2021 Division 'L'Avoiron' Rosé of Gamay Noir
Region: Columbia Valley < Washington
Grapes: Gamay Noir
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming (in certification process); mineral intense soils formed from volcanic Miocene uplift against basalt bedrock that is layered with a primary topsoil being made up of quartz and lime-silica. Fermented and aged in stainless steel; bottled unfined and unfiltered with minimal SO2; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Kate Norris and Tom Monroe
Division Wine Company is part of Oregon's new guard of wine, making
authentic, soulful and low-intervention wines from organic,
terroir-driven vineyard sites in Oregon and Washington State. After
leaving their jobs in New York, owners Kate and Tom moved to France to
work harvests in the Loire Valley, Beaujolais, and Burgundy. Inspired
by these wines, they moved to Oregon in 2010 to start Division to
produce similarly stylistic wines with modest alcohol, bright acidity,
less extraction, and minimal manipulation. A couple of years later,
the couple co-founded a production facility/wine bar in southeast
Portland called the Southeast Wine Collective, which serves as an
co-op for several small-production winemakers; previous alumni include
Scott and Dana Frank (Bow & Arrow Wines) and Barnaby and Olga Tuttle
(Teutonic Wine Company).
One of the fastest growing and diverse American wine growing regions of the past 40 years is the Columbia Valley, a wide swath of land that reaches from the northern border of Oregon to well into the northeastern parts of Washington State. Within this region is a is the Yakima Valley, which is home to their nearly 6- acre block of Gamay Noir at the newly renamed Carousel Vineyard (formally part of Willard Farms), which they farm exclusively to make their Gamay Rosé and Gamay Nouveau wines. They began to transition this vineyard to organic principle farming in 2019 and hope to have the process complete by the 2021 growing season, they love this particular site for its mineral intense soils. Kate says, "We believe the best rosé wines are made by picking before overly ripe characteristics can dominate the balance and finesse of the wine. Therefore, we seek a more white wine-like vibrancy than red wine-like richness or intensity, and we typically pick this site relatively early with more acid driven grapes and lighter red fruit. This vintage is easily our first bottling of this wine that will likely age well for a few years the complete aromatics, chalky minerality and bright fruit means drink up now or wait for the honey-ed notes that will come with time."
We're in Kate's camp, preferring our pinks with the vibrancy, acid and character of a white. We love the tart fruit here, akin to tart watermelon flesh close to the rind and just ripe strawberry notes, and the zippy acidity and salty rocks on the finish. A truly elegant and interesting rosé, one that deserves a place on the dinner table.