This post is excerpted from an article by Rebecca Meïr-Liebman. You can read the entire article here.
A beautiful estate in the peaceful foothills of the Chehalem Mountain AVA. It was founded in 1999 by Boyd and Cassandra Teegarden and named after their daughter Natalie, who was one year old at the time. Walking with Mr. Teegarden through their vineyards, I could feel his deep connection to this place. Where many other winemakers talk only about their grapes and wines, Mr. Teegarden talked about their walnut and oak trees, and the bluebirds who visit the vineyards; his view is that quality wines can’t exist without a true connection with the land, animals, and nature as whole.
Natalie’s Estate’s uniqueness is its old-school approach to winemaking. For example, by employing an old fashioned method of blending wines called field blending, where, at the time of harvest, the grapes of the different Pinot Noir clones are combined right there in the vineyard, followed by fermenting and aging together.
In contrast, the more common way of blending, is to harvest, ferment, and age each clone separately, combining them only afterwards in the barrel. Field blending creates very harmonious blended wines.
Natalie’s Estate’s Pinot Noirs are unfiltered and un-fined. Fining is the process of adding protein – often gelatin or egg whites – to the wine. The proteins bind with any unwanted lees or particles, and falls to the bottom of the barrel, leaving the wine crystal clear. Mr. Teegarden quotes a saying that is common among traditional French winemakers; “Filtering strips the soul from the wine.” Non-filtering and non-fining results in Natalie’s Pinot Noirs being somewhat hazy in the glass, beautifully authentic and old-school in feeling, with an almost rustic, natural, yet refined, texture. Try their 2016 Estate Pinot Noir and 2012 Estate Pinot Noir.