2018 Olenik Vineyard, Wadensvil Block Pinot Noir
*94 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, ~2.7-acre PGC Wadensvil block
VINIFICATION: 3 open-top 1.75 ton fermenters, one with 0%, one with 40% and one 50% whole clusters.
PICKING DATE: September 26th
OWNERS: John & Susan Olenik
PRODUCTION: 310 cases bottled
Winemaking and Notes: 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. Wadensvil Clone is especially perfect for this type of soil. The natures of marine sedimentary soil and the Wadensvil clone are nearly a perfect intersection for Pinot Noir in Oregon. Wadensvil tends toward more elegant, high-toned and red-fruited wines while the sedimentary soil adds an element of structure and turns the wine distinctly toward a very mineral-driven mid-palate and finish. The barrels that make up this wine come equally from the fermentations that was done with 50% and no whole clusters with a couple of barrels of the 40% whole cluster fermenter rounding out the balance. Despite the differences in the make-up of the fermentations the bins were both pigeaged 1x/day and pressed separately on the same day. The fruit that was fermented with 50% whole clusters emphasizes minerals, spices and back-palate structure all of which provide tension in the herb-laced red fruit. The de-stemmed barrels are a rush of sweet, feminine red fruit and a texture like velvet. The 40% seemed to have a little of both. The whole clusters give an incredible backbone to this wine that lends an austerity to this wine that benefits it not only down the road but in the here and now, allowing it to be the wine from the Chehalem Mountains that is the most elegant, graceful and refined of the bottlings. The wine is incredibly aromatic and floral but still allows for the back palate to be the guiding force in this wine. This wine is soulful and richer than it at first seems however it is graceful, subtle and sublime and easily one of the most popular wines that we make.
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. The entire vineyard is incredibly diverse in terms of aspect, elevation and soil type with the amount of ancient flood and landslide deposited rock. This vineyard while just outside of Ribbon Ridge to the east sits in a little bit of a banana-belt that gets decidedly warmer and more consistently still than our Estate site just a few miles to the west. This site has a stillness and quietness to it that are quite enjoyable and palpable and it seems to resonate in the wines as they tend toward full, solid, dense wines that are more thought provoking than provocative.