If you import antique glass bottles from Germany for your Oregon wine, if you find one single 46-year-old row of chasselas vines growing in Forest Grove and vinify it, if you plant your own vineyard just 22 miles from the ocean in a freezing-cold, high-elevation site that may or may not ripen, you might be completely nuts.
Or, you might just be Barnaby and Olga Tuttle. The rules of the wine game are changing, and in Oregon, the Tuttles are at the forefront of the new guard. Where the old buzzword was “big,” as in oak and alcohol, it’s now all about “small”—low pH, low alcohol and low brix (a ripeness measure) at harvest. Where the cool 2007 vintage was viewed in some quarters as disastrous, the cooler 2010 and 2011 vintages are triumphs-in-the making.
That’s because the Tuttle way of thinking is taking hold.