“What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. … In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportsmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.” ― John Lubbock
Fossil & Fawn is cool-sexy-smart. And their pinot gris is transcendent. It’s so fucking smart we could weep. The wine has the street cred to appeal to serious wine geeks, but a casual wine drinker will buy it for the label, but will come back for more when the bottle is empty.
The Fossil & Fawn wine project began as a way to showcase the Crowley Station Vineyards to potential grape buyers. Jim Fischer, Sr. and his brother Bill, bought an alfalfa farm and planted a vineyard in it’s place as a retirement project (it doesn’t sound much like retiring to the Wine Harlots, but what do we know?) His son (also named Jim) has the title of “Vice President of Wine Things” his partner, Jenny Mosbacher, is the “Deputy Chief of Stuff.” When you’re a small operation, you have to do it all. The press materials say the name Fossil & Fawn is in homage to the Crowley Station Vineyards, which are dry-farmed on a marine fossil bed, and the vineyard surrounded by oak savanna, which is a habitat for deer. But we (jaded as we are) think it’s a generational reference.
Back to the geek stuff. Besides being dry farmed on fossils, most of the vines are own-rooted. This Fossil & Fawn Pinot Gris is an “orange” wine, with a day-and-a-half cold soak on the lees to give it color. And color it has —it’s an amazing screaming fuchsia pink, that reminds me of a Bordeaux Clairet. The favor is nuanced cranberries, with lovely acid balance — the flavor is more mellow the second day, if it lasts that long. I’m a bit obsessed with this wine.
Regarding the evocative labels, Jim and Jenny knew they didn’t want a generic white label with their name in script and they turned to Factory North. Jenny says, “That said, we didn’t know exactly what we wanted. The initial ideation process with Factory North was incredibly fun, because it was a lot of sitting around at a coffee shop jamming about packaging designs we did like (heavy-metal album art, graphic novels, saké labels) and how we could weave our story in with those aesthetics. We are thrilled with what they came up with, and keep coming up with. We are having them create a new label for every wine/vintage, because we feel that every wine we make is a distinct work of art and expression, and the labels (even without them tasting the wine going into those bottlings) always magically hit on those distinct personalities of the wines. As we make more wine and they make new labels, everything just seems to be getting better and better and we love watching that progression.” Besides the antique woodblock or etching leaf plates, the bottles are sealed with a hand-applied drop of sealing wax.
Ok. Here’s a bit of “bad” news. Fossil & Fawn is a micro-winery, meaning they don’t have a lot of wine available. In 2013, case production was 130 cases total (50 pinot gris, 80 pinot noir) and they have sold through most of this fantastic pinot gris, but they do have the 2012 pinot noir available. The 2014 pinot gris will be released in the spring. Local Portland bottle shops may still have the pinot gris available (and it does make me want to make a quest to Portland to stalk the remaining bottles.) Normally we don’t talk about things that you can’t purchase, because it doesn’t serve much of a purpose in the marketplace, and it’s kinda mean gloating about amazing wines you can’t have. We made an exception for Oregon Advent, because we wanted expose the wide range of winemaking in Oregon. That said, Fossil & Fawn will direct ship wines to you. They don’t have a fancy ordering system, just shoot ‘em an email with your request. And if you’re on Instgram, follow Fossil & Fawn — great content, and occasionally Jenny takes her pants off.
What to pair with the Fossil & Fawn Pinot Gris? Pretty much anything. Fish and shellfish would be perfect, we selected the Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Loin with Apples. The music match is “A Feather’s Not a Bird” by Roseanne Cash from the album The River & the Thread.
The details: 11.85% alcohol. Cork closure with hand-applied wax dot seal. Appellation: Eola-Amity Hills AVA. Vineyard: Crowley Station Vineyards. Retail: $16 USD. (And the 2012 pinot noir is $24.) The wine was provided by the winery for editorial consideration for the Oregon Advent project.
Photo credit: EatonAlive ©2014
Oregon Advent Posts:
Thank You’s and Credits
How to Create Your Own Wine Advent Calendar
Oregon Advent: Day 1: Eyrie Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2012
Oregon Advent: Day 2: Fossil & Fawn Pinot Gris 2013
Oregon Advent: Day 3: Willamette Valley Vineyards Bernau Block Pinot Noir 2012
Oregon Advent: Day 4: Kramer Vineyards Celebrate! Müeller-Thurgau Sparkling 2013
Oregon Advent: Day 5: Repeal Day Special Edition: Volstead Vodka
Oregon Advent: Day 6: Siduri Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir 2012
Oregon Advent: Day 7: Elk Cove Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Gris 2013
Oregon Advent: Day 8: Cornerstone Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Oregon Advent: Day 9: Brandborg Oregon Gewurztraminer Umpqua Valley 2012
Oregon Advent: Day 10: Lange Estate Three Hills Cuvée Chardonnay 2013
Oregon Advent: Day 11: Adelsheim Vineyards Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir 2011
Oregon Advent: Day 12: Domaine Drouhin Oregon Dundee Hills Pinot Noir 2011
Oregon Advent: Day 13: Argyle Vintage Brut 2011
Oregon Advent: Day 14: Lumos Pinot Noir Temperance Hill 2012
Oregon Advent: Day 15: Cowhorn Spiral 36 2013
Oregon Advent: Day 16: Mouton Noir Oregogne 2012
Oregon Advent: Day 17: Remy Wines Lagrein 2011
Oregon Advent: Day 18: Union Wine Co. Underwood Pinot in a Can