Antiquum Farm – Sustainability Meets Winemaking
Aug 08, 2019
Antiquum is an idyllic scene from a time before the introduction of modern farming. Flocks of sheep trained to not eat grape vines contentedly graze the vineyard hillsides throughout the growing season. Chickens and geese are interspersed with the sheep and form a perfect symbiosis of health, protection and nutritional needs for animals and vines. Hens vigorously scratch out weeds while searching for grains scattered under the vines. The vines and trellis provide protection for the hens and geese from hawks and eagles. The flocks are watched over by Mike and Eva, two hardworking and faithful guardian dogs.
Grazing Based Farming System
This entire system is grazing based. No fertilizers or composts are introduced. The properties of the vineyard are not compromised through outside influences. Stephen Hagen strongly believes that a vineyard’s personality can be discovered only through a complete rejection of outside contributions. Cycles of rest, growth, grazing and root die off feed soil microbes and create an emphatically alive soil. Wines of presence and personality are the result.
Soil compaction and fuel consumption are reduced and farmer happiness multiplied through partnership with our draft horses Ike and Olivia. Two tons of Belgian Draft horse can frequently be seen cultivating, mowing or drilling cover crops in the vineyard, stewarding the surrounding woods or working in the garden. Mobile livestock shelters are moved by the horses.
Several years of these practices have established Antiquum Farm as one of the most hardworking and quality consistent vineyards of Oregon with a personality unlike any other. This is not a model based on astute finance, ease or efficiency. Rather it is a vision born of passion, principles, ambition and intuition. Antiquum Farm fruit is unlike any other in the new world. It is quite possible that these methods in their entirety and their ensuing results, are not replicated anywhere. Farming in this manner is more than a way of growing wine. It is a way of life.
The Big Field
Antiquum’s transition to grazing based viticulture has created a vineyard that is truly self sustaining. As this new reality took shape, the vineyard began to express itself with an entirely different, exciting and deeply articulate voice. First, vines began displaying a rigid and upright growth habit similar to Riesling instead of doing the Pinot flop. Flowering clusters stood on their stems and pointed to the sun. Skins ignored their delicate genetics and thickened to Cabernet proportions while ripening to a deep blue. Most intriguingly, we began to witness what is now the signature of Antiquum Farm – an inexplicable locking up of acidity during the ripening process. These mutations have yielded what is jealously regarded as a site of freakish capabilities and one of the region’s most highly regarded and perplexing vineyards. The wines display a signature tension between rippling and vibrant tropical citrus acidity and deep, dark and voluptuous fruit. Complete cycles of life are the center of Stephen Hagen’s farming philosophy.
To learn more about Antiquum Farm, visit their website at www.antiquumfarm.com.
ANTIQUUM FARM WINES
Our Daughter, Daisy, has a ferocious passion for chickens. When she was five, her burgeoning flock escaped and overran the vineyard. This happy accident became a defining moment for our farming. We embraced the hens’ natural inclination to scratch out weeds and balance insect populations. This wine has a bracing framework of acidity, minerality, and citrus. Pear and apple broaden to tropical fruit and a layered texture.
The west facing knoll of our Pinot Gris vineyard allows the vines to grow in brilliant sunlight and thinner soils. This creates an open vine canopy, smaller clusters, and thicker skins. Briefly exposing the must to the skins yields exotic hibiscus and rose hip tea aromatics, tropical tones, and a lithe tannin structure.
Power, Structure, and Finesse in perfect balnce. Antiquum Farm is unusual in its ability to ripen lush fully mature deep dark fruit, and yet retain abundant natural acidity. This interplay creates an exciting tension that is rarely experienced. This vineyard produces mouth loads of fine-grained fruit-driven tannin. Generous treatments of french oak never overwhelm the unique attributes of this site. A pinot unlike any other.
This pinot confounds many pinotphiles. Inky almost syrah-like color leads one to assume Passiflora will be an overly lush alcohol bomb. However, the nose unleashes an aromatic dervish of tropical passionfruit, peach, apricot, floral, and countering deep lush ripe bramble fruit and blueberry. On the palette, this wine continues its assault on your conceptions of what pinot noir is and isn’t. Opulent blue fruit tones swirl among singing hi-toned acidity. This wine is both beamingly bright and darkly powerful in the same moment without feeling disjointed. The tension is absolutely electric. This wine will cellar for many years to come. The sweet spot probably begins in 2018, but of course it is all gone by then.
Luxuria is a co-ferment from small portions of our LaRock and DMC blocks These small portions of two separate blocks have mutated to form their own micro-block with a personality that is unlike anything else in the vineyard. The lush fruit core is fully developed and encased in layer after layer of mature fruit centric tannin. Multiple waves of dark stone fruit, and bramble are met by an electric purity and focus to the countering bright acidity. The sumptuous oak treatment plays nicely with the more-of-everything theme of Luxuria. Very Cellar Worthy.