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Clay Pigeon Winery

Clay Pigeon Winery 2014 Syrah

Pull! Hitting the mark with wine...

In his day job, winemaker Michael Claypool has helped the world’s biggest brands – Disney, JetBlue, Google, Nike – 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.

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
2014 Syrah

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

You’ll notice that this is from 2014 – and has just been released! Winemaker Michael Claypool believes in aging his wine before releasing them. 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 three different vineyards around Oregon: The Rogue Valley’s Belmont Vineyard and Sam’s Valley Vineyard, and Windhorse Vineyard (formerly Volcano Ridge) in the Columbia Gorge.

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, a French cassoulet, or just a slab of dark chocolate! Only 75 cases made.

A Cellar 503 selection in February 2021, Oregon Classics Oregon | Syrah