Oregon meet Burgundy, Burgundy meets Oregon with Nicolas Jay, the new joint-venture between former record label boss Jay Boberg and Burgundy vigneron Jean-Nicolas Méo of Domaine Méo-Camuzet in Vosne. They have known each other since 1988 when Jean-Nicolas was studying in the United States, though it was a visit to the region in 2011 that reignited Jay's interest in the region. Jay told me that together they had spent a long time seeking the right kind of terroir in which to start their project, which they finally found in Bishop Creek Vineyard, which was formerly part of the source for Jason Lett's "Black Cap" label at Eyrie. They also recruited Seattle-born Tracy Kendall, who joined us for the tasting. She was an oenologist at Adelsheim for five years, having previously worked at Torii Mor and Cristom and in a twist of fate, she is back at Adelsheim since the Nicolas Jay wines are being vinified in their winery until they get their own up and running. The vines have been converted to organic viticulture, although both Jay and Tracy are doubtful they would ever convert to biodynamics. The fruit here is 100% destemmed and pressed slowly, higher temperatures allowed during fermentation to extract color and body. Jay also told me that from the 2017 vintage, they will have some Chardonnay, from grafted over Pinot Gris vines. "We tend to have lower alcohol levels at around 13.5%," Jay told me. "In 2015 it is even lower at 12.5%. We are the first or one of the first to pick in 2014 and 2015." In these early days, the production is 1,600 cases and currently sold in seven US States. Obviously, with someone like Jean-Nicolas partnering the project, there is an element of class to these wines, harmonious and nicely poised.
Nicolas-Jay Bishop Creek Pinot Noir, Yamhill Carlton 2019
Very fresh and fine with lovely redcurrant and cherry fruit, with nice intensity and structure. There’s a distinctive woody spiciness hiding under the fresh fruit. Has a touch of gravel and spice with fresh red cherries on the finish. Lovely intensity here and potential for development. 95/100 The Wine Anorak
single vineyard – Bishop Creek
Nestled in the hills of the Yamhill-Carlton appellation lies Nicolas-Jay’s Bishop Creek Vineyard. This famed and enchanting site is concurrently steep and rolling, with densely-spaced vines planted in the 1980’s. Year after year, the own-rooted vines produce exceptional fruit full of character—an unmistakable element in a cuvée and beautifully distinctive as a single vineyard bottling.
Domaine Nicolas-Jay acquired Bishop Creek in 2014, and farm the property using 100% organic methods. The site, which sits above the town of Yamhill, in the rain-shadow of the Coast Range, features 13.5 planted acres, with 11 of those acres being pinot noir. The majority of the vines at Bishop Creek were planted in 1988 and 1990, and are own-rooted. Adding to the site’s diversity, the elevations range from 270 to 600 feet, with predominantly North-South plantings.