2019 Lia's Vineyard Pinot Noir
94 Points - Vinous
Winemaking and Notes:Lia’s Vineyard, to us, is about the unusual (in Oregon) combination of soil types due to the change in elevation that the vineyard has over a relatively small amount of overall acreage. That is what makes this vineyard fascinating and, in our cellar, totally unique. The Pommard at higher elevation in volcanic soil produces intense, sultry and concentrated Pinot Noir and the Dijon 115 leans to a much more structured and savory style since it comes from the marine soil at the bottom of the vineyard (this is still in the middle of the overall hillside). The Mariafeld is at an even lower spot on the hill than the Dijon 115 and it adds its own little thing to the whole situation.
This bottling marks the 9th vintage we have received fruit from this vineyard although we have only bottled this individually for the past 7 vintages. Over the years this wine has moved the way the vineyard has which is to say in an entirely positive direction. In 2009 we were interested in the vineyard as we had just begun getting fruit from Olenik Vineyard below it but the farming was far off what it needed to be in that vintage for us to begin a relationship. In 2010 and 2011 we received fruit but not exactly what we wanted. Even in 2012 when, as noted, we started in the sections we thought had the greatest potential the overall quality of the wine was good to very good with the latter being the rarer barrels. In 2017 we started to see movement to more sustainable and organic practices with a corresponding uptick in the quality of the fruit we are receiving. In 2018 that surge has become so prominent that the very good barrel is rare and the excellent barrels are what we now use for this bottling. This still follows along historic lines with 12 barrels coming from the Dijon 115 sections, 7 from the Pommard and 1 from the Mariafeld which acts almost like a binding agent for the other two clones. There is an aromatic element to it that is far more floral than it has been in the past vintages and the wine is a bit more inviting while now showing more intense and sophisticated tannin structure than in the past. It’s full of space for one to explore rather than being a wine that simply rushes at you with a full-throttled intensity. This wine is quite integrated at a very young age which is surprising given the dispirit clones, vine ages, elevations and soil types. As we have explored more vineyards just outside the eastern edge of the Ribbon Ridge AVA we have found these incredibly dynamic, floral and simply lovely Pinots.
Site Characteristics:Lia’s Vineyard is up the hill from the Olenik Vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains Appellation. In that part of the Chehalem Mountains vineyards lower on the hillside consist of marine sedimentary soils and vineyards higher on the hillside consist of volcanic soils. Lia’s Vineyard straddles that transition with sections of the vineyard toward the bottom being in marine soil and sections toward the top being planted in volcanic soil. The vineyard largely faces west with portions of it rolling off to the south and southwest with the western face being highly exposed and the southern face having some tree cover. Just as we have since 2012 when we finally got the blocks of our choice, we received Pommard planted in 1993 and Dijon 115 planted in 1999, the former in volcanic soil, the latter in the marine. There are two small (less than half an acre each) sections in the middle and bottom of Lia’s Vineyard planted to the Mariafeld Clone of Pinot Noir (also known as Clone 23). This is a very rare clone in Oregon and was something that we coveted from Day 1 back in 2009.
AVA: Chehalem Mountains LOCATION: Kings Grade Rd.
SOIL TYPE: Marine Sedimentary & Volcanic
YEAR PLANTED: 1990s CLONAL MATERIAL: Pommard, Dijon 115 & Mariafeld (Clone 23)
VINEYARD SIZE: 26-acre vineyard, ~2.8-acre PGC blocks
VINIFICATION: Multiple fermentations with all done in 1.5 or 1.75 ton bins with whole cluster on the Dijon 115 ranging from 10-50% while 100% destemming on the Pommard and Mariafeld.
PICKING DATE: 10/02 and 10/04/18 TONS/ACRE: 2.99
OWNERS: Todd Hansen PRODUCTION: 168 cases bottled