We’ve been tracking this project since our second Oregon trip in 2016. Blair Trathen and his wife Arabella Hall came to a party that Jim Anderson (Patricia Green) threw in our honour; incidentally, it was the first night we met Marcus Goodfellow and Mike Etzel too. Of course, we had known Blair ‘officially’ for a year already, as Dick Shea’s winemaker. However, both Blair and Arabella were keen to point out that ‘at work’ Blair made wines the way Dick wanted them to be made, while ‘at home’ they made their wines differently. For us, the early vintages here were almost an over-reaction against the grand-scaled, richly textured wines with which Dick Shea has had so much success. They were modest and delicate; well-made but perhaps lacking a third dimension. Last year, Blair decided to leave Shea in the talented hands of Dana Booth and to concentrate on Trathen Hall full time.
Blair and Arabella have found their winemaking ‘voice’ with the 2017 vintage
Blair’s 2017 from the Ana Vineyard from the Dundee Hills has masses more ambition than the early releases. Here’s what Josh Raynolds said about the wine recently: “Deep crimson. Highly perfumed, spice-accented cherry and raspberry aromas are complicated by floral, incense and succulent herb nuances. Sappy, appealingly sweet, and focused, showing impressive tension to the juicy, spice-and mineral-laced red and blue fruit flavors, which stretch out slowly as the wine opens up. Conveys a suave blend of depth and vivacity and closes on a gently tannic note, leaving emphatic spice and floral notes behind. 40% whole clusters and all used oak.” We will be watching with great anticipation for their upcoming 2018s – this is an estate to watch for sure.