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A Soon-to-be New World Wine Superstar: Oregon's Shelby Perkins

Everyone who's had the joy of meeting Shelby Perkins has a signature, memorable, "classic Shelby" quote to show for it. Whether the topic is her unbridled love of cheese or an anecdote whose moral is, "And that's why you never order bees off Craigslist," there's a recognizability to a Shelby memory that instantly evokes the terrifyingly intelligent but exuberantly warm and welcoming person behind it.

It's not hard to see why Vom Boden, arguably the best storytellers in the business, made a trip to Oregon for this woman and fell in love. One lunch with her and we did, too.

Like their maker, Perkins-Harter wines are intense. Profound. Precise. Cerebral if you want them to be, simply "brilliant" if you don't need anything in your life to be cerebral. The source of today's offering is the Bracken Vineyard that Shelby has owned with her husband Peter (the Harter in Perkins-Harter) since 2018. You may not know this vineyard by name yet, but if you love Oregon, you surely know its downstairs neighbor, Sojeau. After tasting the wines we weren't surprised to learn that Walter Scott, in whose hands Sojeau perhaps reaches its greatest expression, is now working with the small amount of Bracken fruit Shelby is willing to sell.

Farmed biodynamically and organically, Bracken tops out at 750 feet on the volcanic soils of the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. It's as good as terroir gets for the kind of Willamette Valley Chardonnay and Pinot that stop even Old World diehards in their tracks. And in a "miracle vintage" threatened by frost but saved by a long, dry, glorious autumn, we get to see the slowly-unfolding complexity of this perfectly ripened fruit in all its glory.

Shelby is just getting started, but tasting the wines, you'd think she'd been working with this site for decades. This woman is going to be a star. Grab the wines now.

Perkins-Harter, Chardonnay Bracken Vineyard, 2022 $62.99

Perkins-Harter, Pinot Noir Bracken Vineyard, 2022 $62.99


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