2021 Anderson Family Vineyard, Pinot Noir
Site History: For Cliff and Allison Anderson, their perfect location to grow wine grapes was not what popular opinion would dictate. Some suggested the site they chose was too steep, too dry and too rocky. Cliff thought differently about it – he knew he was smack-dab at the crossroads of some the most venerated Dundee Hills vineyards. Situated on the most northeast hill in Dundee, in the Dundee Hills AVA, Cliff and Allison can enjoy both the panoramic view and excellent grapes growing on their site. More rock than soil, the hilltop is an old landslide of broken lava flows. It is hard to farm. The boulders and lack of rich soil did not deter Cliff Anderson. He knew he had a piece of land similar to some European vineyards that are planted on rocky, fast-draining soils that stress the plants to send their roots deep. So, despite the advice of others, the Andersons went for it and started planting their 16.5 acres in 1992. 12.5 acres are pinot noir using clones 115, 777, 667, Pommard, and Wadenswil. 3.25 acres are planted to Dijon clone chardonnay and .75 acres are planted with pinot gris.
Site Characteristics: For years folks wanted to know when there was going to be an Anderson bottling of some sort at Patricia Green Cellars. Well, here it is! Actually, it is completely coincidental if a happy one all around. Anderson Family Vineyard is a wholly unique vineyard site in the Dundee Hills AVA. It is the most northeastern-ly located vineyard in the AVA and while it does have Jory soil the distinguishing aspect of the site is that it is a tiny butte created by an ancient rock landslide. It is essentially a hill of softball sized rocks. The vineyard wraps 270 degrees around the hill side leaving only the northwest aspect uncovered in vines. The vineyard was originally planted back in 1992 with multiple clones of Pinot Noir and some Chardonnay. It is farmed organically with a no-till philosophy firmly in place. There is no familial relationship between these Andersons and the Patricia Green Cellars’ Anderson! It was just a great situation where they were looking to sell some fruit and the winery was in the market for some unique, well-farmed, old-vine Pinot Noir.
PGC Blocks: This vineyard is uniquely situated and with a 270-degree facing, all across moderately to quite steep slopes, there are a wealth of blocks with distinct attributes to them that make the site interesting beyond its locale. Our main block is a south facing section of Dijon 115 at the bottom of the vineyard. The block is very wide with relatively short rows. Due to the width of the block and the location of a stand of trees we actually pick the 2.75 acre block on separate days to allow for more ripening in the plants that see more afternoon shade. On the eastern slope we receive small amounts of Pommard and Wadensvil. These are planted in long rows in the middle of the slope. Lastly we receive Dijon 667 from the north block of the vineyard. This falls at the very bottom of the vineyard and is the least steep of the four blocks. Farming Practices: The vineyard is dry farmed, organically farmed and farmed with a no-till philosophy. The latter owing largely to the rubble pile that this vineyard sits upon making tilling either a near impossibility or an expensive, equipment-destroying reality.
Picking Dates, Tonnages, Tons/Acre: On September 8th we went to take samples from our blocks anticipating being close to harvest. The winemaker for AFV had taken samples from across the vineyard earlier in the morning and crushed up the fruit, taken numbers and had some tasting notes to share. We went and took our samples and came back and tasted through their samples with him. Their notes on the Dijon 667 were, “Waiting for more flavor to develop.” Our notes were, “How much more flavor could their possibly be!?!” We sent over picking bins later that day and picked the Dijon 667 and half of the Dijon 115 the next day, September 9th. The Pommard, Wadensvil and the balance of the Dijon 115 were picked on September 13th.
Vinification: All fruit from the vineyard was done entirely destemmed in 2021. Winemaking: Fermentations were managed exclusively by pigeages to ensure gentle handling, extraction and delicate tannin construction. Cold soaks were generally 4 days across all five fermenters. Full fermentation from beginning to pressing was 17 days. A 48-hour settling of pressed wine occurred prior to being racked to barrel. All wines were on full lees until assemblage for bottling. Bottled without fining or filtration. Barrels: This wine consists of 4 new barrel (20%), a single thrice-filled barrel (5%) and a large selection of neutral barrels (85%). Wine was in barrel until late June and bottled in late July allowing for around 9 months in barrel.
Notes: This 20-barrel bottling is made up of 12 barrels of Dijon 115 (60%), 4 barrels of Dijon 667 (20%) and 4 barrels of the Pommard/Wadensvil cuvée that are co-fermented. Anderson Family was added to our relatively sizeable selection of Dundee Hill vineyards, because of its unique attributes that both place it in the Dundee Hill family and make it stand out from nearly all other Dundee Hill sites. Due to the rubbly/rocky makeup of the entire hillside/butte these plants have a much different growing environment than do other vineyards within the AVA. While the soil is Jory, the nature of the vineyard is somewhat atypical of Jory soil wines. While there is still a wealth of red fruit and a lush character to the mouthfeel, the wine is better defined by its underlying mineral nature and far more assertive and lean structure. While we do not have older vintages of this bottling our suspicion is that over time the underpinning elements will really come to the forefront and make for a wine with great capacity to carry fruit but with an interesting austerity to that fruit that provides a level of complexity that will be, at the very least, different than our other Dundee Hill bottlings. The wine finished with numbers of a TA of 5.5, a pH of 3.52, a free sulfur level below 25 ppm and a total sulfur below 70 ppm.