Last week, I had the pleasure of joining Scott and Dana Frank and a merry band of volunteers to pick grapes at the Borgo Pass Vineyard in the Willamette Valley. We were picking Cabernet Sauvignon from 40 year old vines. This is the first year the Franks were able to get this fruit from Borgo Pass. They had been searching for some Cabernet for several years, and finally got this fruit because of their friends Barnaby and Olga Tuttle, of Teutonic Wine Company. The Tuttles have been producing a lovely Pinot Meunier from Borgo Pass for several years.
Bow & Arrow makes Loire-inspired wines, including Gamay, a Pinot and Gamay blend, and Sauvignon Blanc, and Melon de Bourgogne. While the Loire might not be what first comes to mind with Cabernet Sauvignon, in fact many of the red wine appellations in Touraine and Anjou areas of the Loire include the grape in their blends. Appellations such as Anjou-Village, Anjou, Saumur, Saumur-Champigny, Chinon, Bourgeuil, and Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgeuil allow a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon to be blended in with Cabernet Franc.
The vineyard is located just west of Monroe, OR about a half an hour south of Corvallis. Grower Mark Dubose does all the planting of the vineyard, which in addition to Cabernet Sauvignon also includes Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and a little bit of Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. Dubose has planted 15 acres of vines of the site because it is his "hobby." This description comes across very charmingly and quite humbly. For our lunch, his wife cooked up some deer from the property, which she jokingly called her "revenge" for them eating the grapes. In describing their evolution as wine growers and style of growing, she says that Mark was was "free range before it was cool," while recalling how their pigs would wander to their neighbor's property and give birth under their house. The name for the vineyard means that is it is "the last outpost before the mountain pass." The vineyard sits on the east side of the Coastal Range, and is at the beginning of the climb up to the mountain before you hit the town of Alsea.
While their was some rain earlier in the month, this day was absolutely beautiful for picking. The fruit looked perfectly ripe and healthy. Can't wait to taste the wine!