TN: Lillian/Antica Terra Lunch with Maggie Harrison and Nate Ready


This was a fan appreciation lunch thrown by Maggie Harrison and Nate Ready of Lillian/Antica Terra - very cool of them to do this to treat a lucky handful of fans from their mailing list to a wonderful lunch.
Starter whites

Antica Terra pinots

  • 2008 Antica Terra Pinot Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Olive, licorice, cherry fruit and oak on the nose; silky light texture; initial softness on the palate leads to a hit of spice on the midpalate; long spicy finish. Very Oregon. Oak on both of the Antica Terra wines today serve to round out the wines nicely, adding just a bit of creaminess to the mouthfeel. 90-91+ (90 pts.)
  • 2008 Antica Terra Pinot Noir Botanica - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    The first thing that strikes me on this wine is that it has a similar silky, almost watery (in a good way) mouthfeel to the regular Antica Terra bottling; while different from Burgundy, this mouthfeel does have a lot of what I like in a Volnay or Chambolle. On the nose, again black olive (lighter here), but this is more open than the Antica Terra, and showing sweeter oak. The palate is less strong and spicy, but more balanced and harmonious than the regular bottling. This is smoother and the quality of the fruit shines through more. With a bit more air, the nose gives off some earth. This is very good stuff, I enjoy this on the same level as top village or 1er cru wines from high quality Burgundy producers, but this is not trying to be burgundy - it’s unmistakably Oregon. I’d love to own some of this, but at the $75 price tag this is probably beyond my budget in the same way that many 1er cru burgs are. I love that Maggie Harrison is doing her own thing as a winemaker with this and Lillian syrah; out of a desire to follow her work I’ll be stretching the budget where I can to pick up various bottles. 92-93. (92 pts.)

Lillian syrahs

  • 2006 Lillian Winery Syrah - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
    My first taste of Lillian syrah (I haven’t opened any of my bottles yet) and my first sniff makes me very happy: violets, pleasing dark fruits, oak is very present at this stage but not obtrusive. Very complex nose with hints of meat, caramel as well. It’s the violet thing that captivates me and pushes this into the “smells expensive” category. On the palate, this is terrific - generous dark fruits, some pepper - what you’d expect from a premium American syrah, very well executed. I fight the urge to finish what’s in my glass too quickly, but the juicy fruit pulls you back for more. This wine is the star of today’s fan appreciation lunch with Maggie Harrison and Nate Ready of Lillian and Antica Terra; I am thrilled to own this. It’s starting to show quite nicely, and I expect that I will surrender to the urge to open my first bottle of this later this year. By coincidence, I am having this a day after having my first taste of SQN (Raven Grenache '06) which didn’t blow me away; this was everything I had imagined and hoped my first taste of SQN would be (though to be fair, I am more of a syrah guy than a grenache fan). Based on a small taste today, 95+. (95 pts.)
  • 2007 Lillian Winery Syrah - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
    Got to taste a small preview sample of this; Nate Ready tells us it’s not really ready for consumption yet, as this won’t be released for another half year. This will be an interesting vintage of Lillian to observe, as for the first time, the wine will include sources other than White Hawk vineyard; I believe Maggie and Nate said that the new additional sources include Stolpman and Bien Nacido vineyards.

This sample feels a bit muted at first - lots of oak, with the fruit so primary that it’s tough to find complexity in here. I confess, I worry at first about whether this will be as good as the 2006. With about 30 minutes of air, the fruit starts to open up, and eucalyptus and pepper come out on the nose. The palate also opens up, and the fruit turns very juicy and delicious, and I am relieved - what I am loving about the Lillian 06 today is present here too in the 07 - it’s just the stage of development of this wine, all signs are good. The early nature of this sample makes this tough to rate at this point - for now, preliminarily, 93-95 points, and I look forward to revisiting this when its truly ready. (93 pts.)

I come away very impressed by today’s lunch. I’m not the biggest Oregon pinot noir fan yet but I feel that the Antica Terra is very solid, and the Botanica is quite delicious to my palate. The Lillian syrahs are among the best syrahs I’ve had, so I’m happy to own a few and be on the mailing list. Maggie and Nate are very warm, genuine, and passionate about their wine. I like that Maggie is forging her own original path rather than just trying to make SQN-like wines. Easy call to buy these wines every year I can afford to.
Posted from CellarTracker

I had to concentrate on conversation rather than this wine, but generally, this was very good, in an oxidative style that made me feel like this was much older than it is. Would love to try again someday.

Alan, next time we drink together I’m not even gonna say a word… [middle-finger.gif]

Touche, buddy. Poorly phrased. Meant to say, ‘was trying to concentrate on conversation’, as in of my own volition, as in the conversation is more important.

Except when I’m talking with you. Then I can go ahead and concentrate on the wine.

great notes, thanks.

FWIW, I thought the 07 Antica Terra was near the very top of the class for 07 Oregon PNs. No doubt Maggie is a skilled winemaker; I’m a buyer.