2017 Freedom Hill Vineyard, Pommard Clone Pinot Noir
92 Points (Wine Enthusiast)
These vines, planted in 2001, bring brambly berry fruit front and center, punched up nicely with the vineyard's characteristic savory herbs. It's a complex young wine, still stiff and a bit unyielding, but with the balance and components to blossom after a couple of more years in the bottle.
AVA: Willamette Valley
LOCATION: Burnell Rd.
SOIL TYPE: Bellpine
YEAR PLANTED: 2001
CLONAL MATERIAL: 100% Pommard
OWNERS: Dan & Helen Dusschee
This trio of wines, where we attempt to show you the nature of Freedom Hill Vineyard through the lens of a single clone, have been exceptionally popular and very well received. The 2015 Dijon 115 was referred to as “sharing the traits of Romanee St. Vivant” while the Pommard “could pass for a New World Richebourg” by Josh Reynolds of Vinous.com. Despite that high praise it was the 2015 Coury Clone that netted the highest score of the three wines with 95 points.
This is where our bread is buttered. We work with Pommard clone more than any other clone. There is something to Pommard that makes it not only stand out, but has the capacity to stand on its own as a complete wine. Of the three clonal designated wines we bottle from the site, this one seems to capture what may be the historical view of Freedom Hill Vineyard. This section of the vineyard was re-planted in 2001 and this is the only block of Freedom Hill Vineyard where we do not use any whole clusters in the fermentation. This wine shows savory tones mixed with wild, brambly fruits on the nose and drinks at a high-pitched level with bright, crunchy red fruits, earth-born characteristics and a distinct spicy note on the finish.
Wine history: The agricultural history of this area near Salem dates back to the mid-1850s, though it wasn't until the 1970s that winemakers started to discover the area as having ideal growing conditions for high-quality wine grapes. It was around this time that a few modern pioneers, including Don Byard of Hidden Springs, planted a patchwork of vineyards in the Eola-Amity Hills. Soon after, other pioneers followed suite and today this area produces world-class, handcrafted cool-climate varietals. The appellation became official in 2006.
Climate: The Eola-Amity Hills region enjoys a temperate climate of warm summers and mild winters, and 40 inches of annual rain, most of which falls outside of the growing season. Average maximum temperatures are 62 degrees Fahrenheit in April and 83 degrees Fahrenheit in July, which contributes to the ideal conditions for the cool-climate grape varieties that dominate the Eola-Amity Hills. The climate in this region is greatly influenced by its position due east of the Van Duzer Corridor, which provides a break in the coast range that allows cool Pacific Ocean air to flow through. This drops temperatures in the region dramatically, especially during late summer afternoons, helping to keep grape acids firm.
Soil: The soils in the Eola-Amity Hills predominantly contain volcanic basalt from ancient lava flows as well as marine sedimentary rocks and alluvial deposits at the lower elevations of the ridge. This combination results in a relatively shallow, rocky set of well-drained soils, which typically produce small grapes with great concentration.
Topography: The Eola Hills, and its northern extension, the Amity Hills, are part of a North Willamette Valley hill chain that developed out of intense volcanic activity and the collision of the Pacific and North American plates. The main ridge of the Eola Hills runs north-south and has numerous lateral ridges on both sides that run east-west. The majority of the region's vineyard sites exist at elevations between 250 to 700 feet.
Site Characteristics: Freedom Hill Vineyard lies toward the eastern edge of the Coast Range Foothills. While associated geographically with the Eola Hills the site lies south and west of the border of the Eola-Amity Hill Appellation outside the town of Monmouth. The vineyard is planted on a marine sedimentary type of soil known as Bellpine. The vineyard is also located just south of the Van Duzer wind corridor which allows for more consistent average temperatures due to a lack of afternoon and evening offshore breezes rolling through. The vineyard was established in 1982 by the people who still own and manage it to this day, Dan and Helen Dusschee. While they may not have realized it at the time they were ultimately settling onto a site destined to be seen as one of the top Pinot Noir vineyards in the state of Oregon. Their rigorous and professional approach to the management of the vineyard has brought about that greatness and even though the vineyard suffered through a scourge of phyloxera replantings and expansion of the site have shown that there is a clear and indomitable of terroir here. We had the great fortune of being in the right place at the right time with the right need for fruit in 2012 and we have had the great fortune to produce what we consider to be some of the greatest and most focused Pinot Noirs we have ever made.