Ovum Riesling Off the Grid (Organic and Natural)
Established in 2011 by Ksenija and John House, Ovum was founded in hopes of producing Oregon white wines that are honest reflections of time and place. Their low intervention production method is a commitment to letting the vintage and vineyard shine, not the vintner. Fruit comes first – our top priority is finding farmers that share our beliefs, and then getting out of the way so their hard work can be tasted.
Native ferments, no subtractions or additions, except for SO2 – extended lees contact 8-9 months, for textural complexity. All of this is done in neutral barrels of acacia and oak, as well as cement egg and Austrian cask. Ovum is solely committed to the production of white wines, mainly Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Muscat.
At Ovum, each wine is produced the same way – if the wine smells and tastes different, it has everything to do with terroir, and little to do with the winemaker. Their hope is that through attention to detail and honest technique, they can produce old-fashioned wines in the modern world.
In the deep forest, somewhere on the Oregon/California border, exists a vineyard far from any civilization. The only thing close is an old sip and stop grocery that closed long before our time. It’s under the radar, almost as if the lines on the map stopped, and this place was beyond. That’s what the wine conjures, an unusual place from a different time.
The isolated Off the Grid Vineyard lies close to the Oregon-California border in the remote southern reaches of Oregon, just twenty-five miles inland from the Pacific. The vineyard sits at an elevation of 1500 feet and is planted on a dried riverbed so that the vines struggle in the rock-strewn soils and very cool micro-climate.
Founded by husband-and-wife duo John House and Ksenija Kostic in 2011, Ovum is a celebration of the diverse expressions of Oregon Riesling. After years of learning the intricacies of the Willamette Valley while working together at Chehalem, John and Ksenija set off to further investigate the myriad terroirs of Oregon through the lens of Riesling, and now source fruit from through the state. They have found sites with blustery Pacific winds, extreme diurnal shifts, and rocky, well-draining soils.
To emphasize the idiosyncrasies of these vineyards, all of Ovum’s wines see the same practices in the cellar: natural fermentations, no additions or subtractions except for SO2, extended lees contact of 8-9 months – all in neutral barrels of acacia and oak, as well as Nomblot concrete eggs. The resulting wines are textured and concentrated, driven by minerality, and framed by unwavering acidity. Ovum’s work is among the most compelling white winemaking we have encountered in our search throughout the Pacific Northwest.
95 points, Wine and Spirits: From a single Rogue Valley vineyard laced with devigorated serpentine, Off the Grid in 2019 is a mashup of mineral, citrus and driving acids. It leads with a pretty scent of peach and lemon, starting lean, becoming richer and more refined with air. Its texture is grounded in a mineral frame while the wine’s acidity pulls at it, for a marvelously tense sensation. Over days the wine becomes more full-throated in its flavors, mingling lees and tangy peach notes, compact and brisk