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Clay Pigeon Winery

Clay Pigeon Winery 2013 Syrah

Pull! Hitting the mark with wine...

In his day job, winemaker Michael Claypool has helped the world’s biggest brands – Disney, Microsoft, Charles Schwab – tell their stories to the public. At Clay Pigeon Winery, he applies his creative brilliance to his winemaking.

Michael takes an experimental approach, questioning the “rules” of winemaking and challenging every assumption. Before starting Clay Pigeon, Michael did it all – working as a cellar rat, a wine retailer, a sommelier, and an assistant winemaker in Sonoma. He came to Portland dreaming of his own urban winery and started in his garage.

Today, Clay Pigeon is an urban winery in Portland. Michael’s partner, Sasha Davies, is a prominent cheesemonger and author of “The Guide to West Coast Cheese”. If you ever get the chance, don’t hesitate to let her pair wines with cheeses for you! (Despite the usual associations, cheese might be the hardest thing to pair well with wine.)

Why Clay Pigeon rather than the usual eponymous branding? Michael says he just wasn’t “keen on naming the winery after myself”. Shooting clay targets, Michael says, is a lot like winemaking: they’re shot into the air, and it’s your job to hit the mark “while it tries to get away from you.”

Clay Pigeon Winery

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Clay Pigeon Winery, Portland, Oregon
2013 Syrah

This is one gorgeous Syrah! Dark and velvety but smooth as silk.

You’ll notice that this is from 2013 – and has just been released! Winemaker Michael Claypool believes in aging his wine before release. This wine stayed in barrel for three years – and then in the bottle for another year before the public was allowed a taste. And we love the results!

Syrah can be found growing in cool climates and warm climates, leading to a huge range of wine styles. Clay Pigeon’s Syrah comes from the Rogue Valley, where the heat brings out the big dark fruit and a bit of herbal quality.

This Syrah has beautiful dark berry notes of black cherry and blackberry with hints of pepper, menthol and a little earthy funk (is that bacon?). Rich and velvety with mild tannins and a long finish, you’ll want to pair this with a grilled steak in summer or perhaps a chocolate dessert in winter (or, anytime, really!) Only 120 cases made.

A Cellar 503 selection in June 2018, Best of Pour Oregon 2018 Rogue Valley | Syrah