Cave B Estate Winery: Part 2 – A Tale of Terroir

Photo: Cave B Estate Winery

“A person who takes a simple idea and makes it tediously complex is referred to as an intellectual. A person who takes a tediously complex idea and makes it simple is called a genius. Condense the whole megillah into a line or two—then you really have something.” -Kinky Friedman

“Le meilleur terroir ne diffère en rien du mauvais s’il n’est cultivé.”(The best terroir does not differ from the worst if it is not cultivated.) -Vauban

Part 2 of 2 – Cave B Estate Winery

“We were going to plant the estate entirely in Pinot Noir when we first bought the land.” That’s Vince Bryan, owner of Cave B Estate Winery, holding forth on all things Cave B, as binNotes man-handles grapes on the brunch fruit plate. The man has stories – each one more compelling than the last, with occasional gentle interjections by wife Carol, ballast aboard the Good Ship Bryan. Little astounding-statistics side notes, like the fact that Cave B  sells 90% of their wine on estate.

Pinch me. I’m here at Cave B 2012 Spring Release Weekend with my husband, a former Bryan non-vine colleague, and our wine-enthusiast friends the Butlers, feeling a bit like an undergrad absorbing a lecture by the Dean of Washington Estate Wineries. But back to the grapes. Pinot Noir – the diva of grape varietals, needs the proper soil and weather to support its very thin-skinned existence. The Bryans fell in love with this aristocratic vine at its’ source, Burgundy –  during Dr. Bryan’s neurosurgical teaching tour days in Europe. Returning to the States, they determined to emulate the great wines of La Tâche, drawing up a list of required soil composition for realtors to scratch their heads over. Eventually, however, these exacting standards paid off in the discovery, purchase and cultivation of what is now Cave B Estate Winery in Quincy, WA.

Some people know the rest of the story. To sell their wines from far-flung eastern Washington, the Bryans enticed friends with live music played on the ground’s natural amphitheater. These concerts grew, morphing into The Gorge Amphitheater, now owned by Live Nation. The concert growers needed a place to stay after the concerts, leading to Cave B Inn. The people staying at the Inn needed food, ushering in Cave B’s Tendrils Restaurant.  The Bryans intrinsically understood that winemaking involves a multi-dimensional experience – taste, touch, sight, smell, sound, and emotion. Cave B Estate Winery combines  the ‘whole meggilah.’  The wines don’t just pour, they resonate.

As for the grapes – well – ultimately, the land revealed more soil types than Alsace and more microclimates than most of France, allowing the planting of a plethora of varietals atypical for a single estate: Chardonnay, Riesling, Sémillon, Gewürztraminer, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Tempranillo, Barbera, Sangiovese. You get the picture.  Just no Pinot Noir. While the soils were perfect for the demanding grape, the weather was not. But the spirit of Burgundy lives on in Cave B Estate Winery’s dedication to terroir. Quite a story. Santé!

Copyrighted 2012. All Rights Reserved.

2 thoughts on “Cave B Estate Winery: Part 2 – A Tale of Terroir

  1. Reblogged this on binNotes and commented:

    Welcome to a Special Edition of Terroirist Tuesday. Due to recent press regarding the possible sale of Cave B to the Port of Quincy, today binNotes features a favorite re-post on Cave B – enjoy!


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