Great Expectations-Aberrant Cellars

The best wines take you on a journey. Perhaps to a time when you first encountered the wine, perhaps to the place of origin. This wine transported to a place I have not been, to a place I have not seen, except for in my mind’s eye. It was a setting I’d imagined in the midst of a great novel, many years before.

The first pour was small, to analyze color and nose. The first pour conjured images of dusty crushed velvet, covering a stool, covered in years of dusty memories. The three-legged stool, ornately carved, tucked half-way beneath an oak vanity, its varnish cracked. The mirror, long compromised by a slow chipping away of the silver backing, chipping away of time. On the surface sits a delicate crystal vase filled with roses, once full of perfume and vigor, now browned and crumbling.

This image was one that persisted throughout the tasting. Was it that the font on the accompanying bottle provided a foreshadowing for the image? Set a tone? Was it triggered by the name? Maybe it was a combination or maybe my wild imagination. Either way, Eric Eide’s Aberrant Cellars Block B3 Old Vines Pinot Noir made an impact even before the first sip.

Dusty magenta in the glass, it’s unfiltered haze adding to the mystique. Fresh roses and integrated fruit, elegant tannins and herbaceous spice. A wine that nearly defies description, nuanced and refined.

The same could be said for the vines from which it came. As part of the Chehalem Mountain Vineyard, the B3 plot is described as “weathered, ungrafted, dry-farmed.” The vines exact make-up a mystery, but believed to be Pommard 04 and Wadenswil 2A.

I opened this wine with great expectations. His rosé that I’d sampled previously was unlike anything I’d had before.  The Pinot Noir grapes are whole-cluster pressed, gently, yielding half the juice from a traditional white wine press. A backbone of savory notes, unripened strawberry, raspberry. There were veins of bolder notes, perfumed spices and herbs, carefully tamed. Each sip left me intrigued and questioning. It is no wonder it was given the name Philtrum, meaning Love Potion.

The best characters in novels haunt you for days, for years. You find yourself tumbling over what is left unsaid. You read their lines with varying tones, varying connotations. You find yourself building alternate pasts, futures. The best characters reappear throughout your life when you see flashes of them in places, in people, in a wine. She could certainly be described as “aberrant,” a departure from the accepted standard. And I can see her in these wines.  Pouring Pip a glass of Philtrum, her tattered, yellowed dress in the reflection. Numbing herself with Pinot that matches her stool, shouting…

“Love her, love her, love her! If she favours you, love her. If she wounds you, love her. If she tears your heart to pieces – and as it gets older and stronger, it will tear deeper – love her, love her, love her!”
― Miss Havisham, Charles Dickens, Great Expectations   

These wines were provided by Diaz Communications as media samples. I received no other compensation and thoughts and opinions are my own.


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Being a stay- at-home mom can leave one thirsting for a taste of the outside world, a world in which sentences are composed of more than three words. Being an educator means one is always seeking an opportunity to explore and learn. Being a woman with a need to connect can be a challenge when adult conversations are rare. In wine, I find the marriage of art and science, agriculture and storytelling provides limitless areas to explore. But it is the people that keep me engaged. The tenacity needed to keep the family dream alive, the risk to start anew, the trials and principles. I love the history of the vine, the impact of a season, the sentiment in the bottle. That is why I write. I write to tell their stories, to share a piece of mine. I write to learn as I teach others. I write to connect with new friends, to disconnect from the world. I write to celebrate what makes each of us unique, and that which ties us together.

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