Cutter Cascadia, #1 Grandpa 2020
Chardonnay and Riesling
Columbia Gorge, Oregon, United States
From the distributor-
This wine is mostly Chardonnay with about a third Riesling. While there is skin-contact, it’s lighter in style – only about four days skin contact while the “Heavy Water” may see two weeks or more. The “#1 Grandpa” is then put directly into an old barrel and racked only once, before bottling. It is unfined and unfiltered, with very low SO2 levels as is the norm at Cutter.
The wine is lovely, bright and charming. It’s something like a “Hillside Bianco” – the place (so I’m told) sometimes looks more like Tuscany than what we think of as the Pacific Northwest.
A friend and insightful taster said his mind went first to something like Vermentino, with its late-summer aromatics, floral peach, nearly musky ripe cantaloupe and savory herbs. I think all of this is spot-on, though the lightness of the wine, its relative bounce, seems to me a bit cooler in tone than most Vermentino (though not all, obviously).
Either way, the wine is hugely satisfying.
And then there’s the label. I’m told it is, in fact, Michael’s Grandpa on the label. I asked him the story once and it has something to do with winning a chili cook off with an ironic 90’s hipster t-shirt on. And as much as I like the label and Michael’s inclination to not take himself so seriously, I find myself taking the wines very seriously indeed.