2018 Medici Vineyard Pinot Noir
AVA: Chehalem Mountains
LOCATION: Bell Rd. north of Newberg
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
OWNER: Hal Medici
PRODUCTION: 188 cases bottled
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.
Wine history: Chehalem Mountains' winegrowing history dates back to 1968 when UC Davis refugee Dick Erath purchased 49 acres on Dopp Road in Yamhill County. He aptly called the property Chehalem Mountain Vineyards. By the mid to late 1970s, there was a patchwork of vineyards in the area, including those owned by such modern wine pioneers as the Adelsheims and the Ponzis. Over the next three decades other reputable winegrowers planted roots in the area. The appellation was approved in the late fall of 2006.
Climate: Chehalem Mountains' elevation goes from 200 to 1,633 feet, resulting in varied annual precipitation (37 inches at the lowest point and 60 inches at the highest) as well as the greatest variation in temperature within the Willamette Valley. These variations can result in three-week differences in the ripening of Pinot noir grapes.
Soils: Chehalem Mountains have a combination of Columbia River basalt, ocean sedimentation, and wind-blown loess derivation soil types.
Topography: Chehalem Mountains is a single landmass made up of several hilltops, ridges and spurs that is uplifted from the Willamette Valley floor. The appellation includes all land in the area above the 200-foot elevation. They are the highest mountains in the Willamette Valley with their tallest point, Bald Peak, at 1,633 feet above sea level.
Site Characteristics:At a time when the Dundee Hills almost exclusively were the home to the burgeoning Oregon wine industries’ initial craftspeople Hal Medici planted his first vines in 1976 to the northeast of the Dundee Hill on Bell Rd. due north of downtown Newberg in an area that is now part of the Chehalem Mountains AVA. Over the course of the next 25 years the vineyard was expanded to its current size. While it has Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling planted in it Patricia Green Cellars sources only Pinot Noir from four distinct sections.
Medici Vineyard is a good analogy for what one might find in the large, diverse and far-ranging Chehalem Mountains AVA. Our other two vineyards in this AVA are largely planted in Marine Sedimentary soil. However, Medici begins at over 500’ in elevation and rises to close to 900’ elevation putting it squarely into the sections of hillsides where one would find Volcanic soil. And Medici is, in fact, planted in Jory soil which gives it a flavor profile more in common with our Dundee Hills’ wines than wines from the same appellation just down the way on the same road.