Download &
print (pdf)

Guillen Family Wines

Through the years I have run across many Mexican immigrants that have achieved success as winegrowers, winemakers and winery owners in California. The story of Jesus Guillen is the first such story I have met with in the Willamette Valley.

Jesus Guillen, Sr., came to Oregon in 2000 from Chihuahua, Mexico, encouraged by a Mexican immigrant working as a winegrower. He ended up at White Rose Estate as the vineyard manager. His son, also named Jesus, graduated from the University of Chihuahua in 2001 with a degree in computer systems engineering. He came to Oregon on a visitor’s visa, immediately fell in love with Oregon, and decided to stay. In 2002, his mother, brother and sister immigrated to Oregon. Jesus studied English at the local community college, read extensively about viticulture and winemaking, and developed a palate for the local wines. His epiphany came from two wines: the 1999 Archery Summit Arcus Summit Pinot Noir and the 1999 Adelsheim Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir.

Jesus became a vineyard worker for Patricia Green in 2002. He also worked with his father, Jesus, Sr., at Laurel Ridge Winery where Jesus, Sr., was helping Greg Sanders of White Rose Estate make his wines. When the winery was completed at White Rose Estate, Jesus started working in the new winery’s cellar. At the time, Mark Vlossak of St. Innocent was the consulting winemaker, and Jesus acquired much of his winemaking skills from him. He also received some mentoring from Gary Andrus. Because of his considerable talent, Jesus was promoted to winemaker by 2008 and now crafts the White Rose Estate wines with producer and owner Greg Sanders.

Jesus launched his own small label in 2009 with the 2007 vintage, sourcing fruit from Vista Hills Vineyard which is near White Rose Estate in the Dundee Hills. The wines are vinified in a similar fashion to those of White Rose Estate with 100% whole cluster (since 2010) and native yeast fermentations, basket pressed, and aging in neutral French oak (Dreamcatcher and Damian), or 100% new French oak (Adrian). Damian and Adrian are aged sur lie. Adrian is built for ultimate complexity and is aged in 100% new French oak. It is bottled when Jesus feels the oak is well integrated. The Guillen Family Pinot Noirs tend to be slightly more full-bodied and extracted than the White Rose Estate Pinot Noirs so they have their own character. Total production of 3 Guillen Family wines is only about 80 cases.

Guillen Family Wines are produced in such small quantities they quickly sell out so I hesitate to rave about them. I was honored that he was willing to open the following eight wines for me. The wines are sold through a mailing list at www.guillenfamily.com. Jesus has also made some wine for Vista Hills Vineyard including the 2011 Vista Hills Vineyard Rollins which is crafted from the oldest block in the vineyard and vinified 100% whole cluster. Jesus is pictured below (left) at White Rose Estate with White Rose Estate manager Gavin Joll.



2009 Guillen Family Dreamcatcher Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $25. High percentage of whole cluster. Aged in neutral French oak barrel. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. A solid, mid weight wine with enticing aromas of cherry, raspberry, rose, and spice echoed in the flavors that fan out on the palate, displaying a balanced backbone of soft tannins. Score: 89

2010 Guillen Family Dreamcatcher Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., 61 cases, $25. Sourced from Vista Hills Vineyard Block F planted in 2005 with Dijon 667. Jory soils. 100% whole cluster, native fermentation, 7-day cold soak, 20-day skin contact, basket pressed, aged 11 months in neutral French oak, racked twice, after malolactic fermentation and before bottling. Filtered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Light in weight, but packs plenty of flavor, with vibrant and juicy flavors of cherry and spice. Aromatically inviting with scents of spiced cherries and a hint of smoke. Score: 90

2010 Guillen Family Damian Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., 23 cases, $40. Sourced from Vista Hills Vineyard Block F planted in 2005 with Dijon 667. Jory soils. 100% whole cluster, native fermentation, 7-day cold soak, 20-days skin contact, basket pressed, aged sur lie 11 months in a neutral French oak barrel. Racked twice and filtered. · Light garnet hue in the glass. Very pure nose typical of whole cluster with hi-tone cherry, spice and floral aromas. A well-sustained mid palate features ripe cherry and raspberry flavors that carry over to a generous finish. More viscosity and an appealing velvety mouth feel. Score: 92

2011 Guillen Family Dreamcatcher Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., 31 cases, $25. Sourced from Vista Hills Vineyard Block F planted in 2005 with Dijon 667. Jory soils. More strict sorting in this vintage. 100% whole cluster and native fermentation, 11-day cold soak, 22 days on skins, basket pressed, aged in neutral French oak barrels for 11 months. Racked twice and filtered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Lovely whole cluster nose featuring bright aromas of warm cherries and spice. The core of black cherry fruit is complimented by a lively underbelly of acid and a firm, but noble, non-astringent tannins. The long and mighty finish is especially notable. Score: 92



2011 Guillen Family Damian Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., 23 cases, $40. Sourced from Vista Hills Vineyard Block F planted in 2005 with Dijon 667. Jory soils. 100% whole cluster and native fermentation, 11-day cold soak, 22 days skin contact, basket pressed, aged sur lie in a neutral French oak barrel for 11 months. Racked twice and filtered. · Moderately light reddish purple hue in the glass. Very exotic whole cluster nose with an array of spice and floral notes accenting the cherry essence. Very similar to the 2011 Dreamcatcher on the palate with an added note of herbs and Asian 5-spice. Inviting viscosity and sap supported by a muscular, but suave backbone of tannins. Score: 92

2011 Guillen Family Adrian Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., 23 cases, $60. One barrel of reserve wine. Sourced from Vista Hills Vineyard Block F planted in 2005 with Dijon 667. Jory soils. 11-day cold soak, 22 days skin contact, basket pressed, aged 24 months sur lie in one new French oak barrel. Racked twice and filtered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Soaring, bright aromas of darker stone and berry fruits accented with spice and dark red rose petals. Powerful, yet very polished, with a layered array of dark red and purple fruits, well-spiced, with nonintrusive oak. Suave tannins show up on the glorious finish. Score: 95

2012 Guillen Family Damian Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., 61 cases, $40. Sourced from Vista Hills Vineyard Block F planted in 2005 with Dijon 667. Jory soils. 4-day cold soak, 22 days skin contact, basket pressed, aged 11 months sur lie in neutral French oak. Racked twice and filtered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Invigorating aromas of black cherry pie glaze, vanilla, wilted rose and spice. Eye-opening attack of well-ripened black cherry and black raspberry fruits which are vivid and juicy. The tannins are beautifully managed and balanced acidity adds verve. The aging potential is obvious from the full and persistent finish. Score: 94

2012 Guillen Family Adrian Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., 23 cases, $60. Sourced from Vistal Hills Vineyard Block F planted in 2005 with Dijon 667. Jory soils. 4-day cold soak, 22 days skin contact, basket pressed, aged 17 months sur lie in one new French oak barrel. Racked twice and filtered. Bottled very recently. · Moderately dark reddish purple hue in the glass. The nose is reticent, giving up reluctantly some hints of darker fruits, spice and a subtle oak. Rich and sappy, with a plethora of fruit flavors including black raspberry, plum, cassis and spice, supported by broadshouldered, yet refined tannins. The wine has a caressing mouthfeel, and a finish of startling length. I think Grand Cru entered my mind while tasting this beauty. Still very young, but the potential is obvious. Score: 95

Previous article:
J. Wrigley Vineyard
Next article:
Beckham Estate
Wineries in this Article
Share