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Lares Wines

Lares Wines 2021 Disco Made Me Do It

Pushing the boundaries

If you’ve been a club member for a while, Luke Wylde’s name should sound familiar. We’ve featured wine from his other label – Statera – with winemaking partner Meredith Bell. We’ve featured wine from Meredith’s solo project, Est, so it seemed only fitting to also feature Luke’s solo project: Lares Wines.

In ancient Rome, the Lares were minor deities that guarded home, hearth and harvest – so appropriate for a passionate winemaker who is also passionate about fantasy literature and role-playing games! At Statera, Luke and Meredith have a strict Chardonnay-only rule, so Lares is Luke’s platform for experimenting with unusual grapes and unusual techniques.

Luke’s interest in wine started when he reached for a bottle of wine at a college party instead of a keg cup. Seeing a grape on the label that he was unfamiliar with, he went home that night and did a bit of research about the origins of it. From then on, he was hooked.

Long before he made wine, however, Luke was a hospitality pro in the Oregon wine industry, managing events for Anne Amie and running the wine club for Southeast Wine Collective. Now, as a winemaker, Luke’s making quite a name for himself by pushing the boundaries and making great wine.

Lares Wines

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Lares Wines, Portland, Oregon
2021 Disco Made Me Do It

To be sure, Pinot Noir is hardly an unusual varietal, even made as a white wine. But take a look at the bottle and you’ll see that 30% of this wine is made from apples.

Yes, apples.

This is a stunning wine. Crisp and dry with great acid and a hint of minerality. But there is an elusive something that makes you come back wanting more. And I’m here to argue that that something is the apples. The Pinot Noir and the apples were grown on organic farms and fermented separately in their own barrels before they were blended together.

Of course, if you drink hard apple cider, you might be surprised that this wine isn’t nearly as sweet as an apple cider. Why? Well, cider tends to top out at about 4 to 5% alcohol, with a lot more residual sugar. In winemaking, much more of the sugar is converted to alcohol, finishing at 12 to 14%.

Luke has experimented with including fermented apples in other wines, mostly light-hearted sparkling wines but he wanted to see if he could make a “serious” wine with apples. And I think he’s succeeded!

A Cellar 503 selection in September 2022, Unusual Varietals Willamette Valley | Pinot Noir