Nicholas Keeler of Authentique Wine Cellars is one of the most dynamic new producers coming out of the
From just one Pinot Noir and one Chardonnay, he expanded his range in just a few short years to include three other Pinot Noirs and a rosé produced from Pinot Gris that has been macerated on its skins to create a wine of character but also of beautiful colour and balance.
His philosophy is simple – maintaining the purest of fruit while enabling the transparency of the terroir to surface. He does this by keeping alcohol levels in check (but with nonetheless phenolic maturity intact), a touch of whole bunch cluster where possible and appropriate, and managed oak ageing with extra tight grain barrels of light-moderate toast levels. The results sing for themselves, and we were immediately impressed by their refinement and appeal. But not only are his wines excellent, but their packaging is an art form, showing a true eye for detail.
In 2015, his family built their own winery, and he is now able to control all aspects of winemaking to further carry on his potential and that of his vines. Nicholas is one shooting star to watch and we cannot wait to witness his ascent.
About the region
The Willamette Valley is considered one of the premier Pinot Noir growing areas in the New World. Located due south of Portland, Oregon, it developed as a wine region in the 1960s when students came here from the University of California at Davis in the hope of finding a cooler climate for Pinot Noir. The found success and so more and more people began planting vineyards.
In 1979, it began drawing worldwide attention when one of its pioneers, Eyrie Vineyard, won the number two position amongst a number of top Burgundies and their new world counterparts in a Gault Millau blind tasting. In 1984 it became an official AVA (American Viticultural Area) while in 1987, it drew its first Burgundian investor, the Drouhin family, who bought land in the Dundee Hills.
Over the years, they began recognising distinct soil differences and so in 2002, a number of producers drew up a petition to create 6 new and smaller AVAs – Dundee Hills, McMinnville, Eola-Amity Hills, Yamhill-Carton District, Chehalem Mountains and Ribbon Ridge - which were finally confirmed as new AVAs between 2004-2006.
Today, there are more than 500 wineries and most are small and family owned – a system more reflective of Burgundy than even Napa Valley, California. It is a glorious region that is well-worth discovering, particularly for Pinotphiles who value finesse over power.
Leisure ‘Skin Contact’ Pinot Gris 2015
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‘A delicious surprise though its pretty light pink colour should have given us all the hints we needed. A beauty from the start, this medium-bodied wine opens up with notes of white peach, watermelon, stone and citrus fruits. On the palate, it is poised yet has enough depth and fruit to hold its own against a myriad of dishes including Indian or Thai curries and tarte flambée. Produced from both direct press and skin contact for added flavour. Drink 2016 - 2018.'