It’s rare that an Oregon Pinot forces us to stop in awe, but that’s exactly what happened with Mimi Casteel’s Hope Well Pinot.
The 2017 Hope Well Pinot is a shocking expression of the grape. When I first tasted this wine I was mesmerized by the amount of elegance and purity that Casteel is able to get from Pinot in Oregon. The wine shows a level of quality that’s seldom seen outside of Burgundy.
Casteel grew up in the Willamette Valley vineyards as the youngest daughter of the founders of Bethel Heights Winery. For years, she worked as a botanist for the National Forest Service, but in 2005 Casteel returned to her family’s vineyards when phylloxera threatened. Casteel used everything she had learned to develop innovative farming techniques in hopes of saving the vines. By reinforcing the soil and creating a balanced ecosystem, Casteel was able to mute the effects of phylloxera and the 40-year-old vines are still thriving. Following this success, Casteel took over Hope Well Vineyard, which became her grounds for experimentation.
Today, Casteel is one of very few wine growers to employ regenerative farming. Under this practice she never tills or irrigates; she encourages biodiversity; and she only uses a tractor when absolutely necessary. Her methods are rooted in science and a conscious effort to reduce the amount of carbon released from the soil. The goal is to sustain a balanced ecosystem in the soil, which in turn will produce healthier grapes, and reduce the effects of climate change—a win-win.
It’s clear that her methods are working. Casteel’s wines seem to distill the site down to its very essence. The Pinot is grown on slopes of volcanic soil and ancient marine sedimentary rock and the terroir imprint is crystal clear. The wine is astonishingly bright and lifted. The elegant, airy texture is coupled with impressive concentration.
Not only is Casteel producing some of the finest Oregon Pinots I’ve tasted, but she’s finding meaningful solutions to today’s environmental challenges. The only downside is that it’s made in miniscule quantities. Give us your ideal order and we’ll try our best.
To order, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
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