The inspiration for making a Pinot Noir from Oregon manifested itself in my personal gravitational pull to “Go West” from my vineyards here in the Walla Walla Valley for a new winemaking challenge. For many years I have been enjoying Pinot Noir from around the world, but especially from Oregon. I simply fell in love with how the varietal, especially from this part of the world, is a perfect compliment to the dense, dark, masculine wines we produce here in the Walla Walla Valley. At its finest, Pinot Noir has such a lovely delicacy, perfume, and levity that it was just impossible for me not to try my hand at creating it.
If a vintner doesn't enjoy challenges, I might argue they are unlikely to be successful as a vintner in the first place - as any winemaking effort large or small is full of adventure. Searching for the right AVA, vineyard land, grapes, and barrels - are but a few of the many thousand adventures winemaking entails. So, like many vintners before me, I find myself sucked toward the Western shore by Pinot Noir, that fickle, siren, seductress, muse of a grape. As the great-grandson of Italian immigrants, adventure is in my blood. Perhaps this is one of the most challenging for me because it requires new learning, infinite patience, diligence, and a willingness to consistently toil in pursuit of perfection to produce a wine worthy of my family name. One that is produced to the same levels of quality that we have been producing at Leonetti Cellar for over 35 years. To do this, I feel fortunate to have sourced some incredible fruit from two of my favorite AVA’s in the Willamette Valley. The first being from the Ridgecrest Vineyard in Ribbon Ridge, owned by my friends at Chehalem Winery, and the second is the Schindler Vineyard in the Eola Hills AVA. Each of these brings unique terroir qualities to the blend. My goal is to produce a Pinot Noir amongst Oregon’s finest that I am proud to serve along side our Leonetti and FIGGINS wines.
Everything my family has achieved has been through meticulous hard work. The silhouette on the label of Toil Oregon is of my Great Uncle Bill Leonetti - taken from a picture with my father on the day the first Leonetti Vineyard was planted in 1976 at the original farmstead. Toil Oregon was created to acknowledge our past and my commitment to continue to lead my family in bringing you the finest of our efforts not only from the Walla Walla Valley, but now from the Willamette Valley as well. Arguably what I believe to be the finest terroirs for Bordeaux and Burgundy varietals respectively in the New World.
Naming a wine is difficult. It is sort of like naming your first-born child and I wanted a name for this wine that reflected not only my vision, but honored a legacy and announced our continued efforts to produce world class wines.
This is my journey, this is my Toil, and I cannot wait to share it with you.
President & Winemaking Director
Figgins Family Wine Estates