During her tenure at Louis Dressner, one of the top importers of naturally made European wine, Leah Jorgensen fell head over heals for the natural reds of the Loire Valley. After working in Oregon for Erath, Adelsheim, WillaKenzie, Raptor Ridge and Anne Amie, to name a few, she was able to make her dreams a reality with Leah Jorgensen Cellars. She has already garnered serious attention and every nod is well deserved. Leah has translated that lifelong passion for the natural wines of the Loire into her wines of total elegance and unparalleled purity from the complex and ancient soils of Oregon. For her 2014 Tour Rain cuvee, she has sourced fruit that is entirely sustainably farmed and L.I.V.E. certified from some of the most unique parcels in Oregon. Her Cabernet Franc is grown in Mae’s Vineyard in southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley where 250 million years of geologic events has produced a soil composition of marine deposits that predate the Loire Valley’s marine deposits by 190 million years! The Gamay Noir is sourced from Havlin Vineyard in Willamette’s Van Duzer Corridor where the grapes enjoy ideal cooling breezes from the Van Duzer winds.
In the cellar, Leah is a non-interventionist, as were the Loire Valley examples that inspired her. Her Cabernet Franc is lightly crushed and cold soaked with half whole berry and half crushed berry for four days then undergoes a slow, climate-controlled fermentation with twice daily, manual punch-downs. The wine is aged in French oak and undergoes malolactic fermentation over two months. The Gamay is de-stemmed then whole berry crushed with a four-day cold soak and twice daily punch-downs during fermentation then is aged in neutral French oak for seven months. The wine is racked, blended then filtered prior to bottling. The result is a beautifully complex experience of fresh wild fruit and a cornucopia of savory, earth and floral notes that are full of life and Oregonian energy.
This wine exhibits a dark ruby core with light pink and purple reflections through the glass. The intensely aromatic nose is driven by freshly picked strawberry and black cherry with layered notes of red and black currant, fresh cut violets, wet roses, wild sage, lavender, forest floor, a touch of cedar, pencil lead and soft, turned earth. This complex nose, where fresh wild fruit meets layers of savory herbs and a bouquet of flowers, is full of life, energy and an essence that makes you salivate with one sniff. The medium-bodied palate delivers compact flavors similar to the nose but is a bit more red fruit driven with complex notes of fresh herbs, grape stems, a kiss of cranberry, red currant, fresh red plum and a hint of green peppercorn underscored by well-integrated exotic spices. One of the most interesting and satisfying wines produced in Oregon, it greatly over-delivers for the price point. Simply decant for thirty minutes and serve in Burgundy stems at 60-65 degrees for optimal results. For a taste of the “Garden of France,” as the Loire Valley is endearing called, try this recipe for wild boar prepared with wild herbs, cranberry and honey.