In Conversation With…
You may know him as FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper or the too-perfect doctor Trey MacDougal, but celebrated actor Kyle MacLachlan is quickly gaining fame for another type of role: discerning winemaker. Produced on a vineyard in Walla Walla, Washington, Pursued by Bear is a reflection of Kyle’s theatrical roots and his commitment to making great wine in his home state.
Read on to learn what makes Kyle’s wine such a showstopper!
What inspired you to start making your own wine?
It was a long journey of discovery. Starting with an appreciation of wine from an early age, a curiosity to learn more about it, friendships with producers in Napa Valley and finally connecting with my first winemaker and friend, the late Eric Dunham, who was my partner in my first vintages of Pursued by Bear and Baby Bear.
What makes Washington State a good grape-growing region?
Contrary to its nickname as ‘The Evergreen State’, Eastern Washington is more desert-like and has long hot summers, cool nights with minimal precipitation. This produces flavors which I think are Washington’s hallmark…great balance and bright flavors of berry, plum and Bing cherry with a beautiful acidity running through to the finish.
Was the decision to make wines there about going back home or more about the type of wine you enjoy?
One reason I chose to make wine in Washington was because my father still lived in Yakima and part of this project was about spending more time with him, bringing him to Walla Walla to participate and be part of this adventure. He has since passed away, but I still involve my brothers who both live near Seattle. I was also motivated to make great wine in Washington and support my home state’s growing wine industry.
Where did the name come from?
The name of the wine is inspired by perhaps the most famous of all stage directions, exit, pursued by bear from Act III, scene iii from Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. I hoped to catch a potential customer a little off guard, make them smile and say “What is this?” It’s a funny and unexpected phrase that’s not only a nod to my theatrical roots, but also plays to my sense of humor. It just seemed to fit what I was trying to do.
What’s a fun fact we can’t find out about you from Google?
I enjoy playing Pokémon Go with my son!
Favorite New York restaurant?
There are so many extraordinary restaurants in New York. It really comes down to what you’re in the mood for. At the moment I’m enjoying Le Coucou, Stephen Starr’s French-inspired restaurant with chef Daniel Rose, Dan Kluger’s Loring Place, Union Square Café from Danny Meyer and Mario Batali’s Babbo.
Why only red wines?
I chose to make a Cabernet dominant blend because that’s the type of wine I enjoy drinking. Also, I love the Syrah that comes from Washington. It’s not as popular as Cabernet but once you’ve tried it, you’re hooked! I do make a Rosé now that is influenced by the Bandol region of France, but as for a white, I’m looking for a source for Chardonnay to produce a Côte de Beaune-inspired white wine. That may take a while!
What would surprise people to know about this wine venture?
I’m seriously committed to making great wine from Washington state!
I’m very involved in every step of the process and enjoy sharing my wines and talking about them with people that are interested!