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Gypsy Dancer Estates

"Trio of Terroirs for Pinot noirs
"Gary Andrus takes Pinot round the New World- Oregon, California, New Zealand"
by Jean Yates

As Gary Andrus's new wineries release their first wines in 2003 and 2004, they'll offer a veritable New World tour of Pinots. Estate vineyards in Oregon, California, and New Zealand will provide three opportunities to explore the myriad expressions and forms that Pinot noir can exhibit in the hands of an expert winemaker.

Gary Andrus, founder of Archery Summit in Oregon, and Pine Ridge Winery in the Napa Valley, returned to Oregon last year to start Gypsy Dancer Estates, a small "Mom and Pop" winery in Oregon's Willamette Valley. From this Oregon winery he has now released two wines, a 2002 Pinot noir called "Preview" ($34/31.60) and a 2002 Christine Lorraine Pinot gris Estate $17.00/15.30, made with a dollop of Chardonnay, reminiscent of his "Vireton", a wine he made for Archery Summit. A second Pinot noir, "Yamhill" will be released early next year.

In 2003, Gary also made Pinot noir from his vineyard in the Red Hills in California, and from his Christine Lorraine winery in New Zealand. The wines will be released in 2004, completing the trio of terroirs.

Preview of the 2003 Wines

Gary confers with Assistant Winemaker Marie ----

Tasting the 2003's in barrel with Gary in November of 2003, it is obvious that he has something special on his hands. The wines, made from Estate and purchased fruit, are typical of Gary's winemaking style: rich, complex, balanced Pinot noirs, even this early in the aging cycle. His Estate Pinot noir 03 showed sumptuous rich toast and black fruit in nose and flavor, with a complexity to the finish that was remarkable, given the youth of the wine. He made some Pinot noir from Stoller Vineyard fruit, and the wine showed the "Blue" fruit and big tannins the vineyard is known for. A blend of the Estate and Stoller showed Gary's genius for blending- the wine really drew out the best of both vineyards, with remarkable rose and violet notes in the remarkably complete wine.

The 2003 California Pinot noir, trucked up to Oregon for the winemaking, showed good acidity and an unfolding palate of black and red fruit flavors, notes of spice and flowers, and a long long, delightfully everchanging finish with hints of pepper, roses, cedar, smoke, and rounded fruit. It has the hallmarks of an exceptional wine.

Fermenting in Wood

In the impressively organized and scruptuously clean winemaking facility at Gypsy Dancer Estates, Gary uses two huge wooden fermenters for processing his Pinot noir. Fermenting in wood, rather than in the plastic or steel containers used by most wineries, is expensive and, according to winemakers I consulted with, tricky.

Fermenting in wood certainly paid off for Gary at Archery Summit, where he produced some of the highest rated Oregon wines ever. Fermenting in wood seems to add depth and weight to the wines, and perhaps even adds complexity. Gary's former winemaker, Sam Tannahill, continues the practive of fermenting in wood for some of the 2002 Shea wines he produced for Shea Vineyards, and might use wooden fermenters for some of his Francis Tannahill wines.

In addition to the wooden fermenters, Gary has designed stainless steel fermenters with special screens for removing seeds ( in photo at left). The tanks are built with hollow sides that allow the fermenting wine to be heated or cooled with ease.

About Gypsy Dancer Estates

In the summer of 2002, Gary Andrus purchased Lion Valley Vineyards, in Cornelius, OR at an undisclosed sum; the property was listed with a value of $1.75 million. The winery is located southwest of Portland, near Hillsboro, on 40 acres. He has renamed the winery Gypsy Dancer Estates. The pioneer winemaker and his wife Christine moved into the new home last year, along with then 10-week-old baby daughter Gypsy, known as "Gigi".

"We're excited to be back in Oregon again," said Andrus. "We wanted to move back, but not to start a winery. However, when I started looking around, and discovered the Lion Valley site, I knew this was exactly what we wanted.

"I missed having a hands-on site," he added. "Yeah, it's like starting a Mom and Pop operation all over again."

Andrus said he was impressed with the Lion Valley soil and the vineyard spacing.

"The wine I produce will be similar to what I've made in the past, because that's what I do," said Andrus. "It'll take me a few years to fine tune this vineyard, so there will be some differences."

Of the 40 acres, nine were planted in 2002, and Andrus added another eight or nine in the summer of 2003.

Part of his return to Oregon was to be near his daughter Danielle Andrus Montilieu and his granddaughter Solena. Danielle and her husband, former Willakenzie winemaker Laurent Montilieu created their own winery, Solena, in 2001.

Gary, Gypsy (Gigi) and Christine, 11/18/03

Gary's New Zealand Winery, Christine Lorraine Estates

Two years ago, Andrus announced he and his wife were moving to New Zealand to craft Pinot Noir on several pieces of property in Central Otago. He was determined to create great Pinot Noir with the New Zealand soils, and improve trellising methods. By selecting the right Pinot Noir clones and rootstock, Andrus said he would create premium wine and increase the price point for winemakers.

Gary founded Christine Lorraine Estates in the Central Otago Region of New Zealand, with three vineyard sites, the 11 acre "Colleen Vineyard", a 21 acre site near Felton Road Winery, and a 10 acre plot in the Kawarau Gorge. The vineyards are near the towns of Gibbston and Cromwell.

Gary, Christine and Gigi live in Oregon six months of the year, and New Zealand the other six.

The New Zealand wines will be available in the United States beginning next fall.

Gary's California Pinot noir

Gary still owns vineyard property in Carneros, CA., which produced Chardonnay. He has grafted the vines over to Pinot noir and made a small amount of wine from the property in 2003, with more to come in future vintages. There are no plans for a winery on site.



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