Franchere Wine Company 2016 Havlin Vineyard Grüner Veltliner

Exploring Oregon’s natural bounty

It was 1811. A young Montreal native, Gabriel Franchère, was aboard the ship Tonquin as a merchant apprentice. Abandoned in the Falklands, Franchère and seven mates chased down the Tonquin in a rowboat. After rounding Cape Horn (and averting mutiny in Hawaii), the Tonquin arrived at the mouth of the Columbia. They established Fort Astoria and Franchère left the crew to explore the natural beauty of Oregon. Good thing, too, because the entire crew was soon killed in a trade dispute and the ship sunk.

It’s that love of exploration and the natural beauty of Oregon that motivates Franchère’s great-great-great-grandson, winemaker Mike Hinds. His wine journey started in Chicago, working retail in a wine shop. But a stunning Vouvray inspired Mike to explore winemaking and to come home to Oregon.

He quickly discovered that the wines he loved were natural wines – no added chemicals or pesticides, native yeasts, little influence from new oak. Starting as a cellar rat at Illahe Vineyards, a winery committed to environmental sustainability, Mike’s first commercial vintage was in 2013. He’s stayed true to the natural wine movement, using dry-farmed grapes, disdaining added yeast and new oak, and working to simply express the grapes in the bottle.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Franchere Wine Company, Woodburn, Oregon
2016 Havlin Vineyard Grüner Veltliner

Grüner Veltliner is the national grape of Austria, mostly grown in the hills around Vienna along the Slovakian and Czech borders. There’s not much grown in Oregon, though the Havlin Vineyard is known for producing excellent Grüner, as the grape seems to love the soils and develops complex flavors because of the unique soil type.

A dry white wine grape, it can range from intense and exotic to a textured and herbal wine that’s food-friendly.  As Austrian winemaker Emmerich Knoll put it, “You can taste ten Grüner Veltliners and still cannot say, ‘I know what Grüner Veltliner tastes like.’”

This edition from Franchere is a bit intense and certainly food friendly. Savory with aromas of orange oil, yellow plums and baking spices make it a perfect winter white wine. On the palate you’ll taste fresh orchard fruit, white pepper, and a touch of honey.

The wine took a full twelve months to finish fermenting, a long slow process sitting on the lees and aging in acacia barrels and steel tank, giving it a unique texture. The crisp acid balances the intense fruit. Ultimately, it’s a lovely and creamy wine that will be a wonderfully complex addition to your holiday table.

A Cellar 503 selection in December 2018, Winter Warmers Willamette Valley | Grüner Veltliner

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