If the label on this wine feels like a bit of a throwback, it’s not an accident—Golden Cluster is a winery a bit preoccupied with the past. Golden Cluster is the project of Jeff Vejr, longtime Portland sommelier and wine-barman, known to his peers as “the Winesman.” Jeff is kind of an Über-wine geek, obsessed with Georgian wines, faraway terroirs, and obscure varietals. Closer to home, he became aware of the David Hill (Coury) Vineyard in Forest Grove, home to some of the first Pinot Noir plantings in the Willamette Valley* and the oldest Sémillon vines in Oregon, planted on their own roots in 1966. The wine they produced in 2016, then, the wine you hold, is from those vines’ 50th trip around the sun.
This is a truly idiosyncratic, personal wine, and a special one. In the bouquet you’ll find classic notes of lanolin, toast, green melon, and citrus blossom. The robe of this wine is golden in color, a testament to the old-vine concentration and ripeness of the 2016 vintage!
* There’s a bit of a rivalry between Forest Grove and Dundee winegrowers on this question. Who planted Pinot Noir first? Charles Coury in Forest Grove, or David Lett in Dundee? It appears they did it concurrently, in 1966.