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Helioterra Wines

Helioterra Wines 2015 Dion Vineyard Syrah

For the love of the land

How did a gal from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, grow up to become one of Oregon’s up-and-coming winemakers?

Growing up on the shores of Lake Michigan, Anne Ebenreiter Hubatch felt a deep connection to the land around her. In college, she studied geology with an eye toward becoming an environmental policy wonk. She started down that path, as a political organizer and environmental activist.

But politics doesn’t often come with tangible results, and as Anne says, “it’ll drive you to drink!”

Soon enough, her passion for the land found its expression in her hands – as a winemaker. After several years of working for well-known wineries in the Willamette Valley, Anne struck out on her own and launched her own label and her first vintage in 2009.

Of course, once an organizer, always an organizer. In addition to her own labels, Whoa Nelly! and Helioterra, Anne has helped organized Guild, a cooperative of four Portland winemakers working together to make great wine.

Photo credit: Joshua Chang

Helioterra Wines

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Helioterra Wines, Portland, Oregon
2015 Dion Vineyard Syrah

Willamette Valley Syrah? Yep, this is a unique one! While Syrah is considered a Rhône grape and Willamette Valley is often compared to the Rhône region in France, there is almost no Syrah planted in the Valley.

Syrah is one of those grapes that is grown in many different climates leading to vastly different expressions of the grape depending on where it comes from. In our neck of the woods, Syrah is usually grown in warmer regions leading to a deeper, more intense wine.

This cool climate Syrah bursts with aromas of white peppercorn and clove. There are some delicate floral notes thanks to a small amount (3%) of Viognier co-fermented with the Syrah – as well as bigger flavors of brown butter and caramelized leeks. There are still some firm tannins on this wine, though less than in a warmer climate Syrah, and the palate stays spicy and juicy. Winemaker Anne feels this is one of the most amazing and unique wines she has ever made!

A Cellar 503 selection in March 2018, Battle of the Varietals Willamette Valley | Syrah