From the Wine Shop
Bow & Arrow, “Rhinestones” Willamette Valley, Oregon 2020 (750mL)
Scott and Dana Frank live in Portland, Oregon. By day, Scott is a wholesale wine distributor, and by night he is a stay-at-home father. Scott’s wife, Dana, trades off daytime parenting duties for a nighttime career as one of Portland’s most respected and visible sommeliers-cavistes. On top of all this, the young family still finds a way to oversee a treasure trove of organically farmed vineyards with which they hand-produce a few barrels of exceptional wine under the label Bow & Arrow. In our multi-vintage experience, their single-vineyard Pinot Noirs are reliably outstanding and their Gamay has been a frequenter of the “20-under $20” lists. Still, today’s Pinot Noir/Gamay blend, “Rhinestones” is my personal, perennial favorite. It’s a limited wine, and what little is bottled mostly stays in Oregon, but a fraction is shared with a few “outside” markets, like Northern California.
What makes Bow & Arrow truly special is that the wines are in no way reminiscent of typical “mainstream” California or Oregon Pinot Noir. There is no excessive alcohol, no overbearing sweet new oak. Instead, Bow & Arrow works in homage to the fresh, angular, and mouthwatering reds of Loire Valley, but their finest red wines also give a convincing nod to classic elements of Burgundy and Cru Beaujolais. The end result is a collection of wines that are as delicious as they are thought-provoking. Bow & Arrow achieves this impressive balance and freshness by harvesting their Pinot and Gamay—from the Johan Vineyard no less, one of the state’s top biodynamic sites—almost a full month earlier than some of their neighbors! Next, they preserve terroir character by treating the wine very gently in the cellar with no excessive technology or addition of sulfites. At the winery, a portion of the fruit remained in whole clusters and the semi-carbonic vinification accentuated aromatics, minerality, and freshness. After maturation in a combination of concrete vessels and old French barriques, the wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered.
As a result, Bow & Arrow’s 2019 “Rhinestones” is notably poised and full of life. There’s just one catch: You must give the wine ample oxygen before consumption. I would suggest at least 90 minutes in a decanter (or pulling the cork in the morning and letting the bottle rest until dinner) and then slowly savoring the bottle over multiple days—if you can resist! In order to produce as pure and expressive a wine as humanly possible, Scott Frank bottles “Rhinestones” relatively early in its evolution. Consequently, there will be a small amount of CO2 when you first pull the cork, meaning the wine requires proper rest before truly finding itself. Rest assured these are not “flaws” or mistakes. Rather, they are the results of a skilled winemaker who works without safety nets in the cellar. We’ve noticed day one brings high-toned violet and rose florals and a dense, intense, mouth-filling palate full of plump black cherries, wild strawberry, juicy raspberry, blue plum, alpine herbs, and crushed stones. Day two, however, reveals a super classic, old-school savory edge (forest floor, spice, Burgundian “funk”). We can promise you this bottle, like many similarly styled wines from southern Burgundy, will blow minds for years to come. There are very few domestic reds that possess this remarkable staying power, and I can name zero that so faithfully channel my favorite cutting-edge reds from Beaujolais and Burgundy. Enjoy!
- CountryUnited States
- SoilLimestone, Clay & Gravel
- BlendPinot Noir 65%, Gamay 35%
- OakUsed French Barriques
- Temp.Serve at 60° F
- GlasswareBurgundy Stem
- Decanting90 Minutes
- PairingZuni Café Chicken
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Through the grapevine
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