Notes from winemaker Nate Ready:
“The Atavus red wine plays a stately counterpoint to the Atavus white wine’s radically experimental style. Our approach to this wine has become more refined with each vintage as we try to tap into the alpine delicacy possible from the old vines on this high-altitude site. We don’t do anything to control the fermentation, and the direction they take is always mysterious.
We’ve made wine from the site since our second vintage in 2013, and it connects us to both the origins of our project and to the history of grape growing in the Western Gorge. (Hence its name, meaning grandfather or ancestor in Latin.) The vineyard was planted at the same time as the first Pinot Noir vineyards in the Willamette Valley, but at triple the elevation. The high elevation meant that growing grapes on the site was extremely challenging in the cooler growing seasons that defined the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s in the Pacific Northwest.
This was one of the most seamless that we’ve ever witnessed. It produced pure and very floral aromatics from the moment it started to ferment. The cool harvest conditions in 2019 made it possible to bottle uncommonly delicate wines. This wine captures that possibility more than any other from the vintage. Its texture is ethereal and the wine is very aromatic. Now in bottle, its aromas of high-pitched spice and mountain berries are discrete and hiding, but will emerge with thoughtful aging. It’s exciting to drink now, but we recommend holding this for a minimum of three additional years before opening to truly experience what is possible. The ideal drinking window is probably closer to eight to 12 years from the vintage.”