2018 Estate Vineyard, Bonshaw Block Pinot Noir 3 Litre
95 Points ~ Wine Enthusiast
AVA: Ribbon Ridge
LOCATION: North Valley Rd.
SOIL TYPE: Wellsdale
CLONAL MATERIAL: Pommard
VINEYARD SIZE: 30-acre vineyard, 1.0-acre block
VINIFICATION: 40% whole cluster fermentations in a 2.5 ton open top fermenter.
OWNERS: Patricia Green Cellars
PRODUCTION: 129 cases bottled
Winemaking and Notes:The Bonshaw Block is on the southwest-facing slope of the estate hillside, and its significance to the winery is now multifold. This was the block that produced the highest quality fruit off of the entire Estate Vineyard in our first year of production in 2000. Based on that alone this little 1.25ish acre block would be something that we hold as a significant place in our lives. However, as time has gone on and that block has entered full vine maturity the quality of the fruit and resulting wines have only continued to improve. Little did we realize that this improvement was on such a track that we would produce a wine from the 2016 vintage that would become the first Pinot Noir from Oregon to ever garner a perfect 100 score from a major, national wine publication. This isn’t why we do what we do, but a little positive affirmation that happens to be exclusive to our winery is nice.
This bottling has always stood out to us because it showcases the best aspects of all the best blocks, young vine and old vine alike, and show them off together. In this way this block is the nexus of our vineyard. Dark red fruit, earth, mineral, spice, suppleness, structure are all represented in this wine, especially as it changes and evolves both in the bottle over time and in the glass when poured out. The 2018 is a classic. It is, at least, the equal of the 2016 bottling. It combines the intensity and structure of the vintage with savage fruit and great structure. A completely unique and amazing wine. In short, this is one stunning and hedonistic bottle of Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir.
Site Characteristics: There are no vineyards we work with that are as difficult to summarize in a neat package than our Estate Vineyard. There are 18 sections of Pinot Noir based on vine age and clone (as well a section of Sauvignon Blanc), elevation ranging from 250’ to 475’. Pinot Noir plantings were done in ten different vintages ranging from as early as 1984 to as recent as 2010. The vineyard is mostly Pommard, but there is also 3 acres of Wadensvil, 3 acres of Dijon 114 and an acre of Dijon 777. Spacing varies from 5 x 6 to 5 x 8. Some blocks are inter-planted with every other row being of one age and every other a drastically different age. Two blocks are inter-planted with two rows of the same age followed by one row of a different age. To add an even greater level of confusion, the vast majority of the site (the 25 acres at the higher elevation) is planted directly on top of the hill with a 360-degree aspect to the vineyard. Then there is the geology of the site, which is made up of an extremely sandy Marine Sedimentary soil that sits atop a large bed of sandstone sub-soil with a water table that is very deep and highly mineralized. This is a unique site to say the least.
Relatively early on we began to conclude that there were different natures not only to the separate blocks in the estate vineyard, but a distinct stylistic difference between the two sets of plantings (vines planted between 1984-1997 and the vines planted between 1998-2001 along with the new 2010 planting). Since we dry farm our estate vines to encourage the downward growth of roots, the older plants and the younger plants are at different root depth levels in the sub-soil, and consequently have access to different levels and types of water, nutrients and minerals. The root system is what feeds the plants and ultimately the fruit on the vine. In this soft Marine soil root depth translates to different flavors and texture profiles in the grapes. The Estate bottling consists of 13 separate sections of the vineyard that were planted in the 1997-2001 (and 2010) window. The Estate Old Vine bottling can come from the remaining 5 blocks although sometimes 1 or 2 of those blocks are bottled separately (which is the case here with the Bonshaw Block).