2017 Olenik Vineyard, Anklebreaker Block Pinot Noir
93 Points (Wine Enthusiast)
Gotta love the name, which the winery notes attribute to its “unusually rocky topsoil.” Spicy and sharp edged, it explodes with pungent cranberry and raspberry fruit. Then, with a little airing out, the flavors broaden across the midpalate, textural and bracing. The mineral-drenched finish lingers for a full minute or longer.
AVA: Chehalem Mountains
LOCATION: Kings Grade Rd.
SOIL TYPE: Willakenzie
YEAR PLANTED: 2007
CLONAL MATERIAL: 100% Pommard
VINEYARD SIZE: 32-acre vineyard, ~1.0-acre PGC Wadensvil block
VINIFICATION: 2 open-top 1.75 ton fermenters, each done with 35% whole cluster fermentation
PICKING DATE: September 26th
OWNER: John & Susan Olenik
PRODUCTION: 197 cases bottled
Winemaking and Notes:This is a lower lying section in Olenik Vineyard planted to Pommard clone in 2006 and the name references the rock-strewn nature of this section of the vineyard. This is definitely the warmest spot in the site with the radiant heat from the rocks and this was picked early on in the 2017 harvest at moderate level of brix belying this wine’s deep, dark color and powerful overall nature. This is only our third time bottling this section and the first time since the legendary 2012 bottling. We are very pleased to be able to show 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 no doubt part of a long ago land slide from further up the embankment and they give the block an eerie similarity to Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Somehow, the name seems to also convey the style of wine to expect and delivered. This is broad-shouldered Pinot Noir with deep and very dark fruit flavors. This is years away from any sort of peak but certainly provides satisfaction at the big-boy level in the short run. This is an electrifying and completely unique Pinot Noir. Even within a cellar that boasts an amazing level of diversity this Pinot Noir stands out as freakishly different. Drink at your own risk.
Site Characteristics: Just outside of the Ribbon Ridge Appellation to the east is a contoured hillside that has a bit of a banana belt characteristic to it that separates and distinguishes it from most of the rest of the large Chehalem Mountain AVA. 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. The west-facing and relatively exposed vineyard lies below Lia’s Vineyard and near sites such as Adams and J. Christopher Estate. The vineyard cascades down the hillside but has undulating folds to it that creates contour and gives unique characteristics to small sections within the 25-acre site. The initial block we received fruit from was 100% Wadensvil clone planted in 1991. We also receive a block toward the bottom of the vineyard known to us as The Anklebreaker Block, which is a 2007 planting of Pommard in a uniquely rocky section of the vineyard. We also receive Dijon 115 from the bottom of the west side of the vineyard. The entire vineyard is incredibly diverse in terms of aspect, elevation and soil type with the amount of ancient flood-deposited rock. The Wadensvil Clone is especially perfect for this type of soil.
Winemaking and Notes: Olenik Vineyard sits on the same type of thin marine soil as our Estate Vineyard. Wadensvil Clone is especially perfect for this type of soil. Wadensvil Pinot Noir tends to be more elegant, high-toned and red-fruited while the marine sedimentary soil adds an element of structure and turns the wine distinctly toward a very mineral-driven, mid-palate and finish. We will, as we have over the past several vintages, choose from completely de-stemmed fermentations and 60% whole cluster ferments. The whole clusters give an incredible backbone to this wine, while the de-stemmed fruit shows the vibrant, fruit-borne characteristics. This combination makes for a wonderfully complex wine: aromatic and floral while still allowing the back palate to be the guiding force.