Andy Young was taking a Louisiana community college class in winemaking when he heard the news.
"I found out that a vineyard about 10 hours away in West Texas was willing to give away fruit to students," he says. "I drove out there with my dog and 10 10-gallon buckets. I drove for hours and hours, rented equipment, and took chain saws to plastic bins that formerly held tomatoes to create fermentation tanks. In the end, I got two whole cases of wine out of the deal, and I loved every minute of it. So did my dog."
This is the spirit that makes Young's wine feel so vibrantly new, even though the 39-year-old's winery, St. Reginald Parish, has been around since 2012.
His party-ready bottles of the Marigny are light, chillable and chuggable—especially his carbonic pinot gris and pinot noir, which taste like something out of the natural wine bars of Paris and Barcelona. More serious are Young's Congregation wines, which include a couple of adult pinot noirs in a small-batch, unstuffy Burgundian style.
His first takes on Oregon chardonnay and two méthode champenoise sparkling wines are due for release this year.
Drawing inspiration from progressive winemakers in places like Sicily and the French Alps is just one part of the equation here. St. Reginald Parish's bottles are alive and perfect for people just getting into wine. Young's production is among the smallest of any winemaker in Oregon—under 1,000 cases.
Drink this: Because of its rarity, if you see a bottle of St. Reginald Parish wine, buy it and drink it immediately. The Congregation pinot noir ($20) astonished a visiting dinner companion who has a global palate.