Anne Sery Martindale’s Blink … and a Banker’s Cash Call in Oregon
Anne Sery Martindale was born on Réunion Island. Her father was a French diplomat with an exhaustive wine cellar and exquisite taste in Burgundy. On weekends, the family dinner table featured bottles from the likes of Roumier, Méo-Camuzet, Mortet, and Barthod. While still in her teens, Anne stunned guests with the uncanny precision of her palate, often identifying vintages in blind tastings by color and smell before taking a first sip.
After finishing top in her class and earning an enology degree from l’Université de Bordeaux under professor Denis Dubourdieu, in 2008 Sery Martindale accepted a cellar position in Oregon with another French émigré, Laurent Montalieu. Four years later, Anne decided to hang out her own shingle. Her timing couldn’t have been better for launching Trousse-Chemise.
The 2012 vintage was extraordinary in Oregon. That hot, dry summer made for small-cluster Pinot Noir of intense concentration. Given how quickly Anne’s 2012s sold, most inexperienced winemakers wouldn’t have resisted temptation and would have increased production in 2013. Not the cautious Sery Martindale. Again, she produced 1,000 cases in 2013 — all of which disappeared on Release Day.
Then came the magical growing season of 2014, rated 94-97 points by Wine Spectator. After a warm, dry spring, the vines got off to a fast start. The set was perfect. Focusing on three of the top vineyards in Willamette Valley — ArborBrook in Chehalem Mountains, Laurent Montalieu’s Hyland Vineyard, and Guadalupe in Yamhill-Carlton — Sery Martindale began walking rows each Monday morning. By mid-August, it was clear that 2014 not only had the potential to outpoint 2012, but also that yields would be sufficiently high that even ArborBrook would have a few tons of Pinot Noir to sell.
Then Anne did what so many young vintners have done before: She blinked. Before she knew it, she’d locked into each property, TRIPLING her commitments in a few days’ time.
It’s hard to argue with Sery Martindale’s decision at ArborBrook. The stunning estate is located in prime Pinot territory in the Chehalem Mountains AVA, right next door to Ribbon Ridge. The vineyard, meticulously farmed by Dave and Mary Hansen since 2000, is perched at 400 feet and is rich with primarily Dupee sedimentary soils (a sub-set of Willakenzie soil). Dry-farmed since planting, and thus trained “since birth” to shrug off the potential hydric stress, the vineyard responded BRILLIANTLY to the magnificent, warm, dry summer of 2014, producing a copious crop of Pinot Noir — loaded with natural sugar yet still braced by firm acidity.
Sery Martindale made two stunning Pinot Noirs from the perfectly ripened fruit at ArborBrook. The first was the ArborBrook Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountains Heritage Cuvée 2014, awarded 92 points by Wine Spectator, which called it “focused and appealing, with precisely defined raspberry, cranberry and floral flavors.” The second was today’s Trousse-Chemise, not submitted to the critics, but cut from the very same cloth as the knockout, 92-point Heritage Cuvée.
Dark ruby to the rim, the 2014 Trousse-Chemise ArborBrook is infused with luscious aromas of black raspberry, black cherry, and sweet spice, touched with new-wood vanilla. Absolutely voluptuous — Sery Martindale’s flashiest Pinot Noir to date. Rich, plush, and pliant on entry, filled with black cherry and raspberry jam, finishing with the terrific tension and precision so typical of the top 2014s drawn off vineyards of the stature of the Hansens’ ArborBrook.
That’s the good news for Anne Sery-Martindale. Here’s the not-so-good: Tripling production gives bankers cold feet. Once grape contracts for the 2015s came due — with banker cash calls not far behind — Trousse-Chemise needed to lighten up. Anne’s first call was to WineAccess. As is so often the case these days, she wouldn’t have to make another.
$50/bottle on release. 62% off this morning on WineAccess — courtesy of a Sery Martindale blink and a banker’s cash call. Shipping included on 6.