2019 Bow & Arrow, Rhinestones, Johan Vineyard, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
One of Oregon’s most unique and tasty wines, Bow & Arrow’s Rhinestones is an all natural and organic blend of 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Gamay Noir coming from the Johan Vineyard, a biodynamically farmed site in the Willamette Valley and fermented with lots of crunchy whole cluster, making for a darkly ripe and spicy wine that took its inspiration from the Loire Valley’s Cheverny region of France. Scott Frank, owner of Bow & Arrow, the urban Portland micro winery, is committed to producing artisan, fun, eccentric and delicious bottlings with a nod to the old world and with a modern twist in some cases and this Rhinestones is his unassuming signature wine, and one that can you on a thrill ride of flavors, as this new 2019 release does with bright punchy layers of black cherry, plum, lingonberry and bramble berry fruits, racy peppercorns, cinnamon stick, dark wood, floral notes and an earthy intensity that is very appealing in this medium bodied red. Like the Cheverny wines, where by law, the red wines must be a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir, Frank follows suit with this stricture in his Rhinestones, with all the grapes being Pinot and Gamay, though the percentage will change a little depending on the year’s best offering in the vineyard, with this 2019 getting a bit more Pinot Noir as their quality was outstanding and gave an impressive structure and depth here. In some years, this wine can rival the best wines in the region and this 2019 really shines with an exciting dense mouth feel and a warm forward personality, a bit less edgy than the last two years, but still is its flamboyant and devilishly pleasing, especially with simple foods and with its quaffable low alcohol easiness.
The Bow & Arrow Rhinestones, is as Scott Frank notes, a blend that solely determined by nature and vintage, with the grapes brought into the winery cold and freshly picked, using as mentioned the whole bunches and stem inclusion with all native yeast fermentation. Frank, after primary seeing a semi carbonic maceration was then aged in a mixture of concrete and old barriques. This wine is the flagship of the Bow & Arrow (Portland based) operation according to Frank, who adds that it communicates what Bow & Arrow is all about as much as anything he makes. The winery focuses on transparency and raw authenticity with this Rhinestones, as they put, being an effortlessly drinkable effort, but a wine that rewards detective work if you’re in the mood, which I always seem to be, this is a wine that I try not to miss. A few years back, I ratted the Bow & Arrow at 96 Points, and this vintage is almost an equal and a wine to discover if you’ve not yet tried Bow & Arrow. The latest set of wines are all very interesting and quality efforts, I also recommend exploring their Air Guitar, an Anjou (Loire Valley) themed red blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, the crisp and salty fresh Melon de Bourgogne, an oyster companion white wine, also from the Johan Vineyard as well as Bow & Arrow’s pure and rustically style Gamay and Frank’s Sauvignon Blanc, which is a lovely Pouilly-Fume influenced version. Oregon is really flying high with tons of exceptional stuff on offer, from studied classics to some decidedly quirky bottlings, which I would say that Bow & Arrow fits in, these are some honestly different or alternative wines, but wonderful values too.
($24 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive