Seven of Hearts Wine 2012 Chateau Figareaux Tannat

For the love of France, here in Oregon

Whether it’s latitude, climate, or topography, it’s clear that Oregon’s wine country has much in common with some of the great wine regions of France. But it’s rare to find a winemaker as committed as Byron Dooley to making wine in the French style.

Byron’s approach is to use French varietals and classic French winemaking techniques. He sources his grapes from more than a dozen vineyards in the Willamette and Columbia Valleys, going so far as to select specific rows of grape vines that have particular characteristics that he’s looking for.

He may be sourcing the grapes from numerous vineyards, but Byron is certainly not hands-off. He directs the cultivation and harvesting methods to match his vision for the French style wines he intends to make. And then, once he’s got his hands on the grapes, his approach is minimalist and traditionally French.

Byron’s Bordeaux varietals (Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc) and Tannat appear in his Chateau Figareaux line, while his Rhône varietals (Viognier, Rousanne, Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) appear in the Seven of Hearts Chatte d’Avignon line.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Seven of Hearts Wine, Carlton, Oregon
2012 Chateau Figareaux Tannat

Tannat is a rare grape that comes from southwestern France, in the foothills of the Pyrenees. It’s also found in wines from Uruguay, where it was transplanted by Basque farmers in the 1870s. Even today, it’s very rare in the United States – accounting for less than 0.1% of the wine produced.

Tannat is usually associated with high tannins – the Seattle Times recently called it “the tannic monster” (as a compliment!) – and is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to make it more approachable. But this unblended Tannat from Seven of Hearts doesn’t need any help!

This is a glorious, full-bodied and supple wine with lots of intense, ripe, dark fruit and notes of chocolate from the Rattlesnake Road vineyard in Oregon’s Columbia Valley. Open the bottle with your sweetheart on a cold February night and linger over your glass in front of the fire.

A Cellar 503 selection in February 2015, For The Love Of Wine Columbia Valley | Tannat

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