Isabelle Meunier was actually one of the first people we met in Oregon back on our first trip in August 2015. Isabelle was (and still is) the winemaker for a small estate called Lazy River which is owned and run by Ned Lumpkins, who is also the head honcho at the Carlton Winemakers Studio. CWS is a wonderful establishment, which allows budding winemakers to rent cellar space, use the first-rate fermentation tanks and generally kick-start their careers in wine. We met Isabelle at the Studio and then again for dinner at Ned’s house at Lazy River, when she was just starting a project of her own.
The new releases from Isabelle’s ‘Lavinea Single Vineyard’ series are among the best wines being made in Oregon today!
Isabelle is a French Canadian; who learned her winemaking in Dijon, before doing post-grad studies in New Zealand. She began working in NZ with the likes of Felton Road and Seresin and then moved to the Pacific North West in the middle of the last decade, to work with Dominique Lafon (Comtes Lafon, Meursault) at his Evening Land project. In 2014 she set up shop at the Winemakers Studio and began sourcing fruit from what she calls “well established vineyards”. In practice this means nothing younger than 15 years, with the oldest vines she works with being planted in 1974.
Isabelle's 2015 and 16s are such beautifully crafted wines
All of Isabelle’s wines were made in an identical way, so the differences purely come from the variations in vineyard site. All grapes were fully destemmed and all the fruit from each site was fermented in a single tank, with gently pump-overs, before a long elevage in 30% new French oak and bottling with no fining or filtration.