Guillén Family Wines 2014 Esteban Pinot Noir
Vineyard laborer to head winemaker
The Oregonian’s Katharine Cole once wrote, “Jesus Guillén may be the most driven and intellectually gifted winemaker working in Oregon today.”
High praise for a young man who was never professionally trained and who began his wine career laboring in the fields. In 2002, Jesus emigrated from Mexico – computer engineering degree in hand – and found vineyard work and cellar work at White Rose Estate. To expand his skills, he bought and read all the books assigned by a local viticulture program (but didn’t enroll) and spent his free time quizzing local winemakers about their work. By 2008, he was White Rose’s head winemaker. And in 2009, he won the highest Wine Advocate score ever awarded for an Oregon Pinot Noir.
And since 2009, he’s been producing his own wines under the Guillén Family Wines label.
While Jesus has found his path from laborer to winemaker, he’s not sanguine about the challenges. Over the past decade, he’s seen vineyard managers holler racial slurs at the immigrant workers in the fields. By participating in the Red, White & Black documentary film, Jesus hopes his story will open doors for other immigrant to climb the ranks of the wine industry become winemakers and winery owners in Oregon.
Cellar 503 Tasting Notes
Guillén Family Wines, Dayton, Oregon
2014 Esteban Pinot Noir
Until recently, the entire production of Guillén Family Wines was sold to an exclusive list of club members. We’re thrilled to share his 2014 Esteban Pinot Noir with Cellar 503 members.
Jesus has a strong winemaking philosophy: Use 100% whole clusters (rather than mechanized destemming), native yeast, and stir the fruit rather than punch it down. The process has raised eyebrows from winemakers, but the results speak for themselves.
The 2014 Esteban Pinot Noir is a blend from three Willamette Valley vineyards. Unlike many of his wines, the Esteban is designed for early drinkability. You’ll find dark raspberry and plum on both the nose and the palate, with hints of dark chocolate hiding in there as well. Just 127 cases produced.