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Elmwood: Minimus to the Maximus

Minimus: the genre-defying, delight-delivering wine project of Chad Stock, one of the most restlessly inventive winemakers in America.

The so-called (well, okay: us-called) "Rad Scientist of Oregon" is back in town tomorrow... and he has a brand-new a box of goodies to share! It's hard to articulate both how much we love these beasts, and how a guy as experimental as Chad is achieves such necessitous wines. You have the feeling not of someone experimenting for experimentation's sake, but of an explorer discovering a thing that needed to exist.

Each Minimus wine is an individually numbered, non-repeating experiment. (Experiment #1, e.g., was devoted to aging in acacia barrels; Experiment #2 was focused on co-fermenting Tempranillo with Viognier skins; Experiment #3....) It's a project just as insane as it is insanely delicious.

Tomorrow will include old faves, like Amphorae-aged Sauvignon Blanc (!)... but it will also mark the Berkeley debut of many of his newest wines... including a Pinot from the oldest known vines in Oregon (1968!), an astonishment he calls "The Mother" (named thus for the way he uses a "starter" culture of Chardonnay lees, just like a sourdough guru might), and the (now-prohibited!) Vinous Beast Formerly Known As: Expletive Deleted.