Big Table Farm
Oregon wine country revisited, part 11


Big Table Farm was a lovely visit. It’s the now almost fully realized dream of Brian Marcy and Clare Carver. They met in the late 1990s in Napa, where Brian was a winemaker and Clare was a graphic designer and artist. ‘It’s every designer's dream to do wine labels,’ says Clare, and she’s now done about 150. Naturally, she designs the labels for the Big Table Farm wines, and they are quite beautiful.

She’s now spending most of her time managing the 70 acre farm that they live on. They recently built a beautiful barn, and when I visited, the new winery was just being finished. As yet there are no vines on the property, but this is something they are planning.

Brian worked in Napa for 10 years, until he married Clare and they decided to sell up and move to Oregon in 2006. ‘Price and Pinot bought us here,’ says Clare. ‘And I wanted to be within an hour of a big city.’ They moved in the fall of 2006. ‘The house was faded pink, with wood peeling off,’ she recalls. ‘It was cold. We were wearing two pairs of long johns and socks.’

Their home is the oldest in Williams Canyon, dating back to 1890. It was Joseph Williams home. The big table in the winery’s name is constructed from wood that was part of the original barn, which fell down in the 1940s. They bartered with woodworkers in Vancouver to make the table.

The animals are a lovely feature of the farm. The pigs are American guinea hogs, which feed on kitchen scraps and pasture, and they are finished under the fruit trees. They get them as babies and rear them for 9 months. There are also cows and horses. And smaller things, too.


Big Table Farm Wirtz Garden Edelzwicker 2013 Oregon
This is 50% Riesling, 30% Gewurztraminer, 15% Pinot Gris and 5% Sylvaner. It comes from a remarkable old vineyard, planted in the early 1970s, that Brian discovered when he went to buy some equipment. Textured and fresh with lively citrus fruit, some herbs, and nice weight and detail. Notes of spice and grapes. 92/100

Big Table Farm Laughing Pig Rosé 2013 Oregon
Saignée Pinot Noir. Supple, bright and textured with nice acidity, a bit of grip, and some spicy notes. Peppery and lively. 89/100

Big Table Farm Chardonnay 2013 Oregon
13.9% alcohol. But from vineyards with acreage contracts. Half from Wirtz (old 108 clone), half from Bieze (newer Dijon clones). Textured, broad, nutty and savoury with lovely acid despite the richness. Mealy and broad with nice spiciness. Textured yet precise. 93/100

Big Table Farm Pinot Noir 2012 Oregon
14.1% alcohol. 40% whole cluster. Supple, warm and rounded with nice juiciness. Nicely textured with some spicy detail. There’s ripeness here, but also elegance. 93/100

Big Table Farm Resonance Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 Oregon
14.7% alcohol. Warm, ripe and spicy with a hint of tar. Very interesting: ripe and warm, but it still has definition and precision. There’s plenty of ripe sweet fruit, but also good definition and precision. 93/100

Big Table Farm White Hawk Vineyard Syrah 2011 Santa Rita Hills, California
15.1% alcohol. From a small vineyard in California, this was the first ever Big Table Farm wine, made in 2006. It’s ripe and sweet with lush, rich cherry fruit. Liqueur-like texture to the fruit. Very ripe and sweet. 90/100

Johan Vineyards
J Christopher
Big Table Farm
Walter Scott
Antica Terra

See also:

Visiting Oregon, July 2008 (series)

Wines tasted 07/14  
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