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Bluebird Hill Cellars

Bluebird Hill Cellars 2017 Red Blend

Yes, there really are bluebirds here!

What’s a wine-loving biochemistry professor do when living in Florida? Well, make wine in the garage, of course. Fortunately for Neil Shay, his dream job at Oregon State’s Department of Food Science opened right when he and his wife, Sue, were ready for their next challenge.

They spent their first year in Oregon learning everything they could about Pinot Noir – why would you make anything else? – and searching the surrounding hills for property. They lucked into a six-acre homestead and Christmas tree farm nestled in the southwest coastal foothills of the Willamette Valley in the village of Alpine (population: 171), west of Monroe.

After three years of clearing the land, they were ready to plant grapes. (Don’t let anyone tell you winemaking is a glamorous business!) Today, they’re up to three acres of Pinot Noir vines, densely planted in the French style.

Today, Neil is still teaching at OSU and counts himself lucky to have a steady stream of students from the enology program to be his assistants during harvest. Sue runs the tasting room and the B&B – a must-see place the next time you’re exploring the southern Willamette Valley.

Bluebird Hill Cellars

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Bluebird Hill Cellars, Monroe, Oregon
2017 Red Blend

My first thought: “Who would even think to blend exceptional Willamette Valley Pinot Noir with another wine?” And then I tasted it. Wow.

Neil gets really excited explaining how this blend came to be. He spent years experimenting with the right pressure to press his delicate Pinot Noir during the winemaking process and discovered there are several different levels of pressure needed to make the ideal wine.

But the strongest pressure leads to the most intense and most tannic wines, and those need to be blended to make them palatable. Blend in some soft and fruity Syrah from Horse Heaven Hills AVA in Washington and you have a unique and luxurious wine.

This wine showcases the earthy, leathery, forest floor aspects of Pinot Noir along with the fruity, blackberry jam qualities of Syrah. This will be a huge hit for all red wine drinkers at your holiday celebrations.

A Cellar 503 selection in November 2020, Thanksgiving Wines Willamette Valley | Pinot Noir, Syrah