2018 Freedom Hill Vineyard, Pommard Clone Pinot Noir
*94 Points ~ Wine Enthiusiast *Editors' Choice
AVA: Willamette Valley
LOCATION: Burnell Rd.
SOIL TYPE: Bellpine
YEAR PLANTED: 2001
CLONAL MATERIAL: 100% Pommard
VINEYARD SIZE: Vineyard is 85 acres/PGC Blocks total 14 acres
VINIFICATION: 2 x 1.75 ton fermenters with 100% destemmed fruote and 43% whole cluster fermentions.
PICKING DATE: 9/30/18
OWNERS: Dan & Helen Dusschee
Winemaking and Notes: This is where our bread is buttered. There is no denying that we work with Pommard clone far more than any other clone and that 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 more often than any other clone we work with. Within the non-Freedom Hill Vineyard futures offerings all of them are either Pommard or contain Pommard with the exception of the two specifically chosen Wadensvil clone bottlings. Of the three clone-designated wines we bottle from the site this one seems capture what may be the historical view of Freedom Hill Vineyard. This section of the vineyard was re-planted in 2001. This is a dark, dark wine with a rich, plush mid-palate (even at this early stage) that is layered with muscle. Over the past couple of vintages we have experimented with whole cluster usage on this block and the results are extremely appealing. There is still an Old World nature at the heart of this wine even though it pulsates with its Oregon heritage and sensibilities. This shows savory tones mixed with wild, brambly fruits on the nose. Drinks at a high-pitched level with bright, crunchy red fruits, earth-born characteristics and a distinct spicy note on the finish.
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. Freedom Hill Vineyard was planted by Dan and Helen Dusschee in 1982. For the past 30+ years they have lived on and farmed this historical and great Oregon vineyard. Their son Dustin works with them now on the 100+ acre site. Only a handful of vineyards in Oregon could claim to have produced as many excellent wines from a wide diversity of winemakers dating back into the 1980s. Freedom Hill Vineyard would be on the very short list of great, recognized and historical vineyards in Oregon. The fact that the Dusschee family keeps working to grow better grapes on a yearly basis is a tribute to their dedication to the Oregon wine industry and the wineries they have carefully selected to work with over the years.