2021 Fair Moon Wine – Sunshine Effect, Skin Contact Pinot Gris, Holmes Gap Vineyard, Van Duzer Corridor, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
The second vintage of Jessica Wilmes’ Sunshine Effect “Gris Rouge” is an impressive wine, and a bit more textural and polished in form, made with extended skin contact and fermented Pinot Gris, from grapes sourced at the Holmes Gap Vineyard in cool and breezy Van Duzer Corridor and is beautifully ruby/strawberry colored in the glass and lightly tannic and crisply dry on the palate. I’m enjoying Wilmes latest set of wines very much, they include this one, her signature offering thus far, as well as her delightful and unique carbonic Tinta Caõ red and her bright golden skin contact Auxerrois, which I most recently reviewed, all of which are distinctly different Willamette Valley wines for this winemaker, who has certainly taken her own path. This 2021 is a highly quaffable and more rounded effort, but a similar profile to her first version, with red apple, orange rind, strawberry and sour cherry leading the way again here, though in this vintage you find some golden raisins, more of a vinous feel, much more subtle savory earthiness, mineral notes, a touch of herbal tea and a nice array of delicate spices that make this “Orange” wine a little more seamless and confident in style. You can more clearly a closer relationship to the inspiration Wilmes took from the likes of the legendary Radikon and Gravner wines of Northeastern Italy, though lighter and fresher than those much more serious examples, and Jessica is just fine with that, as she has no pretensions in her bones. This wine, which should be served only slightly chilled is a great picnic or campfire wine, becoming more generous with food and air, going well with simple cuisine choices rather than white table clothes!

As mentioned here, Fair Moon Wine is an ultra small-production micro winery, that looks to hand-craft unique tiny lot stuff with natural-driven winemaking, with low or no SO2, what Wilmes playfully adds, happy palates in mind. She is motivated by her own experiences, which have included years chasing harvest intern jobs, having to live out of her trusty Toyota Tundra truck and long hours for little pay, which has made her grateful for fleeting moments of calm. This has led her to make wines that are fun, quaffable and flavorful, for what she hopes will be enjoyed during everyday adventures or periods of total relaxation with friends, and with lots laughter. This Sunshine Effect Skin Contact Pinot Gris, somewhere between a dark Rosé and a light red, was on the skins for an exceptionally lengthy 21 days and was fermented completely with natural methods without any additions and was aged close to eight months in neutral, well seasoned, French oak barrels to mature and let the wine all meld together, while allowing fresh acidity and transparent flavors to shine through. The Holmes Gap Vineyard, where this wine’s grapes come from and mostly home to some lovely Pinot Noir, is nestled, as noted above, in the Van Duzer Corridor in the Willamette Valley with mainly marine sedimentary soils that give mineral tones and a nice stony element to the wine. Wilmes, who has interned at Troon and Grochau in recent years, has embraced natural winemaking and will be the first to tell you that she’s into rarities and funky stuff, but fully understands that wine should be al about pleasure and it takes a lot of skills to guide these kind of wines from vineyard to bottle, which she has done very well indeed! She sells mostly direct, via her Fair Moon Wine website, as these wines are very limited offerings.
($25 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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