Grant Coulter & Renée Saint-Amour
Old Eight Cut Chardonnay 2020
The Chardonnay for the 2020 Eight Cut came from three separate vineyards in the Willamette Valley: Half from the Koosah Vineyard in the Eola-Amity — and the rest from Royer Vineyard (18%), also in the Eola-Amity, and Three Cedars Vineyard (32%) in the Chehalem Mountains. For vineyards unaffected by the fires, 2020 was a Goldie Locks vintage (warm but never scorching), characterized by a balance radiance and freshness. The grapes from each vineyard were vinified seperately and blended prior to bottling. In the cellar: whole-cluster pressed (only juice from middle cut of press cycle was selected), native yeast fermented, and aged in 15% new and 85% used French oak barrels with once weekly bâtonnage (practice of stirring up dead yeast cells that have sunk to the bottom of the barrel with a long metal rod to increase texture and weight) during primary fermentation. The three batches aged for 11 months before they were blended into tank and bottled unfiltered. 12.9% alcohol.
Uncut gems these are not. The wines of Hundred Suns are beautifully imagined and expertly crafted. Which should come as no surprise: Within the corrugated walls of its inconspicuous McMinnville warehouse creativity flourishes. Husband-and-wife team Grant Coulter and Renée Saint-Amour work collaboratively, melding experimentation and tradition with artistic aplomb. This is particularly true of Hundred Sun's Eight Cut series, named after a centuries-old diamond cut that relied on simple tools and a few bold maneuvers to “enhance the natural brilliance of the stone without disguising its true nature.” We like to say that wine is art — yet proving so can be weirdly challenging. Thankfully, Hundred Suns provides a treasure trove of evidence. Grant and Renée approach each wine with the heart and playful eccentricity of artists standing before a blank canvas. Inevitably, the results are delicious and deeply moving, evoking everything we love about the Willamette Valley.