Franchere Wine Company 2014 Havlin Vineyard Syrah

Exploring Oregon’s natural bounty

It was 1811. A young Montreal native, Gabriel Franchère, was aboard the ship Tonquin as a merchant apprentice. Abandoned in the Falklands, Franchère and seven mates chased down the Tonquin in a rowboat. After rounding Cape Horn (and averting mutiny in Hawaii), the Tonquin arrived at the mouth of the Columbia. They established Fort Astoria and Franchère left the crew to explore the natural beauty of Oregon. Good thing, too, because the entire crew was soon killed in a trade dispute and the ship sunk.

It’s that love of exploration and the natural beauty of Oregon that motivates Franchère’s great-great-great-grandson, winemaker Mike Hinds. His wine journey started in Chicago, working retail in a wine shop. But a stunning Vouvray inspired Mike to explore winemaking and to come home to Oregon.

He quickly discovered that the wines he loved were natural wines – no added chemicals or pesticides, native yeasts, little influence from new oak. Starting as a cellar rat at Illahe Vineyards, a winery committed to environmental sustainability, Mike’s first commercial vintage was in 2013. He’s stayed true to the natural wine movement, using dry-farmed grapes, disdaining added yeast and new oak, and working to simply express the grapes in the bottle.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Franchere Wine Company, Woodburn, Oregon
2014 Havlin Vineyard Syrah

What do you think of when you think of Syrah? Big, ripe fruit? Warm climates like California and Australia? Yes, that’s typical of New World Syrahs.

But this is not that Syrah. I was surprised and thrilled to learn that Mike Hinds was making a Willamette Valley Syrah. After all, the Willamette Valley has a climate that is similar to that of the Syrah’s native Northern Rhône region – warm summers and cold, sometimes icy winters.

Mike calls this a “very pure” wine, a great expression of the Syrah fruit. Less intense than other Syrahs you might have experienced, this is a lovely and fruity wine with no oak to take away the energetic fruit characteristics. Only 82 cases made.

A Cellar 503 selection in April 2016, Dry Farmed Wines Willamette Valley | Syrah

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