After working with Manfred and Elaine Krankl as assistant winemaker at Sine Qua Non for 10 years, Maggie Harrison struck out on her own in 2005. She landed in Oregon where as co-owner, winemaker and vineyard manager at the small Antica Terra in the Willamette Valley, her focus is strictly Pinot Noir.
Talking to me last week, she said it’s been a long winter. And every year at this time, just as the Willamette Valley is emerging from a winter-like spring and the sun starts to come out, she and her husband Michael can’t stop drinking wines from the islands.
“We went through and looked at what we were drinking and the bottles literally were almost all from islands—a wild-fermented Assyrtiko from Gaia Wines on Santorini, a rosé from Los Bermejo on the Canary Islands and a bunch of wines from Domaine Comte Abbatucci in Corsica.
“We must be starving for sun!” she says, laughing. “It’s coming and actually showed up for a couple of days --and then it started pouring again, which may be why we’re drinking all the island wines.”
“Last night,” she told me, “I opened a bottle I’d been given as a gift, something I’d never had before. It was the 2011 “La Solana” from the Canary Islands, and the producer Suertes del Marqués. Made from a native red variety called Listán Negro, it comes from one parcel of old vines.”
She loves that “La Solana” is “highly floral and has this savage dark fruit and wild berries and tobacco. We’d been outside all day and were all sort of sunburned. It was getting chilly and we were grilling rabbits outside over a fire and this wine seemed like the best thing to be drinking at that moment. That gift bottle turned out to be a real revelation.”