Rallison Cellars 2011 Brut Methode Champenoise

“When Pigs Fly!”

Jared Rallison’s friends and family were utterly incredulous when they heard he wanted to be a winemaker. More than one said, “When pigs fly!” when he told them of his dream.

After all, he lived in Utah, had a full-time job as a pharmaceutical executive, and was the father of three young girls. When pigs fly, indeed. But dreams don’t die.

After trying to make wine in Utah, Jared and his family moved to Sherwood, Oregon, and found a place to plant some grapes. Today, Rallison Cellars is a small but amazing little label – producing less than 1500 cases a year, almost all sold on site and to wine club members.

In recognition of the challenges they’ve overcome, his wife Lari gave him a flying pig weathervane to put atop the winery built next to the Rallison family home.

And just a few weeks before we first visited in November 2014, a huge windstorm came through – and the pig was ripped from the roof, took flight, and landed in the vineyard. When pigs fly!

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Rallison Cellars, Sherwood, Oregon
2011 Brut Methode Champenoise

In 2011, Jared Rallison made his first attempt at sparkling wine – and wow, it’s impressive.

Doing things the hard way, he approached it with the traditional Méthode Champenoise production style that’s been used in the Champagne region for over 200 years.

How’s it work? Start by making still wine, blend it together, and then add sugar and yeast to the bottle for secondary fermentation. After aging, the labor-intensive riddling process occurs – shaking and turning the bottles every day for several weeks, in order to move the yeast sediment (the lees) to the top of the upside-down bottle. Once the yeast plug has developed, the bottle is opened, the yeast removed, and corked for further aging.

Made with a traditional blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, the Rallison sparkling is excellent – with plenty of fine bubbles and a hint of yeastiness on the nose. It has a smooth mouthfeel balanced by plenty of acid. Lots of green apple and light citrus flavors.

A Cellar 503 selection in December 2015, Holiday Sparkling Special Willamette Valley | Chardonnay, Pinot Noir

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