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blog swirl & savor

Winemaker Patrick Reuter's Active Imagination

Beth Ribblett

 Patrick Reuter's "Imagination Series" label

Patrick Reuter's "Imagination Series" label

Each time I travel to Oregon there is always a long list of wineries to visit.  So much beautiful wine in such a compact area! But there is one guy (besides James Moises!) that I taste with every time I'm there - Patrick Reuter at Dominio IV. With so much talent in the Willamette Valley, what is it about Patrick and his wines that draw me in?  When you spend time with him in the winery, weaving your way through plastic bins full of fermenting grape juice, listening to him talk about his approach to making wine, you can't help but sense the philosophical entanglement of his work and life as he seems to do both with the same intensity creativity, and passion. His wines embody his spirit - bold, adventurous, uncompromising, unforgettable and sometimes a little crazy... 

 Tank tasting Patrick's "Inverse", Viognier with a touch of Syrah

Tank tasting Patrick's "Inverse", Viognier with a touch of Syrah

Located in an old granary on the edge of McMinnville, Dominio IV was started in by Patrick and his wife Leigh Bartholomew, who was also the vineyard manager at Archery Summit for 13 years.  They bought land in Mosier Oregon (Columbia Gorge) with Leigh's parents in 2002, planting Viognier, Syrah and Tempranillo in their now certified biodynamic Three Sleeps Vineyard.  But knowing all of the Oregon wine jobs were in the Willamette Valley, they've based their operations in McMinnville where they source biodynamic and organic fruit from Moe and Flora Momtazi in McMinnville, the Stermer Vineyards, owned by the Lemelson family in Dundee and Bella Vida in Dundee.   

 Dominio IV is housed in an old granary on the edge of McMinnville

Dominio IV is housed in an old granary on the edge of McMinnville

If you've ever picked up any bottle of wine made by Patrick, you figure out pretty quickly that this is no ordinary guy. The front of his beautifully stylized labels are accompanied by fantastical names like "Loves Lies Bleeding", "A Penny for a Lily" or "Rain on Leaves", and turning to the back label, you find Patrick's poetry. His "Sketches of Spain" Tempranillo grown in his biodynamic vineyard reads, “The summer winds blow like Miles’ across the vineyard’s face. In the beat of the long days, you can find the sun buried within the vineyard’s skin. It grows fresh and green. Rolling in the breeze, it grows Tempranillo. Beneath the soil the roots drum up jazz notes staccato and velvet while whispering memories of Spain.”  This is a guy who is obviously into what he does and how he does it.

 Tank tasting with Patrick during our "Artisan Oregon" 2013 trip

Tank tasting with Patrick during our "Artisan Oregon" 2013 trip

His "Imagination Series" of wines and labels developed from Patrick's unique method of taking tasting notes. A system of wine observation and notation that he calls "shape tasting" is an artistic expression of what is happening on a sensory level as he tastes the wine.  Using watercolors and pencils, Reuter had a fully fledged system for sketching and painting his impressions of wines. Arrows signify acidity, while dots and rocky shapes represent tannins. Colorful circles are juicy fruit notes; half-moons are fruit that drops off at the finish; puddles are overripe fruit. Individual works of art, these labels truly express Patrick's interpretation of the wine's aromatics, flavors and textures.

We are excited to have Patrick join us on Wednesday, November 16 at 6pm for a tasting of his Imagination Series wines.  Seating is limited and reservations are highly recommended! The lineup will include the following and maybe a lagniappe Pinot!  Register here: Imagination Series

Dominio IV, Columbia Gorge Spellbound Imagination 7 Three Sleeps Vineyard 2013
Dominio IV, Chardonnay Imagination Series 9  2014
Dominio IV, Imagination Series 11 Inverse 2015
Dominio IV, Columbia Gorge Imagination No. 1 2012