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Craft Wine Co 2018 Minimus Kerner

Doing it their own way

For years, Craft Wine Co. was led by a superstar winemaker quietly backed up by two assistant winemakers, Meredith Bell and Laura Cusick. Today, these ladies have stepped up and they’re impressing just the same.

For Meredith Bell, spending two years “in an Islamic republic where wine is illegal” while serving in the Peace Corps convinced her that wine would be her future. She’s a graduate of the famed UC Davis enology program, but part of a group heralded as “mavericks” who are “upending expectations” while “having fun in a way that’s unusual” in winemaking. Meredith’s approach? Question all the assumptions. Study the masters deeply, then challenge everything they’re doing.

As for Laura Cusick, her love of wine came into being through a circuitous route. Her passion for the outdoors led her to Jackson, Wyoming where she worked in restaurants. As often happens, food led to wine and she was soon off to make wine in New Zealand – where she figured out what kind of wine she didn’t want to make.

Laura came back to the US to find the right winery for her – natural winemaking techniques, sustainable practices, small-batch wine lovingly crafted – and ended up at Craft Wine Co.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Craft Wine Co, Carlton, Oregon
2018 Minimus Kerner

Never heard of Kerner? That’s OK. It’s not even very well-known in its native Germany, where just 4% of vineyard land is dedicated to it.

It’s a genetic cross between Riesling and Trollinger (a German red wine) that growers appreciate for its cold-weather hardiness. This one was grown at the Johan Vineyard, one of the coolest sites in the Willamette Valley, with deep layers of morning fog pushed out each evening by blasts of ocean air coming through the Van Duzer Corridor.

In the glass, it’s a unique wine that is savory and nutty on the tongue, with bursts of floral and spice aromatics. The wine was aged in neutral Austrian oak, giving it a lovely texture.

One more bit of trivia to impress your friends: Kerner was named for an 1800s poet who was notorious for writing drinking songs, including the famous “Wohlauf, noch getrunken” (which roughly translates to “Arise, still drunk!”)

A Cellar 503 selection in September 2020, Unusual Varietals Van Duzer Corridor | Kerner