2018 Hundred Suns, Gamay Noir, Tualatin Estate Vineyard, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
One of the most tasty and unique wines of the vintage in Oregon is this super limited production Gamay Noir by Hundred Suns, coming of a historic vineyard that was originally planted by pioneer and local legend Bill Fuller in the early 1970s on marine sedimentary soils. This parcel is just one acre of true Gamay Noir that was only recently re-discovered by a friend of winemaker Grant Coulter, the ex Beaux Freres man, who along with his partner Renee Saint-Amour started this small personal label, making small lot hand crafted wines, which include some amazing Pinot Noir(s) along with a Grenache and this lovely Gamay. Hundred Suns, a reference to the number of days from grapevines flowering to harvest, started in 2015 when Grant moved on from being winemaker at Beaux Freres to overseeing the vineyards and making the wines for Flaneur Wines, which are super wines as well, and Renée swapped the classroom, she was a Portland high school teacher, for the cellar and running of the day-to-day business. Grant Coulter, a Monterey Bay area native, moved to Oregon to pursue his wine career, following in the footsteps of Ken Wright and Eric Hamacher, both who did the same thing with great success. This winery is one to follow, part of a new wave of outstanding Oregon producers and this radiant, and ripe Gamay certainly merits your attention.
The 2018 vintage was a ripe one in Oregon, making the Gamay a bit exotic and Coulter chose a very unique route to express the best qualities of the grape, the place and year by doing 60% whole-cluster carbonic maceration, sans soufre and 40% traditional fermentation with native yeasts and de-stemed grapes, with the carbonic portion getting 7 months in well season French oak, while the other lots was aged in terra-cotta amphora for the same 7 months before to separate wine was blended, racked to tank and bottled unfined and unfiltered. The Lapierre’s, Foillard’s and Fred Niger’s of the world would be highly impressed and so would the lovers of those wines too! This tension filled and crunchy Gamay from Hundred Suns is bursting at the seams with dark racy fruit, stemmy spice and mineral tones showing blackberry, cherry, plum and blueberry fruits, an array of exotic spice, including zesty hot cinnamon, crushed violets, walnut oil and amaro notes! Wonderfully fleshy and textural with a a glorious Dutraive Fleurie pretty side meets Lapierre warmth and soulfulness, this exceptional stuff, Gamay lovers with want to start chasing this ASAP! This is not a weak kneed Gamay at about 14% natural alcohol and it drinks like a Pinot Noir with satiny tannin. Oregon is a hot bed for individual expressions of this grape, I love Brick House’s as well as Bow & Arrow’s, Evening Land’s (Salem Wine Company) and this Hundred Suns with all of them being strikingly different. This is seriously fun and thrills the palate, enjoy now and for the next 3 to 5 years.
($30 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive