Avalon specializes in "insider wines" -- wines usually only available if you happen to live down the road from the winery, or know the winemaker. The best of the tiny production, personal labels of Oregon's best winemakers are usually grabbed by people in the wine industry, savvy chefs, and fellow local winemakers. We make those hard to get wines available to our customers.
Michael Stevenson is winemaker for Panther Creek Cellars. Michael's personal label, Stevenson Barrie, has a strong local following. The wines are rarely found out of state, selling to local Oregon restaurants and a close-mouthed group of loyal fans. Rarely submitted for reviews, the wines disappear quickly from local word-of-mouth sales alone.
More About Stevenson Barrie
Michael gets press every once in awhile, although he rarely submits Stevenson Barrie wines for review. Matt Kramer, a Wine Spectator writer who lives in Portland, writes occasionally about Michael, usually in the local Oregonian newspaper. He called Michael's 2003 Freedon Hill Pinot "gorgeous...one of the standouts of the vintage. It's very much worth hunting down."
Stevenson-Barrie is Michael Stevenson’s own label, which he owns in partnership with Scott Barrie and has made at Panther Creek since 1995. It’s exclusively devoted to Pinot Noir from a selected group of Yamhill Valley sites. 2007 will be Stevenson’s 14th consecutive vintage at Panther Creek. He hired on as cellarmaster in 1994, became assistant winemaker in 1998 and was elevated to winemaker in 2000. Before that, he had worked the crush at Flynn, now Firesteed Cellars, and tended bar at the Golden Valley Brewery & Restaurant, where his beer-making knowledge was enhanced by then-brewmaster John Eliassen, now winemaker and co-owner of La Bete Wines.
“I came to Oregon from North Carolina because this was the mecca of microbrewing,” he said. “But I ended up becoming interested in wine. I didn’t know much about it, but I had some great teachers who have become close friends.” Those teachers and friends included Terry Casteel of Bethel Heights, Mark Vlossak of St. Innocent, Steve Doerner of Cristom and Myron Redford of Amity.
Stevenson Barrie follow an unusual barrel regime–they exclusively purchase year-old barrels from other high end wineries, to preserve the unique qualities imparted by the unique terroir of each of the famous vineyards they work with. One of the best values on the market, these wines have it all: great winemaking and grapes sourced from some of the most highly regarded vineyards in the Willamette Valley.
Image at right, John Stevenson and Zoe at Panther Creek Cellars
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