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Travelling to Oregon last summer, I was deeply impressed by husband-and-wife team Scott & Dana Frank of Bow & Arrow, an urban winery producing wines from Loire Valley varietals in downtown Portland. Both Scott and Dana have worked multiple roles throughout the wine industry: Scott previously worked as a wine retail buyer as well as an assistant winemaker at Cameron Winery in Dundee Hills; Dana held numerous restaurant jobs in both the back- and front-of-house, most recently as owner/sommelier of Dame, her ambitious, natural wine bar and restaurant in northeast Portland.
I had the distinct pleasure to have dinner at their house in northern Portland. The sun was slowly setting, and the conversation was flowing as freely as the wine. Dana had prepared a traditional Romanian meal based upon her several years of working in the Peace Corps there. As we sat around the table and chatted about Oregon wine, I was grateful to have ended my trip to Portland by visiting their winery and vineyards where they source grapes, and then spending the evening among their great company, food, and wines. As Scott ended the evening by lighting a paper lantern that floated gracefully into the sky, I couldn't help to reflect how Bow & Arrow wines were made for evenings like this: serious, well-crafted, food-friendly, affordable wines that make gatherings among friends and family that much more special.
2015 was a warm, dry year in the Willamette Valley. Ripening was slow and steady, and light rains in August helped the vines. Harvest was ahead of schedule, and the crop was plentiful. These conditions certainly benefited Pinot Noir, but also provided excellent conditions for ripening Gamay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Melon de Bourgogne. Although 2015 Oregon Pinot Noirs will garner much of the attention from wine press, I've been most impressed by Loire Valley-style varietal wines and blends, especially Bow & Arrow's. And if you can't get enough of Scott and Dana's wines, we have some of them in magnum! -Jonas Mendoza
Bow and Arrow winemaker Scott Frank delights with this extremely drinkable blend of Pinot Noir (60%) and Gamay (40%) from Willamette Valley's Johan Vineyard. One of the cooler areas in the Willamette Valley, Johan Vineyard shines in warmer, drier vintages like 2014 and 2015. On the nose, black cherry skin, dried herb, and licorice stick notes; on the palate, bright, tangy acidity frames the red raspberry, tart black cherry, and meaty flavors. Pair with a hanger steak or by itself. Jonas Mendoza
Bow and Arrow's "Air Guitar" plays on the Loire Valley tradition of cheeky, irreverent labels for wine bottlings (see also Bow and Arrow's "Rhinestones" Pinot Noir/Gamay blend). A 60/40 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from 30 year-old vines from Borgo Vineyard in the Oregon Coastal Range and Cabernet Franc from Willamette Valley's Johan Vineyard, this preeminently gulpable red has herbal and leafy notes and finishes with ripe black cassis, cherry fruit, and earthy flavors. Make sure to shred Air Guitar with roast pork loin, Middle Eastern dishes, or any other dishes with earthy, savory flavors. Jonas Mendoza
Bow & Arrow's preeminently drinkable Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc blend, magnum edition! Jonas Mendoza
From a single clone, this barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc has notes of pear and peach candy, with ripe and rich orchard fruit flavors and dried herb undertones. For those expecting lean-and-mean, cookie-cutter Sauvignon Blanc, they're bound to be disappointed by this wine's aromatic complexity and rich, leesy texture. Jonas Mendoza
From a single clone, this barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc has notes of pear and peach candy, with ripe and rich orchard fruit flavors and dried herb undertones. For those expecting lean-and-mean, cookie-cutter Sauvignon Blanc, they're bound to be disappointed by this wine's aromatic complexity and rich, leesy texture. We ran out of them in 750ml, but brought some back in magnums. Jonas Mendoza