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Clay Pigeon Winery

Clay Pigeon Winery 2021 Pinot Gris

Pull! Hitting the mark with wine...

In his day job, winemaker Michael Claypool has helped the world’s biggest brands – Disney, JetBlue, Google, Nike – tell their stories to the public.

At Clay Pigeon Winery, he applies his creative brilliance to his winemaking.

Michael takes an experimental approach, questioning the “rules” of winemaking and challenging every assumption. Before starting Clay Pigeon, Michael did it all – working as a cellar rat, a wine retailer, a sommelier, and an assistant winemaker in Sonoma. He came to Portland dreaming of his own urban winery and started in his garage.

Why Clay Pigeon rather than the usual eponymous branding? Michael says he just wasn’t “keen on naming the winery after myself”. Shooting clay targets, Michael says, is a lot like winemaking: they’re shot into the air, and it’s your job to hit the mark “while it tries to get away from you.”

Clay Pigeon Winery

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Clay Pigeon Winery, Portland, Oregon
2021 Pinot Gris

This is not your typical Pinot Gris!

This wine is aged for nine months in neutral French oak barrels. This is a rich wine with an amazing mouthfeel — which likely makes it unlike any other Pinot Gris you’ve had. The strong acidity and long finish seem suggest this wine has a long life ahead of it.

Winemaker Michael Claypool made this wine as a tribute to the Alsatian wines he loves — those made by traditional producers who created their wines to be aged and to be paired with regional foods.

Michael and his wife, cheesemonger extraordinaire Sasha tell me that like to sip this wine in front of a fire on a cold winter day but, pressed for a food pairing, they love pairing its tropical notes with Thai and Indian food.

Just 50 cases produced.

A Cellar 503 selection in February 2023, Urban Wineries Willamette Valley | Pinot Gris