In case you hadn't noticed, Oregon Pinot Noir is hot right now. So hot, perhaps, that the folks at R. Stuart & Co. have called it "Big Fire." They could have also called it "Big Fun" and it would have fit within their brand image nicely.
This quirky little winery operation/family/company is run by Rob Stuart, a veteran west coast winemaker who is now in his 21st vintage as a winemaker. His most recent stint was at Erath Vineyards but now he's focused on fulfilling his long time love of Pinot Noir by just making it for himself. Along the way he's enlisted the help of his wife as a PR and marketing director, and a couple of other local characters for sales and spiritual guidance, and together they've managed to build a friendly family operation that churns out some decent wines.
They currently produce two lines of wine, one of which is a reserve Pinot, bottled under the label R. Stuart & Co. the other of which is the wine under discussion, which is one of a pair they bottle under the label "Big Fire" (the other being a Pinot Gris).
This wine is, from the beginning, made to be accessible -- from the ripe (but not super ripe) fruit grown in the Bunker Hill, Temperance Hill, Melrose, and Arcus & Erath vineyards, to the aging in more neutral French oak (with just a touch of it new -- 10%). The wine weighs in at a light 13% alcohol. I'm not sure how much of it they produce but there's probably lots of it -- it may not be a small production wine, but it's made by a small family of folks, and from what I can tell, with some care.
This wine is blood colored with a pleasing nose of cinnamon, leather, redcurrants and tobacco leaves. On the palate it is bright and light with primary flavors of redcurrant and sour plum and a light spice as the wine finishes clean without much tannic structure. This is one to drink early and often.
I always like to defer to the winemakers on pairings if they feel strongly, and the folks at R. Stuart & Co. feel like this one's a knockout with salt roasted chicken. I can easily imagine that it would be.
Overall Score: 8/8.5
How Much?: $15
You can buy this wine directly from the winery's site, or you can find them in various liquor stores around the country.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
I'll Drink to That: Bob Cabral of Three Sticks Wines Warm Up: Rotgipfler and Beyond I'll Drink to That: Bernhard Stadlmann of Weingut Stadlmann Vinography Images: Last Light I'll Drink to That: Suzanne Mustacich Warm Up: The Douro I'll Drink to That: João Nicolau de Almeida of Ramos-Pinto Book Signing in St. Helena, December 5, 2015 I'll Drink to That: Carole Meredith of Lagier-Meredith Vineyards Napa's New Reference Point
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune