Stephen Hagen is a passionate man. You’d have to be to farm the way he does. Either that or crazy.
By his own admission, he is “obsessed with growing the best wines possible.” The way this plays out is that he does everything by hand, the old fashioned way. Hand pruning, hand training, horse-drawn plow, sheep-grazed, meticulously tended and hand harvested.
The fruit he produces is some of the most unique I’ve come across in the Willamette Valley. Is it the terroir? Is it the way he farms? We may never know, but my guess is that it’s a little of both.
Aurosa is a rarity. It’s a truly intriguing and complex Pinot Gris – a grape which usually builds simple wines meant for thoughtless sipping. Not this one though! There is beautiful minerality, and an array of stone fruits that peel off in layers. Extended skin contact has given this wine some color – to the point where it can be called a rosé, but I guarantee you will have never had a rosé quite like this – even if you are versed in so-called “orange” wines. (which admittedly, this is not. The color would be better described as peach-copper.)
It sure is priced like a simple wine though! Stock up on this one for patio drinking!
From the winery:
Aurosa is an intriguing wine of uncommon methodology. I grow the pinot gris for this wine more like a high end pinot noir, employing more sun exposure to the clusters and shoot positioning throughout the growing season. This ensures a thickening of the skins and allows a fuller spectrum of flavor and aromatic development. Conversely, the yields are elevated to increase acidity, repress sugars, and lengthen hang time. The increased crop loads helps to retain a framework of minerality and acidity.
The fruit is gently crushed and left on the skins for 36 hours before being pressed, barrel fermented, and resting on lees for 5 months. The lees are frequently stirred throughout this final period to build layers of texture and intrigue.
Aurosa showcases a charming light copper color and unique hibiscus tea and rose hip tones. Slight wisps of lavender, violets, and tea rose intermingle with citrus, river stone, and steel. A layered texture compliments the dancing lacework of this intriguing pinot gris.