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This wine hails from one of the smallest AVAs in Willamette Valley: Mt Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon AVA. Covering just over 5,500 acres, this growing area just south of Eola-Amity Hills has a unique soil blend called Siltez River volcanics, which are the oldest rock formations in the valley. The age of the soil is important here because the deposits have had more time to break down over the 50+ million years since they formed and thus allow easier access to minerals by the grapevines.
ILLAHE, pronounced Ill-Uh-Hee, is a local Chinook word meaning "earth" or "place" or "soil". The winery was founded by Lowell Ford just outside of Dallas, OR in 2001. His family had been making wine in the valley since the 1890s and Lowell planted his first grapes in 1983 on his wife's family farm in Salem. His son, Brad, followed him into the trade in 2004 and took over production a few years later. They currently have around 60 acres under vine that include Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Gruner Veltliner, Tempranillo, Viognier, and some esoteric Italian varieties like Teroldego, Lagrein, and Schioppettino. Their viticultural practices are sustainable and the winery is LIVE-certified. Illahe is part of the Deep Roots Coalition which is committed to dry-farming and responsible water practices, and is a Salmon Safe
Illahe Tempranillo Rosé began as a one acre experiment by the Ford Family in 2004 and their first bottling was released in 2010. Because Tempranillo is thick-skinned and likes high altitudes (think Ribeira del Duero and Rioja), as a red wine, it is hard to farm successfully on the valley floor. So Brad Ford decided not to worry about the grapes reaching full phenolic ripeness, and instead, chose to pick early and produce delicious, lightly-hued rosé that, in the glass, reflects the ancient soils in which the vines grow. After a manual harvest, whole clusters go into the press, where the grapes release light juice with little to no skin contact. Fermentation occurs naturally in mostly stainless steel, although about 20% neutral French oak is used to flesh out the wine. The rosé is then bottled after a light filtration and released for drinking early and often. 2018 is our first introduction to this wine, and it's an instant favorite with tangy strawberry, wildflower, dragonfruit, and lemon zest aromas. At only 12% abv, the wine's naturally high acid delivers vibrant fruit on the palate with ripening peaches, rhubarb, and white pepper, perfect for serving alongside everything from roasted vegetables and hearty grain salads to smoked fish and white meats, plus pork chops and sausages on the grill.