Welcome to binNotes | redThread™
Inspired stories about artisan wine and taste makers.
by L.M. Archer FWS, Bourgogne ML
Today’s Exclusive Interview:
Linn Scott | Sparkman Cellars
Once and awhile a winemaker transcends terroir, much like a jazz musician transcends his/her instrument.
Earlier this year I had the distinct privilege of tasting a remarkable Pinot Noir, L’Autre, by wine maker Linn Scott, which I shared on tasting series The Hedonistic Taster. So taken with the wine, I put the cart before the horse with this one…I reviewed the wine without interviewing the wine maker.
In an attempt to right that wrong, I offer a demi-interview with Linn Scott, to whet your appetite for this hard-to-source juice. Cruel, perhaps, but it’s what I do – provide readers like you access to artisan, small-lot wines overlooked by the mainstream wine media.
In truth, a full interview proved as elusive as this wine, as Linn was full into harvest, and I was doing my Northern California | Seattle straddle. We both live peripatetic lives, dictated by our respective wine making and writing troikas. Eventually, we connected.
And so, here’s a distilled version, which I share with you. It’s short, but illustrates the intertwined lives of wine makers and growers. It takes a village to raise a wine maker. Enjoy the brief interlude.
r/T™: How did a wine maker [for Sparkman Cellars] from Washington state end up making Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley?
Chris [Sparkman] loves Pinot Noir, so he was interested in making one. I worked four vintages in Oregon, two (2) at Bethel Heights and two (2) at Penner Ash. I’ve had a relationship with the International Pinot Noir Celebration for twelve years.
r/T™ Why Temperance Hill Vineyard to source your fruit?
LS: I love Pinot noir and have lots of family connections in Oregon and the Willamette Valley. We had access to Temperance Hill Vineyard via Rob Stuart in McMinnville and I knew Dai Crisp the vineyard manager there a bit since Bethel Heights is directly next door and we shared a viticultural team. We like the aromatics of the higher altitude Pinot out of there.
r/T™: Do you ship the fruit up to Washington for crush, or process in the Willamette Valley?
LS: I go and pick up the fruit myself; I borrow a truck and trailer from our neighbors at Guardian [Cellars]. I drop bins early morning, load up the trailer after they pick, and then drive back to Woodinville and process it.
r/T™: Anything special about wine growing or the fermentation process that differs from your other wines?
LS: Certainly much lower natural alcohol (lower brix at ripeness).
r/T™: Any folks from Willamette Valley instrumental in the L’Autre project?
Megan – Bethel Heights – for trying to make it work 🙂
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