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Oregon Wine: Crowley Wines 2011


Crowley Wines 2011 winesWe often joke about all the mistakes young wineries make, so it’s especially refreshing to see a young winery that’s doing everything right: Crowley. Tyson, Emily, Evan and crew are making incredible wines with integrity and keeping their prices modest.

Spring vineyard WIllamette Valley

Crowley Wines
Willamette Valley 2011

$22.45 in any 12 bottle order or Build a Case*

If you’ve been sitting next to the pool waiting to try Oregon Chardonnay, now’s the time to dive in.  Yes, it’s that good.

If you want to taste the future of Oregon Chardonnay, this is it. Fantastic texture and weight, mouthwatering acidity, opening with kaffir lime and transitioning to this incredible lemon-bar with graham cracker crust thing. So awesome! I want to drink it for breakfast.

This is a single vineyard Chardonnay (Four Winds) that, alongside Cameron’s Dundee Hills bottling, serves as the flagship for value in Oregon Chardonnay. Tyson prefers this to his 2010, and so do we. – Marcus

From the winery:

In general, this is a really exciting wine.  I love the fruit and personally worked hard at dialing in the barrel treatment more to my liking than last year (though 2010 was pretty tasty). I think this is more refined across the whole palate. It is both rich and refreshing with plenty of crisp fruit and a generous complexity. Alcohol is low 12′s, keeping it light enough for the delicate aromas and flavors to shine.  It’s a Burgundian (some producers) method which I’m prescribing to. It’s also basically a single vineyard Chard so the expression of fruit is completely focused, no loose ends. – Tyson

Entirely Four Winds Vineyard (Coast range vineyard, 825 ft. elevation, old vines (planted in 1991)) 75% Wente clone, 25% Dijon.

Crowley Wines
Willamette Valley Pinot noir 2011

$21.55 in any 12 bottle order or Build a Case*

We’ve been tasting a ton of 2011 Oregon Pinots, and this is one of the best at any price (read: it beats many “reserve-level” wines). Dark cherry with orange-essence highlights, good depth and silkiness, and a nuanced savory finish accented by lively spiciness. It takes full advantage of the attractive sweetness of its Dundee Hills core. – Marcus

From the winery:

This has Gehrts, La Colina, Tuckwilla and Johnson Vineyards. A mixture of Pommard, Wadenswil and Dijon clones. This blend has always just worked, this is never a fussy wine. It is made just like our higher end wines and includes most of the same component parts as the high end bottlings. All native fermented and aged in mostly neutral oak with a very high tone and refreshing style. I don’t recall a vintage like this in recent memory, perhaps like 2002. It has a dense core of fruit and is full of flavor and energy. The color spectrum displays the freshness, bright red with slight blue hues wrapped in. Dundee Hills prevails in the nose and mouth, which sweetens the aromatic profile while the Dijon clone from Yamhill Carlton (Johnson Vineyard) works to darken up the fruit just a bit and offer structure. The finish extends, also due to Dundee Hills Pommard and Wadenswil. Absolutely great with food, mid 12′s alcohol.

About Crowley

Crowley Wines was founded by Tyson Crowley in 2007. He trained “on the job” at Erath, Cameron, J.K. Carriere, and Brick House wineries in Oregon’s North Willamette Valley. We’ve sold his wines since his very first 2005 Pinot noir, and he’s special. His experience making wine with some of Oregon’s most interesting winemakers shows – his skills are considerable. We’ve worked with Oregon’s winemakers for 26 years and he has that special something we’ve learned makes a star winemaker.He’s a wine guy you want to know.

at right, Tyson Crowley

For Tyson, making wine is a balancing act – it’s getting out of the way of the grapes while still making solid wines, not leaving too much to chance. He sees a stylistic throwback to distinct wines that represent where and when they were grown, with a transparency that allows the winemaker’s personality and style to show through. Tyson says, “We’re making something from nature, so we have to come to grips with vintages.”

Crowley is a member of the Deep Roots Coalition, an advocacy group for wines produced exclusively from non-irrigated vines using organic and/or biodynamic farming techniques. When the vines are not irrigated, the roots have to go deeper into the earth and the resulting fruit is more characteristic of its terroir. Tyson Crowley firmly believes that he cannot improve upon nature so he is committed to minimal intervention in the winemaking process

Tyson produced three vintages of his own wines while continuing as assistant winemaker at esteemed Cameron Winery, leaving in 2011 to work full time for himself.  Joining Tyson in his work are his business partner, Evan Roberts, who offers both guidance and insight with a focus on the development of the estate vineyard and wife, Emily, who is in charge of “all things fun” at Crowley Wines.

Jean Yates

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