he had a passion for wine – specifically, red wine.

It seems, however, that his wife Luitgard was disgusted by the stains of red wine that permeated his beard. So, as befits the queen, she ordered his vineyards in Burgundy to be replanted with white wine grapes.

That hillside vineyard, Corton-Charlemagne, was planted in Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. Today, it’s exclusively Chardonnay, but the wine that achieved fame in the 8th century was most likely a field blend of both grapes.

And thus, the 2013 Charlemagne is a Burgundian style blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Blanc, pressed together prior to fermentation. Bright acidity alongside complex pear and stonefruit flavors blend with sweet vanilla oak to round out the wine.

A Cellar 503 selection in December 2015, Great for the Holidays Umpqua Valley | Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc

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