In Latest Change, Evening Land's Winemaker Says Adieu

Isabelle Meunier leaves; partner Rajat Parr says Burgundy's Dominique Lafon will play larger role
Feb 19, 2014

The changes continue at Evening Land in Oregon, one of the state's top-rated producers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Wine Spectator has learned that Isabelle Meunier has left the winery where she has been overseeing winemaking and viticulture since Mark Tarlov founded it in 2007.

"And there's more to come," said Rajat Parr, who has been managing Evening Land since the partnership was expanded earlier this month. That's not surprising—Evening Land has seen several changes. The company's Oregon wines have been outstanding, but its wines in Burgundy and California have been less consistent, and there has been internal debate over its goals. Tarlov was replaced as CEO by Greg Ralston in 2012. He recently left, and Parr joined the winery as a partner along with Charles Banks of Terroir Capital and winemaker Sashi Moorman. Now Meunier will depart.

"It's time," Meunier said by telephone. "I am proud of the wines I made here. But I love Willamette Valley and want to explore what I can do with other sites, in other areas." Most of Evening Land's Oregon signature wines come from its 70-acre estate vineyard, Seven Springs, in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. Although the winery also produces entry-level Willamette Valley bottlings of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, it has not bottled other individual sites separately, as many top Oregon producers do.

Quebec-born, Dijon-trained, Meunier made the company's wines in Oregon since Evening Land leased the property in 2007. She oversaw the conversion of Seven Springs Vineyard to biodynamic viticulture, and took over responsibility for the company's Sonoma Coast wines in 2012.

Parr was on his way to Texas Tuesday to confer with the majority owners, then to Burgundy to see Dominique Lafon of Comtes Lafon, who has been a consultant on the Oregon wines since the start. "Dominique will have a greater role to play," Parr said, adding that a new on-site winemaker for Oregon would be named soon.

United States Oregon Red Wines Pinot Noir

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