51Weeks Winemaking 2015 Pinot Gris

Out of chaos, came clarity. And wine.

Steel is forged in fire. Diamonds come from geologic pressure. And the best wines come from vines that struggle and thirst. For Matt and Nancy Vuylsteke, the name “51 Weeks” represents a period in their lives where they faced chaos, tragedy, and loss – bookended by the wonder of the birth of their “Irish twins”, just 51 weeks apart.

As Nancy says, “It was from this utter chaos that our priorities became crystal clear. What nearly killed us became a catalyst. ... After a jarring, life altering period of exactly 51 weeks, everything in our world changed. Out of the chaos, came clarity. And wine.”

After years of working in wineries – as a cellar rat, winemaker, and winery management consultant – Matt is the chief winemaker. And Nancy is the chief “of everything else”. 51 Weeks represents their commitment to a deeply personal and family-focused approach to winemaking. One that reflects their genuine, warm, and welcoming attitude.

Producing just a few hundred cases a year at the Southeast Wine Collective, 51 Weeks wines can be hard to find – and they’re worth savoring every single drop.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

51Weeks Winemaking, Portland, Oregon
2015 Pinot Gris

Sure, there’s lots of cheap, simple, and fruity Pinot Gris that’s great drinking by the half-gallon on a hot summer day. And I won’t begrudge you that. But in the hands of the right winemaker, Pinot Gris can rich, expressive, and full of character. You know, the kind of wine to take home to meet your parents.

This Pinot Gris from 51 Weeks was grown at a high altitude, over 900 feet, and because of the cooler climate it was able to hang on the vine much longer than usual – intensifying the flavors of the grapes. Matt and Nancy also kept the grapes on the stems – a whole cluster press – adding some spicy character. And they did a partial aging steel drums on the lees – dead yeast cells – and blended the wine back into stainless steel tanks, contributing creaminess and balance.

In the end, you get aromas of pear and melon with hints of nuts and cinnamon. An elegant minerality on the palate with lots of pear and hints of nuttiness. This is a rich and unique representation of Pinot Gris.

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

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