After completing grad school at UC Davis in the late 1990s, Patrick Reuter and his wife, Leigh Bartholomew, worked at wineries in Napa, Chile, New Zealand, and Burgundy. Eventually they made their way to Oregon, where Leigh found a job as the vineyard manager at Archery Summit.
Patrick and Leigh decided to start making small batches under their own label, Dominio IV, using two European varieties that they thought were underappreciated in the New World: Syrah and Tempranillo. Tempranillo is a natural bridge between Pinot and Cabernet, and not many people had tried cultivating it in Oregon.
After scouring the state, they found an ideal hillside parcel in Mosier, at the northern edge of the Columbia Gorge appellation. In 2001, they cleared the land and planted seven acres of vines. While waiting for their own vineyard to come online, Patrick and Leigh got Dominio IV off the ground by making tiny batches of wine with fruit they'd sourced from a few top growers. And in addition to producing the two reds, they also decided to try making Viognier.
Viognier is the temperamental northern-Rhone variety most often associated with Condrieu, where it grows on the steep hillsides. It came into vogue in the late 1980s, but most efforts to cultivate it in the New World have been a failure. The best examples, however, are among the most aromatically complex white wines in the world.
For this Viogner, "The Scarecrow," Patrick and Leigh sourced all of the fruit from the Fort Miller Vineyard at the opposite end of the state in Talent. Patrick told me that he sought out this vineyard "because it was in the hottest, driest part of the state's warmest appellation"--the Rogue Valley. Viognier can really thrive even in the heat. France's inferno summer of 2003, for example, produced the most critically acclaimed Condrieu in years. The heat and elevation of the vineyard in Talent Dominio IV's Viognier pronounced natural acidity and well-developed, but not roasted, fruit.
Patrick and Leigh named this wine "The Scarecrow" and said that it "protects and conjures the aromas and fruits we found in and Indian garden on the edge of a village called Pushkar. The unctious texture of the grape will envelope its present fresh and crisp nature to create a deeply round and complex creaminess with mysterious second and third aromas of jasmine and honeysuckle." Drink now-2011.