REX HILL
 
January 8, 2013 | REX HILL

2010 REX HILL Reserve Pinot Noir was named Best Wine by 1859

Contact the winery today to learn how you can procure a bottle of  this great wine for yourself by emailing us at info@REXHILL.com or calling us at 800.REXHILL.

Time Posted: Jan 8, 2013 at 3:37 PM
REX HILL
 
December 31, 2012 | REX HILL

Wine Spectator: 90 pts. - 2010 REX HILL Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

The December 31st issue of the Wine Spectator showcases the Top 100 wines of 2012 along with standout wines in the Willamette Valley including our very own 2010 REX HILL Willamette Valley Pinot Noir with 90 points. This fresh and focused wine is a blend of eight vineyards, representing high-quality and sustainably grown grapes from every sub AVA in the Willamette Valley, including our Biodynamically farmed Jacob-Hart Vineyard.

Time Posted: Dec 31, 2012 at 3:23 PM
REX HILL
 
December 15, 2012 | REX HILL

REX HILL named one of Oregon's 20 Wineries to Know by Wine Spectator

"Since 2008, [Michael] Davies has fashioned REX HILL's Pinot Noirs into wines of real specificity."

For the full article, click here.

Time Posted: Dec 15, 2012 at 3:33 PM
REX HILL
 
November 15, 2012 | REX HILL

Here's to Oregon!

The Buy Oregon campaign launched November 15th, and we are happy to be featured in it. Spot Sam Tannahill, our Founder & Director of Viticulture and Winemaking, featured in the top left corner. Some REX HILL faces can also be spotted in the following video:

Time Posted: Nov 15, 2012 at 3:20 PM
REX HILL
 
October 24, 2012 | REX HILL

Wine Spectator: 2010 REX HILL Jacob-Hart Pinot Noir - 91 points!

The October 24th issue of the Wine Spectator Insider announces some exciting scores for some great Oregon Pinot Noirs including 91 points for our 2010 REX HILL Jacob-Hart Pinot Noir. Jacob-Hart is REX HILL's crown jewel vineyard located in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. The grapes and ensuing wines from this unique vineyard offer a wealth of complexity derived from vines farmed to Biodynamic standards on every soil type found in the Willamette Valley.

Time Posted: Oct 24, 2012 at 3:17 PM
REX HILL
 
October 22, 2012 | REX HILL

Harvest 2012 is a Success

We have finished harvesting the REX HILL Estate vineyards; the last block was harvested this past Wednesday. Although picking fruit from our vines is done, our cellar is still hard at work making the 2012 vintage wines. Don’t miss out on seeing the winemaking process with advanced sommelier and chef, Mike Willison, on his Harvest Tour. The last tour is Saturday, Oct. 27th from 1:00 to 2:30 pm. $45/person, Crown Club discounts apply. Please make a reservation by calling Mike at 503.538.0666 ext. 222 or emailing him at MikeW@REXHILL.com. Limited space available.

       

Time Posted: Oct 22, 2012 at 3:14 PM
REX HILL
 
October 10, 2012 | REX HILL

Heavy is the Head that Wears the Crown

He Said...
- Mike Willison

In my former life as the wine director at a restaurant in Chicago, I remember, with no small amount of disdain, the first time a bottle of wine arrived on our doorstep bedecked in a kind of heavy armor version of something looking vaguely reminiscent of a wine bottle. The punt was almost laughably deep. The glass seemed an impenetrable barrier. The lip of the bottle was too wide to accept most standard wine bottle openers. Each bottle seemed to weigh just shy of a stone. I had tasted the wine during a salesman's recent visit, but hadn't handled it or given it much thought at the time, so its heft was more than just a bit surprising. The six-pack seemed like it should be holding a case. I checked the bottle- not once, but twice- to ensure that it was only meant to hold 750 ml. When trying to inventory the wines I was slightly annoyed to find that these huge bottles didn’t fit in our rack system properly, so I had to devise an alternative storage method that included duct tape and a roll of nickels. Servers would routinely be tricked at the table when pouring wine by not only the weight of the bottle, but the color of the glass that seemed to absorb and extinguish light. Needless to say, customers were impressed with the wine and found the bottle to be majestic, kingly, and worth endless prattling and praising. The contents were but an afterthought as jealous passersby ogled and oohed with envy. I imagine the feeling was like that first ride in a limousine when you rolled down all the windows and cranked up the tunes on your way to the Sadie Hawkins dance. Are we that shallow? A recent article suggests that we are.

 

She Said...
- Carrie Kalscheuer

Heavier wine bottles appear more expensive because they are more expensive. But to what expense a solution?

I understand it from a psychological perspective - heavier things are less breakable and therefore (seemingly) worth more. Your linked article is correct in that it is all about the marketing. While part of me knows that this goes way beyond the scope of the wine world and into deeper socio-economic territories, I do hope that another of the  wine marketing darlings will soon overtake this as more important (read: cooler, hipper, more worthy of the almighty dollar): sustainability. Heavier bottles cost more: more resources, more energy, and more money.

Of course, there is a (fairly easy?) solution. If the wine professionals and "amateur collectors" already know better, as the article you present states, then it is up to us to speak up and stop the trend. It seems to me that without an avenue with which to hawk their arm fatigue-inducing bottles, the winery in question would have to stop producing them. You spend some time above making it known that you hadn't seen the bottle prior to purchase. It makes me wonder – after the exponential bottle sales generated by passers-by gawking and admiring the heft and glory of the bottle in question, did you reorder??

Time Posted: Oct 10, 2012 at 9:49 AM
REX HILL
 
July 4, 2012 | REX HILL

This American Grape: Who should wear the sash and hold the sceptre on our shores?

He Said...
- Mike Willison

As the fireworks rage and the barbeques smoke and bellow this July 4th, the cans of High Life crushed on dimpled foreheads and Mike's Hard Lemonades sloshed back in mighty, diabetic gulps, one is left to wonder why there isn't a wine that symbolizes the American spirit similarly. On New Year's Eve we toast with Champagne or sparkling wine as if the French invented the holiday and sing "Auld Lang Syne" as if Robert Burns was Baby New Year himself. Our celebration of our Independence resembles more a rag tag Hillbilly Fallujah than a marked and poignant remembrance of our Nation's emergence. I'd love to see our wine industry take a stab at marketing the 4th as a wine-centric event like NYE. Maybe if only long enough to raise one glass and shout a mighty "Huzzah!," but to do so anyway, convincingly, and with a unified spirit of purpose.

But what to fill one's cup with? Zinfandel? Petite Sirah? Chardonel? Jo Diaz makes a convincing argument for the dark and brooding Petite Sirah here, and I'd buy it, too, if I thought you could actually drink Petite Sirah with anything other than a giant steak, a lamb, or an elk. Zinfandel is too Croatian and Chardonel is disqualified for being a hybrid (I really only brought it up because I had one once and it was decidedly un-terrific). This leaves us with only one clear choice: Norton. Norton is an indigenous variety of the Vitis Aestivalis species, and is grown only in North America, but most famously in Missouri. The best way to describe wine made from Norton is "purple-y", in my experience. Haven't heard of it? That’s because it actually doesn't do very well in California, that place of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, all Frenchified and stuff. So what if we all rallied around a Norton producer from Missouri or Georgia and bought a bottle every year for the 4th? What if we cultivated a relationship with wineries in Virginia that are embracing this American classic (it is said that US Grant stocked his presidential cellars with the stuff)? What if, what if, what if?

 

She Said...
- Carrie Kalscheuer

As a gal who came to Oregon via Missouri, I tip my hat to your Norton theory. However, Independence Day is all about barbeque and fireworks, hot weather and flip-flops. Only in Oregon are we still enjoying red wine during the day, as summer has yet to actually begin here. Elsewhere in our great nation, and this past year especially, summer has been going on for months - long before its actual calendric date would indicate. In places like Norton's preferred growing region, summer has already reached a scorching crescendo. As I write this, it is a balmy 93 degrees Fahrenheit at 11:30pm in Missouri. I say America needs whites – crisp, refreshing, chilly whites – to go with our potato salad, grilled chicken and blistering heat. We're all about the blending of cultures in our country, so why not allow for the adoption of something with its roots on another continent? After all, that’s who we are as a nation, isn't it- a melting pot of different cultures that fought to gain independence from their oppressive former nations? With that in mind, I vote that we make something like Sauvignon Blanc our 4th of July wine. While it might have its roots in Bordeaux, there the grape’s name is hidden behind the region or village name – oppressed, you might say. In America, it has found its freedom. So let's toast a chilled glass of crisp, clean, fruity, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc at our hot summer 4th of July picnics this year. And, hey, why the heck not… Huzzah!!

Time Posted: Jul 4, 2012 at 9:54 AM
REX HILL
 
June 27, 2012 | REX HILL

Wine Marketing to Millennials: Who gives a f*$%?

He Said...
- Mike Willison

There's been a maelstrom of articles, blogs, and random blatherings bandied about lately regarding how, exactly, to market wines to Millennials. Apparently, this group of people represents the Most Important Demographic Ever, especially if you ask them, and we all need to unlock their mysteries before it's too late. The general consensus is that young wine drinkers aren't going to react to the same old, stodgy, buttoned up images of wine drinkers in country clubs sipping away at Montrachet after a ripping good game of squash with the same enthusiasm as generations that preceded them, so we should figure out how to be hep cats and get down with their lingo and colloquialisms. As such, we will all begin making wine with labels like this, or this and be wildly successful. Sadly, I believe that we are all missing the point.

Consumers make connections to brands, styles and varieties of wine based on any number of diverse criteria, and not all Millennials, Gen X-ers, or Baby Boomers adhere to any cohesive set of strictures except one: authenticity of experience. Sure, any one person from any generation may like shiny things that cost a lot, or weird stuff that they pioneered and are now jaded over because Brand X sold out to The Man, or read about Brand X in the Major Wine Publication Magazine, but you cannot beat the Real McCoy. Seeing a picture of the Grand Canyon isn't the same as flying over, or walking on the edge of the Grand Canyon. So, make good wine, get it in people’s glasses by pounding the pavement, and have a good story about where it came from, the people who made it, or the magical company culture. Make the experience the thing, and make it an authentic extension of the winery as a whole, and people will respond. Otherwise, your target market will eventually outgrow your pinpoint marketing strategy like you outgrew your shoulder-padded oversized blazer and love for NKOTB.

 

She Said...
- Carrie Kalscheuer

Who outgrew NKOTB? In all seriousness, you absolutely have a point. I think, however, that what these articles are trying to get at (although possibly missing the "how to get there") is that we have a slew of newcomers to the sport of wine drinking each year, and that if we position ourselves as an out of their reach, too-cool-for-school industry, we will eventually become extinct. Now, we know that isn't true, because these kids will eventually grow up, mature, evolve – just like you say. They'll learn how to drink black coffee without making a face, will develop a taste for things like sweetbreads, and will hopefully learn the difference between a Cabernet and a Pinot Noir. But simply saying, "we’ll get 'em someday" isn’t going to increase business during a depressed market.

Authenticity is always the best approach to anything, sure. But we’re still missing that link – that thing that makes our industry approachable to young potential wine drinkers while maintaining its integrity. And it can't be about just making your wine approachable, but further, it's getting them to want to approach your wine. That ingress is crucial when you're attempting to deliver the 'story' of your wine and winery. Without an IN, we're twiddling our thumbs and waiting for them to outgrow this generation's version of shoulder pads and NKOTB.

Time Posted: Jun 27, 2012 at 9:57 AM
REX HILL
 
June 22, 2012 | REX HILL

Yeah! More posts about the Natural Wine Movement

He Said...
- Mike Willison

"He does it with a better grace, but I do it more natural"

Proponents of the so-called Natural Wine Movement might object to the sentiment that Shakespeare tossed around, taking umbrage with the words, "better", "grace" and, likely, "he." Natural wine supporters argue that there is basically a right and a wrong way to make wine, although the line that separates the two is often as gray and akimbo as the Maginot. The general gist is to limit human and chemical intervention during the winemaking process to almost nothing in an effort to produce wines that showcase not only true varietal character, but also allow the expression of the vineyard site to be exposed. The principle issues are usually about allowing native yeast fermentation rather than inoculating with cultivated yeast strains and using no added sulfites to artificially preserve the wine and prevent microbiological beasties from causing the stuff to get real weird, real fast. There are, of course, other factors: using pigeage (your feet and legs, etc.) to punch down ferments rather more modern methods, small fermentation vats and aging vessels, organic, biodynamic or "do-nothing" farming as advocated by the late Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese farmer-philosopher, and, maybe most importantly, not really doing it for the money.

It should be said, of course, that none of this is really written down, specifically agreed to, or even 100% adhered to by a collective or any governing body. So there are fudge-able allowances for a vintage that needs a pinch of sulfur here or a splash of something-something there. I should also say that I, by and large, agree with this ideal. I love the idea of hands-off winemaking and less crud being put in my body because a winemaker had to sit around all year waiting for harvest so that she could fiddle with everything for the sake of fiddling when harvest comes around. I mean, that’s what all of this stuff in this winery is for, right? Where I have problems is with the attitude of most of the people yelling the loudest, drawing needless lines in the sand, and ascribing demi-god like status to but a lone few untouchable icons of the epoch. The most seriously ridiculous implication of the natural wine movement is that it cannot, or should not be, done by medium or large wineries (Sinskey gets chastised for even trying). What better way to have the natural wine movement actually make a difference (to the land, to the people, to the industry) than for it to be introduced to a wider audience?

Making wine can be done better, and more gracefully than many of the giant, mega-wineries currently do. I long for the day when "organic" isn't a buzz word, but is rather the standard for all industry. For some, it's a matter of old habits dying hard; there are just too many people doing what they’ve done for years that aren't about to change in positions of power and influence. I dare Bronco to go natural, organic, or even some kind of sustainable. At least they aren't dogmatic and precious about it, though. Sheesh.

 

She Said...
- Carrie Kalscheuer

I, too, have been reading about all of these tiny, French producers who have been telling everyone who will listen that they make better wine because they do it 'naturally.' But as you point out, what does naturally mean?? Without any parameters, it seems like yet another marketing ploy. For example, native yeast strains are used quite often, yet how native are they really when we propagate that same species by plowing pomace back into our fields? Is that considered toying with nature?

Can wineries afford to thumb their noses at modern technology and actually make wine from just the set of circumstances that nature gives them in any particular year? I say no way. The American wine drinker demands clean, fruity, (and sadly in many cases sugar-y) wines. French wines are misunderstood by many palates, and in fact elicited an emphatic, "EW," from a winemaker friend just last week. I think you nailed it with your comment, "…not really in it for the money." Sure, it sounds romantic and could work in France, but that poop isn’t going to fly here.

Hey, I'm all for making wine in the most natural way possible – after all, this is a food product we are talking about. But it should just be DONE, not preached.

Time Posted: Jun 22, 2012 at 10:01 AM