Corey Schuster cut his teeth in the wine trade pouring someone else’s wine. Then he helped to make someone else’s wine where he fell hard for the camaraderie, community and, more importantly, the creation of his own wine. On his self-curated website, Schuster blogs about “the chance to create something, to have an end product I could hold in my hand and share led me to wanting to make my own wine.” Wanting to create “the memories, experiences and love” a bottle of wine can contain, Schuster launched Jackalope Wine Cellars with his first vintage in 2012. For his first white wine, he sourced fruit from Evans Vineyard on Underwood Mountain on Washington’s side of the Columbia Gorge AVA.
The 2013 Voyager is 100 percent Viognier from sustainably grown fruit and was naturally fermented with native yeasts in neutral French oak barrels where it underwent malolactic fermentation until completion. Unfiltered and bottled into a mere 29 cases, the Voyager can be found at Portland’s SE Wine Collective where it is coming into its own. Although a slight hit of sulfur can rim the glass, it is overridden by earthy funk, mineral and yellow stone fruit aromas. The palate is luxurious and round, finishing lush but honed with Gorge-grown acid. Sporting a dragonfly on the label as the indigenous creature of the area where the grapes hail from, Schuster features “this blue-eyed voyager” and donates a portion of sales to The Xerces Society to help support the conservation and habitat of dragonflies and other invertebrates found in the Pacific Northwest.
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