We are pleased to introduce our 2018 vintage Pinot Noirs! Whese wines are deep, concentrated and full of life. They show impressive levels of acidity and tannin which will only serve to brighten the wines, elongate the finishes and make for incredibly compelling wines in the years to come. Over the years we have strived to make the best possible Pinot Noirs, when undeniably Oregon Pinot Noir is at a level only a few wines and wine regions can ever aspire to reach. We have over 600 barrels of Pinot Noir and some are at truly rare heights even at this stage of development. This is a terrific time to be an Oregon producer and consumer of the most exciting, captivating and delicious red and white varieties in the world. - Jim Anderson, Winemaker
AVA: Chehalem Mountains LOCATION: Bell Rd. north of Newberg
ELEVATION: 500-900’ SOIL TYPE: Willakenzie
YEAR PLANTED: 1976, 1980
CLONES: 50% Pommard, 50% Dijon 777
VINEYARD SIZE: 25-acre vineyard, ~1-acre PGC Pinot Noir blocks
VINIFICATION: 2 open-top .75. ton fermenters done 100% de-stemmed and pressed together.
PICKING DATE: September 29th TONS/ACRE: 2.76
OWNER: Hal MediciPRODUCTION: 12 Bottles
Wine Making and Notes:This is one of the more historically revered and heralded vineyards in Oregon. Originally planted in 1976 on a steep hillside above Bell Rd. this vineyard was daring for its pitch, elevation and for the fact that it was well outside of the Dundee Hills where the vast majority of quality vineyards were being planted at the time. Even though this is in what is now known as the Chehalem Mountain AVA it is at an elevation that makes it comparable to the Dundee Hill sites by the way of being planted in volcanic (Jory) soil. It is still, by any measure, a steep and grand vineyard that absolutely looks the part of what one would imagine a great vineyard might look like. Fortunately, it is more than looks.
We get small portions of the two blocks from the oldest section of the vineyard: the 1976 planting of Pommard and a 1980 planting of Chardonnay that was grafted to Dijon 777 sometime in the 90s. We received enough fruit in 2018 to ferment the two blocks separately for the first time since 2015 but we chose to press them together as we knew from four previous vintages of experience that we were going to blend them together in both their entireties regardless. The wine was aged in 25% new barrel for about 10 months. In our short history with this majestic vineyard we have reaped amazing fruit and made wines that received enormous critical acclaim 93, 95, 96 but this vintage may outdo those others. This vineyard was taken over by J. Christopher Winery in 2015 which is why we even get the fruit that we do. The quality of the farming took an immediate turn for the better as it has been biodynamically farmed since that time. Agriculture being what it is though it has taken years for the plants to completely respond to the massive upgrade in their life experience. We are really seeing it both in the vineyard where these old vines look refreshed and are producing normal sized crop loads of beautiful looking clusters and in the winery where this wine has an effortless stateliness to it that is singular in our cellar. This is a rare and special wine from one of the great vineyards in the state.
VINEYARD SIZE: PGC block 3.5 acres, .8 acres and .5 acres spread across three sections of the vineyard.
TONS/ACRE: 3.25 PICKING DATE: September 24
VINIFICATION: Multiple fermentation vessels and whole cluster inclusions ranging from 0 to 100%.
Winemaking and Notes: 8 of the 15 barrels come from 100% whole cluster fermentations and 7 come from completely destemmed fermenters. Most of the wine comes from the large block located in the ideal location on the bowl-shaped hillside, but 3 barrels came from the block above that seemed to add a dimension of elegance and texture without taking away from the lavishness, deep fruited and structured wine we all know. This combination allows the structure and earthen minerality to be infused with the incredibly lush and dense fruit this vineyard produces creating a wine of great depth, character, complexity and flavor. 15% new barrel was used with a combination of once to four times used barrels to round out the barrel program. This wine wants to be perfect. It is youthful and jumpy right now. As of writing this, there is so much material rolling around with fruit and tannin. Its characteristics are sort of all over the place. Not unusual for great wines to begin at stages like this. This has power, concentration, dry extract, subtle spice undertones and enormous length. This is not necessarily a powerhouse, but it has so much to it that it’s impossible to doubt that there is profundity in this wine’s future. Taste it now for all the incredible stuff going on, but get it because it will be great years down the road.
This is what we consider on a year-in, year-out basis our most unique and exotic wine. This is, as always, our only wine that is made in 100% new Cadus barrels. This wine is a textural experience beyond any of our other wines. Rather than attempting to show, in pain-staking detail, the individual qualities of the vineyards we work with the Notorious bottling is about a particular style of wine that is richer, more intense, denser in texture and more lifted aromatically than our other bottlings.
In 2018 the eight selected barrels come from Balcombe Vineyard (4 barrels of Pommard planted in 1990 and fermented with 0%, 33% and 60% whole cluster from Blocks 1A, 1B and 2B), Estate Vineyard (2 barrels, 1 each from a 1990 planting of Pommard done with 50% whole clusters and from a 2001 planting of Dijon 114 from the Etzel Block done with 50% whole cluster ) and the vineyard we moniker as Mysterious (2 barrels, 1 each from a 1990 planting of Pommard done with 0% whole clusters and 100% whole cluster). These are all incredibly well farmed vineyard with 3 organic sites representing totality of fruit.
VINIFICATION: 2 open-top fermenters, a 1.75 ton and a 2.5 ton, the former with 40% whole clusters the latter with 60% whole clusters.
PICKING DATE: September 22nd TONS/ACRE: 3.33
OWNER: John & Susan Olenik PRODUCTION: 12 Bottles
Winemaking and Notes:This is a lower lying section in Olenik Vineyard planted to Pommard clone in 2007 and the name references the rock-strewn nature of this section of the vineyard. This is definitely the warmest spot of the site with the radiant heat from the rocks. This section was picked early on in the 2018 harvest at a moderate level of brix belying this wine’s deep, dark color and powerful overall nature. We are very pleased to be able to showcase the characteristics of this utterly unique piece of ground in Oregon. The Anklebreaker moniker is a visual description of the ground this part of the vineyard is planted in. The basalt boulders, rocks and stones in the section of the vineyard are part of a long ago land slide from further up the embankment and they give the block a visual similarity to vineyards in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Somehow, the name seems to also convey the style of wine to expect and it delivers. This is a broad-shouldered Pinot Noir with deep and very dark fruit flavors. It is years away from any sort of peak, but certainly provides satisfaction at the big-boy level in the short run. Of all the wines in this very diverse cellar this is the most about the place that fruit comes from style of Pinot Noir. It was born to plants in a difficult and hard environment and the wine is not easy and maybe not for everybody but it is distinct, interesting and a great connection to the soils.
VINEYARD SIZE: 32-acre vineyard, ~2.7-acre PGC Wadensvil block
VINIFICATION: 3 open-top 1.75 ton fermenters, one with 0%, one with 40% and one 50% whole clusters.
PICKING DATE: September 26th TONS/ACRE: 3.25
OWNERS: John & Susan Olenik PRODUCTION: 12 Bottles
Winemaking and Notes: Olenik Vineyard sits nearly smack dab in the middle of this south facing hillside. The vineyard sits on the same type of thin marine soil as our Estate Vineyard. Wadensvil Clone is especially perfect for this type of soil. The natures of marine sedimentary soil and the Wadensvil clone are nearly a perfect intersection for Pinot Noir in Oregon. Wadensvil tends toward more elegant, high-toned and red-fruited wines while the sedimentary soil adds an element of structure and turns the wine distinctly toward a very mineral-driven mid-palate and finish. The barrels that make up this wine come equally from the fermentations that was done with 50% and no whole clusters with a couple of barrels of the 40% whole cluster fermenter rounding out the balance. Despite the differences in the make-up of the fermentations the bins were both pigeaged 1x/day and pressed separately on the same day. The fruit that was fermented with 50% whole clusters emphasizes minerals, spices and back-palate structure all of which provide tension in the herb-laced red fruit. The de-stemmed barrels are a rush of sweet, feminine red fruit and a texture like velvet. The 40% seemed to have a little of both. The whole clusters give an incredible backbone to this wine that lends an austerity to this wine that benefits it not only down the road but in the here and now, allowing it to be the wine from the Chehalem Mountains that is the most elegant, graceful and refined of the bottlings. The wine is incredibly aromatic and floral but still allows for the back palate to be the guiding force in this wine. This wine is soulful and richer than it at first seems however it is graceful, subtle and sublime and easily one of the most popular wines that we make.
Shimmering ruby-red. An intensely perfumed, expansive bouquet evokes ripe boysenberry, raspberry liqueur, licorice and exotic spices; a potpourri nuance emerges in the glass. Delivers a compelling blend of richness and energy on the palate, offering sappy red and blue fruit, bitter cherry, lavender pastille and spicecake flavors that are braced by a spine of juicy acidity. Unfolds slowly on the youthfully tannic finish, which hangs on with outstanding, floral-driven tenacity. One-third whole clusters.
VINEYARD SIZE: 31-acre vineyard, ~3-acre PGC block
VINIFICATION: 4 open-top 1.75 ton fermenters done with 50% whole clusters and 1 2.5 ton fermenter done with 100% whole clusters. 1 open-top 1.75 ton fermenter completely destemmed.
PICKING DATE: 10/05/2018 TONS/ACRE: 2.92
OWNER: Vivian Weber PRODUCTION: 12 Bottles
Winemaking and Notes: On top of that there simply aren’t many 35+ year old vineyards in Oregon. Weber Vineyard is perhaps the purest Dundee Hills Pinot Noir that we have. In our dozen years working with this vineyard it has routinely produced one of our top wines of the vintage (certainly in 2012 and 2016 one could make a strong argument for that being the case). In 2018 this wine definitely shows that potential. If you are a fan of what the Dundee Hills can do at exceptionally high levels with old vines this bottling is going to be in your wheelhouse. Since 2015 we have been including larger quantities of whole cluster fermentation into the bottling. Of the 18 barrels selected 13 come from stem inclusion fermentations with 5 being from 100% and 8 from 50%. This is a quintessential old vine, Worden Hill Rd. Pinot Noir that reaches back into the history of Oregon for its place in our line-up of Pinot Noirs from the vintage. This wine has a deep red color and a great concentration of sweet fruit that is balanced and buffeted by crisp acidity and firm, but ripe tannins. The wine was in 22% new barrel (and 33% once used barrels) for just under a year. The depth of the wine both from a concentration standpoint and an “old vines can handle barrels” standpoint this seems far less influenced by barrel than once would expect. This is complete, age-worthy, unique all while still being a distinctly Worden Hill Rd. Pinot Noir. Beautiful wine for old vine Dundee Hills vineyard fans.
VINEYARD SIZE: 7.25-acre vineyard, 1.7-acre block VINIFICATION: 2.5 and 1.75 ton open-top fermenters done with 60% whole cluster fermentations respectively.
PICKING DATE: 10/3/18 TONS/ACRE: 2.25
OWNERS: Joyce Cooke
Wine Making and Notes: The entirety of Balcombe Vineyard was planted in 1990 and the section we call Block 1B has consistently produced incredibly exciting, dense, supple and age-worthy wines for over two decades. The wine takes the natural red fruit component and turns it at least one shade darker so that it borders on black fruited while not quite getting there. The tannin profile is much denser than in the regular bottling of Balcombe. This wine has received critical accolades going back multiple vintages and its long history, exceptional ageability and enormous popularity with our mailing list made it the basis for beginning the wine club in 2015. Due to all this, the fact that this is a small block and produces only around 8-12 barrels/year and because this is an immensely delicious wine it is the single most popular wine we make. This, as always, is a dense and burly wine with surprising power to it for a Dundee Hill wine. This youthful power serves this bottling well. A recently tasted bottle of the 1998 vintage showed incredibly well! Due to its long history and limited production, this wine is offered on futures only to Club Members.
VINIFICATION: Two 1.5-ton open-top fermenters done with 45% whole cluster, two fermenters done with 100% whole cluster and one 100% whole cluster fermentation in a 2.5 ton round.
PICKING DATE: 09/27/18 TONS/ACRE: 3.12
OWNERS: The Durant Family PRODUCTION: 2 Bottles
Winemaking and Notes:There was a range of whole cluster fermentations ranging from 45% to 100% stem-inclusion that were created from the fruit we received from this block in 2018. They allwent through a normal cold soak of 4 to 5 days and then were fermented in 1.75-ton open-top fermenters (as well as one 2.5 ton round that was done 100% whole cluster and is the bedrock of this bottling) and pigeaged 1x/day until dry and then was pressed and allowed to settle for 3 days before being pressed separately to allow for specific blending later in the year. The wine spent about 11 months in barrel in 27% new oak. 13 barrels of the 100% whole cluster fermentation barrels were selected with 7 coming from the 2.5 ton fermentation and 5 from 45% whole cluster fermentations. This combination allows for the forward, supple nature of Dundee Hills fruit to be showcased while held in check by the old vine, mineral-driven elements of the 100% whole cluster barrels. There is sweet red fruit that is overlaid by a distinctly savory aspect creating a dichotomy upon which complexity exists. This is a wine that has old bones and sensibilities to it while still having the stuffing that Dundee Hill wines are known for all while being an insanely rare example due to the vine age that helps define this wine’s boundaries.
These now monster vines were planted back in 1973 making them some of the oldest vines in Oregon, thus giving this bottling an historical aspect to it. 46-year-old vines in Oregon are exceptionally rare both because there was so little planted acreage back then and some of that acreage has been re-planted due to Phylloxera. The fact that this site and wine exist at all is somewhat of a minor miracle. In part due to this, this wine knows exactly what it wants to be. It shows finesse, subtleness, elegance and discreet balance all backed up by a sneaky and looming firmness. Only older vines make wines like this. This is not a wine that needs to make a dramatic entrance, because all the work is done on the back end.
VINIFICATION: Several 1.75 ton open-top fermenters done 100% destemmed.
PICKING DATE: 09/28/2018 TONS/ACRE: 3.06
OWNERS: The Durant Family
PRODUCTION: 2 Bottles
Winemaking and Notes:The Madrone Block, planted to Dijon 115 Clone creates a much different Pinot Noir than the Pommard Clone from the Bishop Block, and it is special enough to be bottled on its own. One of the reasons that the Dundee Hills was the place that initially defined all of Oregon Pinot Noir and why this AVA remains so sought after in terms of plantable vineyard land is that, quite simply, the wines from here are delicious. In their relative youth vines here produce ripe fruit that wants to be pleasing and friendly. The Madrone Block is just about to get to its 20th leaf, so it still exists in a spot where it produces fruit that makes wine people want to enjoy. It is plush wish richness and ripe characteristics, but it also has balanced acidity and enough tannin to keep everything where it needs to be. This is definitely deep in fruit and oozing with textural appeal creating a long, graceful and entirely charming wine. This borders right on sultry as all bottlings of this block have since we began producing it in 2012. Almost certainly, this is the single vineyard designate with the most upfront appeal to it. This will show sweet red fruits which are certainly a staple of the vintage with classic Dundee Hill sweet spices. Hard not to like.
Wine Making and Notes:This bottling has always been a powerful view of this vineyard site and we still have blocks in the vineyard in the 10-21 year-old range that have not made (will not make?) the change to the far more chic and mineral-driven Estate Old Vine style. That is fine. Our Estate Vineyard is fairly large and incredibly diverse, so having two very different wines coming off of it is great. To us, this is the exciting part of Pinot Noir and vineyard management, and the marriage of the two in winemaking.
The wine is dark in color, dense in earth-tinged dark fruits with relatively thick tannins. However, as the vineyard has aged, fewer blocks are still producing this style of wine that seems to be indicative of the young vines. This comes from just three blocks: a 1998 southeast-facing planting of Pommard, a 2000 south-southeast facing planting of Pommard at lower elevation and, for the first time ever, a 2000 planting of Pommard that faces east at the top and back of the vineyard. This section has finally developed into something beautiful and representative of this site and particular bottling and we are very excited about its inclusion in this wine! The lower block of Pommard by the winery was done with 50% stem inclusion while all the fruit from the other two blocks were done as 100% de-stemmed. Everything went through a standard cold soak of about 4-7 days depending on the block, fermented in 1.75-ton open-top fermenters and was pigeaged 1x/day before being pressed and allowed to settle for 3 days. This spent a little less than a year in barrel with only 3% being new barrels while 86% were neutral so there is minimal oak influence in this wine allowing the pure nature of this dark Ribbon Ridge bottling to really come out. We dry farm our vineyard and these younger vines, even at 19-21 years of vine age, are still under a bit of duress. This leads to small, tight clusters and fairly thick skins. This gives the wine its trademark dark, almost purplish color with a hefty and dense structure. This can be a bit savage in nature when youthful but it comes around surprisingly fast and, of course, is good for many years.
CLONAL MATERIAL: Pommard, Dijon 114 YEAR PLANTED: 1986, 2001
VINEYARD SIZE: 30-acre vineyard, 2.55-acre block
VINIFICATION: All 50% whole cluster fermentations in 1.75 ton open top fermenters.
PICKING DATE: 09/25 and 09/27/18 TONS/ACRE: 3.05
OWNERS: Patricia Green Cellars PRODUCTION: 5 Bottles
*Wine Club Only
Winemaking and Notes:The Etzel block section of our vineyard planted in 1986 slopes to the northwest directly toward our neighbor Beaux Freres. The name is an homage to the owner and winemaker there: Mike Etzel. This wine has always pulled some of the most interesting characteristics out of the site and that is its reason for existing on its own. For some reason this has always been the most nuanced and most mineral-driven of all our wines. There are 2 sections within the East Etzel Block as we interplanted rows in this block the year after we arrived. The rows were still 12 feet apart and we wanted to have tighter spacing so Dijon 114 was interplanted to make more efficient use of the land. The older Pommard (planted in 1986) was fermented in a single 1.75-ton open-top fermenter with 50% whole clusters, and went through a standard cold soak of about 5 days before being pigeaged 1x/day, pressed, and allowed to settle for 3 days. The Dijon 114 was fermented in three separate 1.75-ton open-top fermenters, all of which had 50% whole cluster inclusion, before going through a standard cold soak of about 5 days, and being pumped over until fermentation started. It was only pigeaged 1x/day before being pressed and allowed to settle for 3 days. The wine spent a little less than a year in 33% new barrels along with a combination of a one time- and a four times-used barrel. This wine is aromatically complex and nuanced. Minerality and seductive dark fruits combined with great complexity on the palate creates a wine that shows elegance, intricacy and intensity. This is a perfect example of how soil-influenced older vine Pinots from the Ribbon Ridge can be. The addition of whole cluster fermentation furthers the aromatic qualities and drives the graphite notes on the palate and tightens the tannins up on the back end.
Winemaking and Notes:Winemaking and Notes: As the Estate vines tap their roots deep into the soft sub-soil they eventually make contact with the mineralized water on the property. This brings a whole new element to the flavor and texture profile of the wine. This bottling comes from barrels sourced from both the West and East Etzel Blocks done both destemmed and with 50% whole cluster fermentations, a 1990 planting of Pinot Gris that was grafted to Pommard in 2002 that was done with three fermenters of destemmed fruit which were all pressed together, a 1997 planting of Pommard on a steep southwest facing slope that was all fermented with 50% whole clusters and 9 barrels of Wadensvil (for the first time ever in this bottling!) with fermentations ranging from destemmed to 66% whole cluster. Given the diversity within the vineyard (we have a 360-degree aspect on our hillside vineyard) and the range of vine age (22-33 years) we were able to pick at different times and then blend this together with a greater degree of diversity than we have ever had available. The wine was bottled with just over 20% new barrel. The assemblage for this particular wine is always fascinating, because you can see the wine come together as the elements from each block are added in. This wine is one of the few truly older vine bottlings that exists from Ribbon Ridge. Older vineyards here, have the capacity to translate the mineral laden nature of our water and soil into the refined, focused nature of the fruit. This AVA is a special place and makes some of the most interesting, dramatic and amazing as some of our bottlings, and this is one of them!