showcasing exceptional vineyards through elegantly crafted wines
Representing the newest generation of Pacific Northwest winemakers, identical twin brothers Vince and Cheney Vidrine are releasing their inaugural project, Meristem Wines. Both exceedingly accomplished young winemakers with nearly 25 combined vintages of experience, they have sourced some of the best fruit in Oregon to produce profoundly fascinating and delicious wines.
Named after the undifferentiated cell tissue in all plants’ growing points, a meristem is capable of becoming any part of a plant, be it shoot, leaf, tendril, or fruit. To these brothers, who themselves once were the same cell, this biological reference represents a shared beginning with limitless possibilities. This is the start of something lasting.
Vince has been working in winemaking and vine growing for over a decade, starting his career when he obtained the first Enology and Viticulture degree ever given at Oregon State University. He has worked harvests throughout the world, from Burgundy to New Zealand, Napa to Australia, and back to Oregon. He is currently the assistant winemaker to the renowned Robert Brittan, where he has helped create the wines for critically acclaimed brands such as Brittan Vineyards, Ayoub and Winderlea Wines, among others.
Cheney took a less conventional path toward winemaking. Originally a wood scientist, Cheney earned Undergraduate and Master’s degrees from the Oregon State University Forestry Department and studied wood preservation professionally until the lure of grape fermentation became too strong. Working his first harvest for his brother in 2010, Cheney has since participated in an impressive number of vintages throughout the world, including four full harvests in 2012 and three the previous year. He is currently working full time in the cellars of Tartan Cellars and Union Wine Company.
Inspired by so many great vineyards, winemakers and wines, it’s not surprising that these two would eventually come together to make their own statement.
It is no coincidence that Vince and Cheney have selected vineyards from the McMinnville AVA (American Viticultural Area), having worked with grapes from every corner of the Willamette Valley. They strongly believe that the area has something unique and compelling to offer despite being little known and rarely publicized. The wines have the inimitable capacity to be powerful and concentrated yet elegant and lithe due to the unusual combination of its weather and soils. Because of the diverse topography, each vineyard has the ability to express itself as decidedly McMinnville but distinctively itself.
For their first release of wines, Cheney and Vince purchased Pinot Noir grapes in 2012 from two historic vineyards, both on the southern slope of the McMinnville AVA and both over 20 years old. The wines were fermented, aged and bottled separately, and like the winemakers, they share a characteristic sense of origin while exhibiting very distinct identities.
2012 Bass Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir
Bass Hill Vineyard, once known as Schouten Vineyard produced a Pinot Noir that is layered with deep, dark red fruits and enigmatic spices. It is rich and mouthcoating and focused handsomely by a solid core of acid. It is of a classic style of thoughtful Pinot Noirs, whose complexity will only increase as the years go by.
2012 Meredith-Mitchell Vineyard Pinot Noir
Meredith Mitchell Vineyard has become an important source of grapes in the Willamette Valley, producing some of the most powerfully structured and acid driven Pinot Noirs in the World. This wine is lush with sweet, black fruit that is round, supple and welcoming. It is also intensely dense on the palate, with intriguingly dark spices and dried herbs. This wine is fascinating and delicious and it has the architecture to age beautifully.