*91 Points ~ Wine Enthiusiast
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 Anklebreaker (Pommard) block
VINIFICATION: 2 open-top fermenters, a 1.75 ton and a 2.5 ton, the former with 40% whole clusters the latter with 60% whole clusters.
PICKING DATE: September 22nd
OWNER: John & Susan Olenik
PRODUCTION: 156 cases bottled
Winemaking and Notes:This is a lower lying section in Olenik Vineyard planted to Pommard clone in 2007 and the name references the rock-strewn nature of this section of the vineyard. This is definitely the warmest spot of the site with the radiant heat from the rocks. This section was picked early on in the 2018 harvest at a moderate level of brix belying this wine’s deep, dark color and powerful overall nature. We are very pleased to be able to showcase 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 part of a long ago land slide from further up the embankment and they give the block a visual similarity to vineyards in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Somehow, the name seems to also convey the style of wine to expect and it delivers. This is a broad-shouldered Pinot Noir with deep and very dark fruit flavors. It is years away from any sort of peak, but certainly provides satisfaction at the big-boy level in the short run. Of all the wines in this very diverse cellar this is the most about the place that fruit comes from style of Pinot Noir. It was born to plants in a difficult and hard environment and the wine is not easy and maybe not for everybody but it is distinct, interesting and a great connection to the soils.
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.
The Anklebreaker Block: This is a 2007 planting of Pommard in the single rockiest section of the vineyard. This looks not un-like many of the vineyards in Chateauneuf du Pape. The wines from this block are prodigious, dark fruited, animalistic and tannic. They are not friendly and easy. They are a pure marriage of plant and soil. Usually we shy away from sections of vineyard that are less than 15 or so years in vine age. We have so much older vine material in the winery it is hard for the younger stuff to fit in let alone compete or stand out and the inconsistent nature of younger vines and the wines they produce is usually something we are not interested in paying for. This block was so completely unique that we snatched it up when it was only in its 5th leaf. We had a feeling this could produce Pinot Noir not only unlike anything in our cellar but something distinct from basically any Pinot Noir produced in this state. In certain years (2011, 2012 and 2017) it has delivered that specialness we were seeking. This is as rare a bottling as we have and it defines the outer limits of our nature at the winery.