The Wine: Piquette 2021
The Marigny Piquette is finally here! Here's how Andy Young (the winemaker) describes it: "Our take on Piquette was made by filling fermentation bins with pressed pomace (the leftover grape stuff I mentioned above) + water and giving that combo a few days of maceration on skins. After the liquid seemed to taste about right, it was drained to tank and the pomace was re-pressed into that same tank. A small amount of underripe Pinot Gris juice was added to help adjust the acidity and general chemistry. This liquid was racked twice, crossflow filtered and professionally bottled with CO2 added. The result is a crisp, clean drink that straddles the line of many of our favorite things (flavored fizzy water, beer, hard seltzer), while being completely unique and unto itself."
The Producer: St. Reginald Parish
Andrew Reginald Young left behind a career as a New Orleans rock drummer in 2012 to make low-intervention natural wine from cooler climate vineyard sites in the Willamette Valley. He works with a lot of carbonic maceration to keep the wines light, all fermented with native yeasts and minimal intervention in the winery. The name of the winery is an amalgamation on his middle name, Reginald, and his neighborhood growing up in New Orleans, St Tammany Parish.
The Region: Willamette Valley
Willamette Valley AVA is located in western Oregon, stretching for about 120 miles south of Portland. The Willamette River runs through the entire region. Willamette Valley is famous primarily for its Pinot Noirs, and it’s become one of the world’s benchmark for this cold-climate grape varietal, in some cases rivaling Burgundy.
The development of viticulture and winemaking in Willamette Valley can be attributed to the curiosity of a handful of University of California Davis students. In the 1960s they explored the area’s potential for viticulture and found that Pinot Noir would have adapted the best, and the rest is history.
In 1979, a Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley took part in the Gault-Millau French Wine Olympiades, beating several Burgundy Pinot Noirs, which at the time were regarded as the best expression of this fascinating grape varietal. This put Oregon and especially Willamette Valley one the wine world map.
Willamette Valley has been its own AVA since 1984, but in 2002 a movement to differentiate the valley’s terroirs started. As a result, several new sub-AVAs have been established in the past fifteen years: Dundee Hills, McMinnville, Eola-Amity Hills, Yamhill-Carlton District, and Chehalem Mountains and Ribbon Ridge.
The Terroir of Willamette Valley
The climate of Willamette Valley is predominantly maritime with rainy winters and dry summers. Temperature variation between day and night can be substantial. Pinot Noir, a grape varietal which tends to ripen early and favors cool climates, has adapted perfectly to the region.
The characteristic soil formation of Willamette Valley is rich in iron and is called Jory. It can be found pretty much everywhere in the valley and it’s responsible for Willamette’s signature Pinot Noir profile.