Country: USA Region: Oregon, Willamette Valley
Vintage: 2016 Colour: Red Style: Dry
Producer: Qupe Vineyards
A California resident since childhood, Bob Lindquist named his winery “qupé” to honor the Chumash, the indigenous people of the Golden State’s Central Coast and Channel Islands.
Since many of the sounds of the Chumash language have been obscured by time, Bob gave “qupe” its pronunciation (“kyoo-pay”), with an accent on the final syllable.
In Chumash, “qupé” refers to the poppy, a flowering plant traditionally used for food and medicine.
In 1903 the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) was officially designated the state flower, and every spring masses of the bright orange blossoms still blanket local hills and back country.
As Bob Lindquist and his wife, winemaker Louisa Sawyer Lindquist, prepared to plant the Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard (SLV) in 2005, they made a commitment to sustainable farming.
Their good friend Steve Beckmen (Beckmen Vineyards) had been growing superior fruit at his Purisima Mountain Vineyard using biodynamics – a system devised in the 1920s that treats the vineyard as a self-contained, living organism.
The couple was intrigued, despite the fact that so much about biodynamics seemed difficult to understand.
During the winter of 2004/2005, heavy rains delayed preparations for planting the vineyard and in May, Bob traveled to the United Kingdom on a pre-scheduled sales trip.
“Fate came into play,” Bob remembers. “My agent picked me up and said, ‘I hope you don’t mind, but Andre Ostertag and Dominique Lafon are doing a seminar on biodynamics this afternoon. Would you like to attend with me?’ I thought, ‘This was meant to be!'”
The seminar was an eye-opener for Bob, who then shared dinner and several bottles of wine with Andre and Dominique. The two explained to Bob that the best way to implement biodynamic techniques was to start before the vineyard was planted.
The next day over lunch, Bob questioned Andre about biodynamics, including some of the more arcane aspects, such as making soil preparations by filling cow horns with combined ingredients and burying them underground for specified lengths of time.
Andre, who offered logical and scientific explanations for all of the tenets of biodynamics, convinced Bob of their efficacy.
Upon returning home, Bob contacted Philippe Armenier, the French biodynamic consultant who works with Steve Beckmen.
Armenier helped Bob and Louisa devise a plan for the new vineyard, and they were able to incorporate their initial biodynamic preparations into the soil before the vines were planted.
Always an incredibly reliable blend, and one which accounts for almost half of the total red wine production of Qupé. The grapes are drawn from 12 different vineyard locations, covering a full spectrum from warm to cool, and each contributes something different to the final blend. From the warmer sites come rich, blackberry aromas and soft, supple texture in the mouth, while the cooler sites imbue the wine with a smoky, spicy, peppery character and fresh acidity. The whole is a harmonious, rewarding wine with juicy ripeness and an elegance and restraint which bears some of the hallmarks of the Northern Rhone.
Food Matches: Chicken / Foie Gras / Mediterranean / Cream Cheese