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Brave Cellars 2016 Road Less Traveled Pinot Noir

“Smell this. Taste this...”

It was a game the three girls played with their dad. “Close your eyes. Smell this. Taste this. Guess what it is…” Moe Momtazi was determined to help his daughters heighten their senses and develop their palates.

It worked, particularly with the eldest daughter, Tahmiene. (Rhymes with “stamina”.)

Despite a family winemaking tradition that goes back four generations to Persia, it wasn’t a foregone conclusion. In fact, Tahmiene had actively rejected the idea and was considering medical school. But an advisor at Linfield College encouraged her to spend a summer around the winery, applying her scientific mindset. Before long, she was in the winemaking program at Oregon State, winning an exception from the state to allow her to participate even before she turned 21.

In 2007, just six years after Moe and his wife Flora founded Maysara Winery, she took over as winemaker. And the Pinot Noir she made just two years later was soon recognized as one of the top 100 wines by Wine Spectator.

A decade later, she and her husband Colin Smith founded Brave Cellars, with a goal of producing sustainable Pinot Noir wines that are elegant and affordable.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Brave Cellars, McMinnville, Oregon
2016 Road Less Traveled Pinot Noir

Brave Cellars sources its grapes entirely from the Momtazi family vineyard in the McMinnville AVA. When it comes to sustainability, Momtazi is leading the way – winning a biodynamic certification from Demeter International, perhaps the toughest certification to earn.

The Momtazi Vineyard is located near the entrance to the Van Duzer Corridor, a gap in the Oregon Coast Range that allows coastal breezes through to the Willamette Valley. The consistent winds make for tougher grape skins, and thus robust tannins; and cooler temperatures make for slower-ripening fruit and reduce acidity.

This is a lovely fruit-forward Pinot Noir with cherry and raspberry flavors leading the way. You might pick up some leather and pine tree notes on the nose. Three years after bottling, the tannins have nicely softened, making this an elegant and pretty wine. Enjoy it with lighter foods – roast pork, herbed chicken, grilled asparagus.

A Cellar 503 selection in May 2020, Women Winemakers McMinnville | Pinot Noir