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February 17, 2010

06 Gypsy Dancer, Oregon Dundee Hills A&G Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir

I wouldn't go so far as to call this an addiction. But, well, maybe it's not wrong to call it an affliction. You need rhythm to move around the constant desire to drink wines like this. I have to tell myself: get through work, the bus ride is shorter than you think, a few quick miles on the mill will cancel out the calories. For godsake, I have other things to do. And then there's that cliche about how can you appreciate anything you do all the time. So I left wine. Well, the trade at least. But it took me a few years to realize how much that was probably for the money; how much I actually left the wine business so I could drink more wine. That a solid career path, a stable relationship, books--that was the only way I'd ever get the resources and security to afford--with money, with time, with perspective--pinot noir. I could've kept it simple, sold more critter labels, and made a decent living. But I always wanted something with the movement inside. Not a flutter of some cartoon wings, a quiver of the pancreas. And that's what pinot gave me. Motion, sometimes slow, sometimes fast. An instant replay of my favorite times. So spread my ashes in the Dundee Hills (well, you'll have to ask my parents or fiancee first, but at least appreciate the hubris for now). To me, that's the free spirit that Gary Andrus was channeling in this, one of his final pinot noir bottlings. The former influential figurehead of the revered Archery Summit estate, who passed away this time last year from complications of pneumonia, lives on. More a continuation of his seminal Oregon project than any sort of revolution, I actually find the Gypsy Dancer wines even more nuanced: an entrechat crossing the typical flavors of black plum, cherry jam, and cassis with spikes of pink and tellicherry peppercorns. You have to slow your reflexes to understand it. Resist the urge to follow one quick taste with another glass. Pardon me, but there's a real story here. And I don't say that lightly or just because it tastes so damn good. I say it because Gary and his wife Christine didn't go about this lightly themselves. It wasn't just another business venture. That's not why you cut your yields so low even Burgundy would balk. It's a wine of new beginnings. Here is who I am now, who I am because of who I was. Familiar, familial. Relational. Passed down. To me and you at the store, at the bar. Sure, we could be so lucky. But also to that brotherhood of winemakers, the Bergstroms, the Haminas, the New Zealanders, the Californians, everything he touched, everyone, his wife, and his daughter: Gypsy. What moves us will not move on.


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