Fausse Piste winery is the brainchild of Jesse Skiles. Skiles worked in the wine industry in Oregon, most notably at Owen Roe, for a few years and then started his own thing about six years ago in Portland. As is not surprising in Portland’s cutting-edge wine and food environment, Skiles wanted to to do something different. For him that meant a minimalist, back-to-basics approach to making wine. He wanted to dial back the oak and lower the alcohol on his wines by picking earlier. He also wanted to use older approaches to wine making like whole-cluster fermentation and low sulfur additions. His Syrah is a great example of how this approach can work. It’s damn good, it’s food-friendly and light on its feet and it’s under $20.
The wine: This is not a savory Syrah, but it has a purity of fruit untouched by the use of any new oak in its aging process. There’s some earthiness there in the background and mushroom aromas, but really this is a fruit forward Syrah that just screams ripe plum and cherry. It’s a simple, food-friendly wine that’s nicely balanced, very little alcohol comes through and there’s a good amount of acidity. The Fausse Piste put a big smile on my face.