Bow & Arrow: The Other Side of the Willamette
The story of Willamette Valley wines is often told through the great Burgundian varieties; Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Just like in Burgundy, we hear about the grand terroir and complex soils that produce wines of immense poise and complexity. But just like all good stories there are many facets to this tale.
There is also a humble side to this feted wine region. This is where you will find varieties hailing from a bit further south in France; the Loire Valley.
There is no bigger champion of this more “humble” side than Scott Frank and his winery, Bow & Arrow. While he may not be the first in Oregon to work with varieties such as Melon, Gamay and Chenin Blanc, few if any have staked their entire careers on them.
In 2001 Scott found himself in Portland after moving there from New York to work as a retail wine buyer. It did not take long before he was bit by the winemaking bug. Early on, he dreamed of owning his own winery dedicated to the less common varieties he loves.
Even after one of Oregon’s great contemporary Pinot Noir and Chardonnay masters, John Paul of Cameron Winery, drafted him as his unproven assistant winemaker in 2007, the thought of bottling Loire Valley varieties was never far away.
In 2010, with the help of his tireless wife Dana and a small army of friends and supporters, Scott founded Bow & Arrow.
The first few years were pretty rough and tumble. Yet they managed to produce wines that quickly garnered attention. But now they are full fledged winery with a subterranean facility in Northeast Portland.
While the neighborhood has become rather tony and is now the home to more brunch spots than should be legal, Scott and his winery have remained committed to crafting wines rooted in simple pleasures.
The philosophy that undergirds everything at Bow & Arrow was conceived with the guidance of none other than Didier Barouillet of Clos Roche Blanche (over the phone, that is) as well as Thierry Puzelat and Marc Ollivier.
They work with farmers who are inclined to take risks grafting over or planting the varieties they were looking for, and who have forward-thinking mentalities when it comes to farming organically and biodynamically, with many of them certified. Fermentations occur naturally, and fining, filtration, and sulfur additions are thoughtful, and minimal.
Simply put, Bow & Arrow has been and is part of the future of Oregon winemaking.
Shop our full collection of Bow & Arrow Wines.
Bow & Arrow, Willamette Valley White “Time Machine”, NV
The Time Machine Wines are Bow & Arrow non-vintage everyday drinking blends. The blend changes every year and while they may not be vintage stamped these wines are all from the 2019 vintage. A seamless blend of equal parts Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. The Pinot Gris spends time in egg to add some texture and the chardonnay was barrel fermented to increase complexity. Not too rich, not too light with Asian pear and citrus peels riding on waves of crystalline, mountain spring like freshness.
Bow & Arrow, Willamette Valley Gamay, 2019
This Gamay has been a mainstay of Bow and Arrow since the beginning but this is hands down the best to date. Like the best Gamay, this walks a fine line balancing gluggability and freshness with the seriousness level of complexity and minerality. The 2019 Gamay feels like crunchy red fruit locked inside a savory, herbal shell radiating bolts of electricity
Bow & Arrow, Willamette Valley Red “Time Machine”, NV
This year's rendition features a blend of Pinot Noir, Gamay and Cab Franc, that has spent time in a combination of stainless steel and neutral oak. Bright, fresh, crunchy with brightt acidity. This wine is equally comfortable on a dinner table entertaining guests, as it is on a front porch with a slight chill on hot summer days.
Bow & Arrow, Willamette Valley Melon, 2019
Better known as Muscadet, this is the grape responsible for the classic French wine famous for its versatility with all things Ocean born. Sourced from multiple vineyards and aged in vat for 6 - 8 months Bow & Arrows version treads the same ground as the wines that inspired it. Briney, crystalline, piquant and quenching this wine is made for summer feasts or especially if that feast is seafood centric.