Friday, April 17, 2015

the Laughing Pig rosé is back!

Spring is here! 

The sun is shining, the bees are buzzing and the Laughing Pig rosé is back! This first release from the 2014 vintage is brimming with fruit, spice and floral notes, dry as always, yet the rich pallet is perfectly balanced by acidity and texture.  We have been making this wine since 2007, when the vintage demands it, so not every year – hence the only wine we make that continually has the same happy pig on the label.  Made from 100% Pinot noir, fermented in neutral barrels to dryness with malolactic complete. This allows us to bottle without any funny business like fining or filtering.  Like past vintages we have found the Laughing Pig rosé to be an extremely versatile wine, chilled by itself while outside in the garden or with food of all stripes, it just likes fun no matter where or how.  

      photos by Andrea Johnson 

The rest of our spring release is still available and the wines continue to impress me as they evolve.  Stock up while the shipping weather is still cooperating! Thank you again to all who continue to enjoy our wines, we love what we do but couldn’t do it without you!

Happy spring and here’s to some Laughing Pig rosé in your glass!

Cheers! Brian and Clare

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

another milestone!!

We Bottled wine here at big table farm today!! things went super well and we had a great crew! thank you john casteel....

 We bottled the 2014 laughing pig and 2014 edelzwicker -
the rose release will be this coming week!! : )
this is stuff is delicious people!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spring is here in ernest

It's been a busy march... the spring release on march 4th was a huge success - thank you all that have ordered our wines!  (the rose will be out in a week or so! keep an eye out!)

Sorry I've been a bad blogger... but I will try to come back more often...

Around the farm things have been waking up... Brian and I have been re-focusing some energy slowly but surely on the farm - It's starting to feel a little more sane around here after the crazy construction year that was 2014 ... We are regaining a little peace which is so incredibly welcome. We have been planting trees and seeds and putting up houses for birds and bees and prepping ground for a summer garden...  It feels so good to be gently putting the farm pack together.  Brian has continued to work on the fence and I've been looking into getting a native plant hedgerow planted that will create home for our pollinators as well as birds : )  So far Brian has 6 Oregon white oaks in and the native plants are next. I've gotten some time with my boys who helped us do a bunch of spring harrowing and seeding ... again feels so good to spend some time healing our ground. The blossoms have come in full force which is always incredible with 15+ fruit trees just around the house it's a sea of blossoms right now! between that and the cacophony of frogs, incests flying and the elk enjoying the spring grass... this place is teeming with life... wild and domestic : )

gotta love spring blossoms

the honey bees are doing great with the warm spring we have had! 

jr. had his last day as a bull calf - he's now a little less of a man...

we are now home to several mason bee houses... we are hosting about 1500 mason bees this spring...  the more biodiversity the better! : )

We also got a new roof of the farm house... ! 

I never get tired of this view!

We added to more bird houses... I think this puts us around 10 or so : ) 

Me and the boys heading out to seed and harrow! 

Brian preppin' his garden... 
winemaker and farmer

after 10 or so batches I think I'm really getting the low temperature raw yogurt down !! Thanks to my friend Charlotte's beautiful raw milk! 

lt's a love hate with the elk they are so majestic... but they are eating my pasture...  

In winery news we got final sign off from the county on some of the last little things that needed buttoning up on the building. Feels good to have the project nearly complete. We pruned the wirtz vineyard .. looks like early bud break this year... we'll see might mean another early harvest... We have a small dirt moving project going on right now to get ready for spring bottling on the 8th. So always something to keep us outta the bars at night. Brian is very excited about the 2014 wines which includes the two we are about to bottle (edelzwicker and rose) 

the beautiful magnums of rose -- we will have a small numbers of these beauties to sell this year from the farm! 

tasting a library Riesling for our spring release dinner

Pruning Wirtz Vineyard

expanding out gravel pad for the bottling truck... not glamorous but necessary : ) 

thanks for visiting... cheers! clare

Saturday, March 7, 2015

really nice ... Salud dinner at btf

Walter Scott, Matello and Big Table Farm teamed up last night for a Salud dinner with Chef Ian of Field and Vine... it was a really special meal with some great wines!!



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Spring Release is here!!!

Our  newly polished web site is LIVE!!!  and the spring wines are ready to go!
 and below is the spring letter from brian!

Farm and Winery News

We hope this finds you well.  When Clare and I uprooted ourselves from Napa to Oregon 9 years ago we could not have envisioned our lives as they are today.  We set out to find a little more space to expand our downtown garden and backyard chickens and to make wine. We exhausted our financial resources to buy what is now Big Table Farm, so we took small steps thereafter starting with just 150 cases and slowly working on the house and property – the winter cold flowed easily through the uninsulated house and it was painted pink both inside and out!

We did not dare imagine the adventure that has brought us to today – a beautiful barn and winery to compliment the (now warmer) circa 1890 farmhouse.  The barn is now filled with a dozen beef cows, (we started with two!) Clare’s stinky draft horses, of course goateo and plenty of hay for all.  As the weather warms all are itching to get out on pasture which will happen soon…we are working on permanent fencing now to help us become even better at managing the grass in our pastures.

Our wine making journey has brought us to 3000 plus cases and to the point of building our own winery making sense – completed just in time to make the 2014 wines!  We look forward to continuing to work in this new space and hopefully improve and refine the wines even more now that we have complete autonomy that was not possible in a shared (rented) space.  That all of this is a reality is still stunning – we have to pinch ourselves from time to time.  We are so appreciative of our fabulous wine customers who continue to encourage us and revel in our adventure too, we know we are not traveling alone.  
As we look at 2014 in the rearview mirror we are still unbelieving to all that has happened and grateful to all who helped. We are continually amazed by those who seek our wines from all across the country and the world and by those who trek to our neck of the woods to see what inspires us.  Thank you to all who have bought and enjoyed our wine, you are the threads that make the fabric.

The 2013 VintageBig Table Farm

2013 was an amazingly beautiful summer, consistently warm but never too hot, allowing the vines to grow and ripen the fruit consistently and thoroughly.  Excessively hot or cool weather slows the vines ability to ripen grapes.  September however was very cool and brought us a few showers.  Typically September is warm and dry and these last few weeks bring elevated sugar as the grapes reach final maturity, but without this last heat we reached maturity with very low sugar (brix).

Understanding this phenomena meant that we started picking mid September and consequently avoided the drenching monsoon rains of September 28,29.  The resulting wines have fabulous ripeness, generous fruit and long soft tannins that are almost transparent at first sip, all framed by alcohol of under 12 percent in some cases.  The wines are fresh and vibrant and delicious now and they are incredibly charming at the table. 

As we prepared for this release we tasted the 13’s alongside the same versions of 11 and 12 with several peers (we have very little library wine beyond 2011 – we didn’t make much wine and we had to sell it all to make this thing work).  And while there were certainly differences in perceptions and between vintages – the consensus (to my relief) was that the wines were all very consistent across vintages.  I enjoyed the tasting and I hope you will enjoy these wines as well.

The Wines

2013 Willamette Valley Chardonnay  Big Table Farm
in addition to the fabulous fruit from Bieze, Durant and Wirtz vineyard found in the 2012 version of this wine, is the Yates Conwill vineyard.  Located next to the famed Resonance vineyard, Steve Conwill and his wife Cathy planted (thankfully) a little chardonnay along with their pinot noir.  We are continuing to see interest in chardonnay in Oregon and more is being planted, but not nearly as much as you might expect given its prominence in burgundy.

I think the ripeness of 2013 is most obvious in the white wines; aromatic, fruit and spice, a rich palate and moderate but balanced acidity that you might expect to be higher from a wine that weighs in at just over 12 percent. Per usual Clare loves this wine, has already consumed more than her fair share and I am pretty sure she has squirreled some away.  Even though we made a little more this year, I would say if you want some, don’t walk, RUN! Sooner than later is advisable. 476 cases produced, label is a BTF honey bee. 45 dollars

2013 Willamette Valley Pinot noir
As always, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.  In 2013 we bought pinot noir from 3 new sites in addition to the six we were already working with.  This was a little bit of a panicked reaction to losing Resonance vineyard due to its sale to Louis Jadot in midsummer. The result is a little bit more of this wine to go around than last year and makes it a more representative sample of the greater Willamette valley.  Native yeast, whole cluster ferments and gentle handling remain unchanged from past years and help create a wine that is bright, juicy with some spice and ready to drink now.  Adorned by Duane, a BTF American guinea hog.  1534 cases bottled, 42 dollars

2013 Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Pinot noir

Working with Don Sandberg and the fruit he grows is an honor.  His dedication to growing the best fruit possible for us and his own winery Iota cellars is truly remarkable. I think this is a commonality among those who live on the property where their vines are and Don is no exception.  As a warmer site it tends to produce wine that has great fruit character and very approachable as a youngster. An acre each of pommard and Dijon 777 go into this wine to make it a stunner year in and year out. Don’s disc, used to work cover crop into the soil, on the label.  303 cases produced, 48 dollars
2014 Laughing Pig rose – scheduled to be bottled April 8th.  We will let you know as soon as it is ready to go.  This first wine from the 14 vintage promises to be gorgeous.  We are looking forward to spring/summer and having this wine around will make it all the better.

Big Table Farm
BTF on the town!
We will be participating in a few events (quite a few actually) in the upcoming months.  We hope to see you!

March 13 – Simpatica 2013 BTF spring release celebration, Portland OR
March 14 – Oregon Chardonnay symposium, Dayton OR 
April 14 – Pinot in the city, City winery, New York NY
April 25 – Yamhill Carlton AVA tasting, McMinnville OR
July 11 – Outstanding in the field – AT BIG TABLE FARM!!
July 24-26 – International Pinot Noir Celebration, McMinnville OR

Of note: repeated feedback regarding our shipping rates has led to action.  We have moved to a tiered shipping cost structure that will hopefully be simpler for all to understand (thank you Tiffany!). We are also absorbing more of the costs associated with shipping in hopes that more BTF wine will end up on your table!

Thank you again to all who enjoy our wines, may the adventure continue!
Cheers, brian and clare
Big Table Farm

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

they are comming!!!

a vertical 'staff' tasting  

So we cracked open the soon to be released 13's with some older wines yesterday. It was super fun to taste the 11, 12 and 13 chard and the two soon to be released '13 pinots with there '11 cousins...

Tiffany and I especially where anxious to taste and hear brian's analaysis of the wines as we are the ones who will soon be talking to all of you about them - I'm excited to tell you they are stunning! - There will be real live tastings notes and vintage notes from brian comming out in the news letter march 4th when these puppies are released... but sufficed to say 13 most notably has beautiful spice and structure with a similar frame to the '10 and '11 vintage and incredible balance as with all brian's wines. It was also remarkable how much stylistic similarities there are with each wine across vintages ...   he's good that's all I can say...  March 4th is the release date... if you don't get the letter for some reason drop me a note... cheers! Clare

Monday, February 16, 2015

btf spring release dinner at simpatica

Simpatica and Big Table Farm are teaming up for the third year in a row!
 For those of you who came last year and the year before you know 
you will be in for a very special evening!!

'winemaker dinner and spring release celebration'

This will be a multi-course dinner with big table farm wines paired with each course.
We will be featuring our spring release wines as well as some extra special bottles -- Brian and I will be bringing some old vintages and big bottles... sold out things things not in bottles yet ... it will be a super fun evening with good friends and wines...  

 Friday, March 13th, 2015

Featuring Big Table Farm

Amuse – Pork Rillettes, Cherry, Pickled Mustard, Celery Leaf

Wine Pairing – 2014 Big Table Farm “Laughing Pig” Rosé of Pinot Noir 
(pre-release hand-bottled just for tonight!)

Wilted Romaine, Shaved Prosciutto, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Manchego, Bagna Cauda, Fresh Lemon

Wine Pairing – 2013 Big Table Farm Chardonnay

Foraged Mushroom and Brie En Croute with Walnut Pesto

Wine Pairings – 2013 Big Table Farm Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Slow-braised Pork Coppa, Carrot Spaetzle, Savory Roots, 
Milk Jam, Whey

Wine Pairing – 
2013 Big Table Farm Pelos Sandberg Pinot Noir

Grapefruit Mirroir, Honey Ginger Ice Cream, Basil, Brioche

$75 including all wine pairings, excluding gratuity
When Friday March 13th 2015 @ 7:30 pm

Where - 828 SE ASH ST. PORTLAND, OR 97214 

call simpatica to reserve your seat 
(don't delay as they did last year they will go quickly!)


In other news --

We've been working on winter projects Brian and Jeff have been clearing brush to start putting in our perimeter fence - I got to help pull out old fence with my team which made me down right giddy... it was a nice warm up for the plowing I did this past weekend in WA with them. We have been doing lots of projects around the farm there is now a shed roof on the barn and a new roof on the house is in progress. In the office we are doing some reworking on the btf website which we will roll out with the spring release. Tiffany and Clare have been working on the behind the scenes in the office. 2015 is the year for buffing and polishing! : )  We are excited to get the spring wines out to everyone! more on that coming soon...

'brian keep the dog outta the chipper' !!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

a year in review in photos with ice cream on top...

Happy new year!! ... all be it a bit late - Brian and I have been laying low in dec - jan recovering from the huge year that was 2014 as well as taking a much needed vacation from which we just returned - we got our dose of vitamin d for sure! and I did a bunch of paintings : ) 

January kicked off with some more great press!  and a new baby calf!!
(we named him Jr. after Jeff who was minding the farm in our absence - thanks jeff!)

We got lots of coverage in the most recent Wine Spectator listing us in the 8 new names to know, Highly recommended (one of two Oregon wines) and 2 of the 16 top wines in Oregon in 2012 (over 650 wines reviewed)! - we are honored and deeply grateful! I am also admittedly giddy that goatio is now even more famous.

and following this is a drag net off some of my favorite photos and moments that happened in 2014!!! what a year. We are truly humbled and grateful ...

the old barn came down ... and become our big table! 

a table that hosted countless feasts !! and so many amazing friends!

Grapes where tended and picked and vinified (by an amazing team!) and bottled and got rockin scores and press!!   





 we made BIG plans asked for and got lots of support and help! and built a barn and a winery!

special thanks to Larry and Goatio and our founders!


and continued to farm! 



 here's to 2015 - 

We are looking forward to a year of finishing touches, buffing, polishing and refining ...