Pray Tell Fall 2022 Release Letter

Pray Tell Fall 2022 Release Letter

"Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”
— Joe Fox, You've Got Mail

I love when leaves get crunchy. That first day there’s a bit of frost on the windshield.  The smell of baking spices and the omnipresence of pumpkins. The sound of Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talkin’,” while strolling, clutching a canvas tote bag bursting at the seems with a pile of new books ambitiously stocked for the indoors.  I often think of that bouquet of Dixon Ticonderoga #2s—is there even a better pencil?—and it reminds me of what I associate most with the waning months of each year. Traditions. Gatherings. Full glasses and even fuller hearts. It’s all just a big bowl of good soup.

For the last decade, September and October have brought with them an acute awareness of all the smells, tastes, sounds, and sights that go into winemaking. I'll never forget the first time I leaned over a tank full of grapes and the one-two punch of CO2 and candied fruit aromas sent me back a few feet. Everything is sweet and sticky and bubbling over.  Lids and doors be damned. The winery takes its big stretch and yearly inhale before a long winter nap. It's a bear.

I had my first harvest dream a few nights ago. It felt like the the excited and anxious "back to school" ones I used to have. These days, it's less forgetting homework and more "where am I going to put more grapes?!" They come every year and with them more education, experience, and few more calluses. The novelty of each year's opportunity to make wine and tell stories continues to fill my cup.  This year, Pray Tell will be working with upwards of thirteen vineyards and grape varietals (*Writes note for 2022 "Baker's Dozen" Blend*). Some sites and varietals near and dear and some I'm meeting for the first time. If you’ve been following along or are new here, the message continues to resonate ever louder from this cellar: There are no rules, only curiosities. Intentionality and ideas abound, but also an openness to see where each wine wants to go. It's a bit of call and response with nature that makes this entire process—even when it's just me in the cellar—feel collaborative.

What I get to share with you next is a direct reflection of that mantra. The fall release is all 2021 vintage wines:

The fourth iteration of Willamette Valley Gamay Noir that showcases some new sites and increasing polish as my familiarity and playfulness with the grape continues to develop.

Syrah rooted in admiration for the Northern Rhone from the Rocks District AVA of the Columbia River Gorge.

"Piume," a Pinot Noir/Merlot blend that might have you wondering, "has this ever been done before?!” but is sure to delight (and sure to be done again too).

Dolcetto that actually tries to live up to its namesake, "little sweet one,” despite being a rather massive varietal. Made with my friends at DiBruno Bros. in Philadelphia to come later in October. 

Each of the new wines have a bit written on them on their respective product pages in the store. When I reflect on the 2021 growing season, the word "brightness" is the first to come to mind. Gratitude for clear, sunny skies and the privilege of getting to pick grapes when they were perfectly ripe and flavorful made the season feel idyllic. I explored a number of fermentation techniques, aging vessels, and blends that I believe showcase a respect for varietal typicity while balancing the nomadic nature of a cellar founded on curiosity. Each of them feels a bit like sunshine and I catch myself smiling with every cork that I pull. I hope you will too.