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Craft Wine Co 2018 Minimus Red Wine

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 Red Wine

The folks at Craft have three different labels –Omero, Origin, and Minimus – and they all have distinct and unique wines. Omero includes historical Willamette Valley varietals produced traditionally. Origin showcases particularly expressive blocks and rows unique to each year. And with Minimus, they give themselves permission to push the boundaries with rarely-found varietals or unique blending combinations – perfect for Cellar 503!

This Minimus red blend is a unique blend of 75% Pinot Noir, 13% Pinot Gris, 6% Cabernet Franc, 6% Gamay Noir. No wild and crazy varietals here but you’ll rarely find this combination of grapes and even more rare these days to find red and white wines in the same bottle. But all of these grapes are grown here in the Willamette Valley and have been for decades.

The old-vine Pinot Noir in combination with juicy Pinot Gris, bright Gamay Noir and the lovely and soft tannins of Cabernet Franc create a uniquely-layered, textured, and delightfully drinkable wine. A punch of acidity makes this a very food-friendly wine perfect with roast chicken or a pork loin on the grill!

A Cellar 503 selection in May 2021, Women in Wine Willamette Valley | Cabernet Franc, Gamay Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir