Willamette Valley AVA
From the heart of the Willamette Valley comes an artisan producer with world-class Pinot Noir
A winery committed to exclusively crafting Old World style Pinot Noir from the hillsides of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Aberrant Cellars is a new artisan producer with an incredibly focused and well-defined vision. The winery was founded in 2009 as the brainchild of Eric Eide, and in its relatively short lifespan, it has grown into one of the most exciting labels in the Willamette Valley region.
The story begins in the mid 1990’s when Eric moved to Denver, Colorado after serving in the United States Air Force. He planned on attending law school, and began working part time bar-tending jobs in local restaurants in order to earn some extra money. The restaurants had excellent wine programs that Eric became involved in and before he knew it, he had quite unexpectedly fallen in love with the industry.
At this point, Eric’s plan of attending law school seemed like a distant memory while the idea of exploring the wine industry became much more exciting. He initially got involved on the distribution side and worked for such companies as Synergy Fine Wines and Summit Distributing (one of the largest in the country). He then became a regional manager for Robert Kacher Selections, a well recognized importer of high quality wines. It was during a sales trip for Robert Kacher that Eric Eide found his next calling.“Each year we would take a pilgrimage to France to visit and taste new releases for the wineries we represented there,” Eric explained. “It was once such trip in 2008 that changed everything. I had been tossing around the idea of starting a small wine brand, and after visiting with some of the most respected producers in Burgundy, I felt inspired and knew it was time for a new chapter in my wine-life.” Eric had spent over fifteen years serving, selling and tasting some of the world’s most revered wines and the art of winemaking was calling to him.Eric immediately left his sales manager job and set his sights on Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Why Oregon? He knew he wanted to focus on Pinot Noir, and the natural beauty of the region combined with having witnessed, first-hand, its potential for producing world-class Pinot made it a no-brainer. “I liked the cooler Oregon climate and its ability to produce Old-World style Pinot Noirs,” Eric admitted. “A lot of people have now woken up to Oregon’s potential, but at the time, in 2008, it was a sleepy community of artisanal producers and it seemed to offer all of the indescribable elements I was looking for.”
Eric spent the fall of 2008 as a cellar hand for two Willamette Valley wineries, Le Cadeau and Carabella Vineyards. By fall of the next year, he was harvesting fruit for his own project and Aberrant Cellars was born. “Since my focus was to be on Old-World style Pinot Noirs, I wanted the winery name to resonate a certain ‘Old-World’ feel,” Eric clarified. “I chose to go with a Latin theme, so each my wines are given a unique name that describes their specific style. The name Aberrant means ‘departing from the ordinary or usual course,’ which appropriately described my unusual journey and the style of wines I was striving to make.”
Aberrant’s inaugural vintage of 830 cases included two Pinot Noirs, one of which garnered an impressive 91 Points from industry giant, Wine Spectator. This level of recognition is especially exciting for an Oregon wine, and even more so since it was a first vintage. Aberrant Cellars was quickly making a name for itself in northwestern wine country.
Since 2009, Eric has grown Aberrant Cellars to a production level of about 2,200 cases and he currently makes five different Pinot Noirs - one of which is a Pinot Noir blanc (white). All of the wines are produced from grapes grown in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, with a majority focus on the Eola-Amity Hills. This sub-appellation is known for producing exquisite wines and is fast becoming a hot spot for world-class Pinot Noir.
Another notable factor is that Eric works exclusively with sustainably farmed vineyards that are also certified Salmon-Safe. Salmon-Safe is a non-profit that works to transform land management practices so Pacific salmon can thrive in West Coast watersheds.
We hope you enjoy getting to know this prominent Oregon producer and one of his top Pinot Noir releases to date. Cheers!
Eric Eide - Owner & Winemaker
Eric Eide's vision is to craft Old-World style Pinot Noirs that are authentic and representative of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Unlike many winemakers, Eric did not earn an enology or viticultural degree in school, and rather learned on the job while working harvest at two Oregon wineries in 2008. He has proven to be an extremely talented winemaker with multiple 90+ rated wines in his distinguished portfolio. He is please that the Pinot Noir Series Wine Club members will be sharing his wine with friends and family.
Eric makes the Aberrant Cellars wines at the Union Wine Company in Tualatin, Oregon. He rents cellar space here along with a few other small producers, and truly enjoys everything the facility has to offer. The space, the people, and the location are all ideal if you ask Eric. The only missing aspect is a tasting room, which is a project Eric is currently working on. He would love to have the Aberrant wines poured in a local wine bar or tasting room.
While the business and winemaking duties have Eric in Oregon for much of the year, he actually still lives in Colorado with his wife and just commutes to the winery as need be. Eric admits he’s in Oregon about a week out of each month and then for about two months during harvest in the fall.
About the Vineyard
Aberrant’s 2011 Virtus Ex Pinot Noir was produced from two premium vineyards within Oregon’s Willamette Valley in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. The 119-acre Willakia Vineyard is located towards the northern end of the Eola-Amity Hills, while the second vineyard, Zena Crown, is located towards the southern end of the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. Both supply fruit to many of the region’s top producers and are considered highly promising sites for Pinot Noir.
Eola-Amity Hills is home to many of Oregon’s top Pinot Noir vineyards, and for good reason. During the growing season here, ocean breezes push through the Van Duzer Corridor in the Coastal Range, which maintains a consistently cool climate that is the hallmark of great Pinot Noir winegrowing regions. This climate, combined with the beneficial shallow, well-drained soils that dominate the AVA are the primary reasons the Eola-Amity Hills is emerging as one of the world’s most exciting wine growing regions. The Eola-Amity Hills is the southern most AVA in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and it was established as an official AVA in 2006.