2019 Open Face Red Field Blend
Region: Chehalem Mountains < Oregon
Grapes: 70% Pinot noir, 30% Pinot Gris
Vineyard/Cellar stats: Organic farming at the Vista Grande vineyard, volcanic soils, mostly planted to Pinot Noir with one acre planted to Pinot Gris; co-fermented with Pinot Gris on the skins for 2 weeks; aged 5 months in neutral barrel; bottled unfined/unfiltered with 40ppm added SO2; 13% ABV
Winemaker: Michael Croom
Michael Croom's wine journey was not a direct route but rather a meandering, sometimes clumsy, amble. Michael, with aspirations of being a chef, attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York, but it was the required wine course there that lit his fire. He aced the class - something Michael readily admits was a first (and only) in his academic career, and eventually made his way to California with his then girlfriend, now wife, for various kitchen and wine jobs. In 2014, he worked harvest in New Zealand, an experience that put him firmly on the wine path, followed by a move to Oregon to give it a go.
Michael named his project Open face in homage to an infatuation with motorcycles, which, to him, represent ultimate freedom. Hitting the road "open faced" is a spirit he wants to evoke in the wines he's making, all of which start with strictly organic vineyards. The Red Field blend is a red/white co-ferment (one of our favorite categories!) of Pinots Noir and Gris. It drinks like an enlightened, high-toned Pinot Noir, with those earthy mushroom and forest floor notes for which Oregon is famous, the Gris showing itself subtly in the lifted red fruit and tart cherries. A beautiful take on Pinot that is down to please everyone, but interesting enough to keep natural winos happy too. Win!