Olenik Vineyard is adjacent to Lia’s Vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains AVA running down from the center of the hillside whereas Lia’s crawls along and eventually up the hillside. Both were originally part of the Jacob-Hart Vineyard which was established by the former owner of Rex Hill Winery, Paul Hart, back in the early 1990s. John Olenik purchased this section of the vineyard in 2007 and has added onto the original purchase. Since Olenik Vineyard runs down to hill from Lia’s it is planted exclusively in Marine soil, however there is a deeper story to this vineyard then just that.
Patricia Green Cellars originally began sourcing fruit from Olenik Vineyard in 2009 from a section of Wadensvil Clone planted in 1991. Wadensvil Clone planted in Marine soil produces exceptional wines that are deft, graceful and so full of minerality that they often smell of quartz. This was quite a coup for the winery and the 2009 and 2010 were among the best wines produced in the cellar. In 2011 another section of the vineyard was offered and while it was a section planted to Pommard Clone only in 2008 the unique nature of the block made it impossible to pass up. Usually we do not have much interest in extremely young vine fruit as the quality can be suspect, the nature of the wine can change greatly year to year, yields can be wildly inconsistent, tougher vintages are harder on the young plants and, in short, you are not entirely sure what you are going to end up with year to year. But this block was so unique there was no passing it up. This is now monikered as the Anklebreaker Block due to its amazingly rocky soil that creates difficult and dangerous footing while treading through the vineyard.
These two sections produce utterly and outstandingly different wines. This one site encapsulates what the thrust and purpose of the winery is in these two wines. While born from the same relatively small vineyard the Olenik Vineyard, Wadensvil Clone is a graceful, sleet, austere wine that smells of white crystal and has graceful tannins and is generally light in pigmentation. The Olenik Vineyard, Anklebreaker Block (not bottled on its own since 2012) is a brooding, dark, dense, heady wine that is powerful, tannic and rustic in a domestic wine sort of way. They are bottled separately because their natures are entirely different and deserve and demand to be shown for what they are on their own terms. This is the beauty of Pinot Noir when made in a way that is oriented toward showing the nature of the site and not the whims and desires of the winemakers. These are very free wines that are perfect in their own way even if their natures are to be polar opposites of one another.