Raptor Ridge and Memories of My First Oregon Pinot Noir

I can’t remember the first moment that I tasted an Oregon Pinot Noir. It was probably around the time I got my first job in Nashville, TN, which coincidentally was the first place I was legally allowed to serve alcohol at a restaurant. Until then I had only waited tables at chain restaurants in dry counties in Arkansas. I remember instantly realizing there was something special about Oregon Pinot Noir—even in the infancy of my beverage career.

At the time I first discovered this grape varietal, I didn’t know what the word “terroir” meant. I didn’t begin to understand the decision making process that went into producing great wine, or comprehend the amount of effort it takes to move a pallet of wine from one side of the country into a conservative state in the Bible Belt.  I didn’t understand microclimates, irrigation or the lack thereof, cultivation, or the investment of money, blood, sweat, and tears that go into pouring wine into a glass for a customer, to pair with a nice cut of meat.

Something happened when I tasted Oregon Pinot Noir for the first time. I discovered that subtle flavor could stand the test time. I tasted notes of fruit I had never tasted before, and the earth from which the wine had come. I had never been to Oregon wine country, but I felt a familiarity in their wines.

It’s no secret that I love working with Alexia Elichiry of De Nux Distributing. We were friends long before I ever knew that South on Main would exist. There is something about having built friendships with the people that supply me wine, beer and spirits that makes my job both easier and more enjoyable. Our goal with our wine list has always been to maintain simple, affordable offerings that are of the highest level of quality possible. When Alexia brought Raptor Ridge wines into our market, it quickly became apparent that this brand fit perfectly into the program we were trying to develop. Their wines have the personality, depth, character, and flavor that we want to offer to our customers - the stars had aligned. These grapes have been nurtured into something very special, bottled by people who genuinely care about the quality of their product. They’re brought to Arkansas by someone who genuinely cares about South on Main and our customers.

I could rattle on about flavor profiles and vintages, but I would rather share with you the story of these wines which tell a tale of friendship, community, hard work, and dedication to quality. We hope that as you taste them with us that you feel like you’ve become part of that story.