2021 Estate Vineyard Old Vine Pinot Noir
Site History: The vineyard’s original planting dates back to 1984, making it the second oldest established vineyard in what is now the Ribbon Ridge AVA. Plantings of entire blocks have happened in 1986, 1987, 1990, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2010. The site includes 25.5 acres of Pinot Noir (20 acres of Pommard, 3 acres of Dijon 114, 3.1 acres of Wadensvil and 1.4 acres of Coury Clone), 2.5 acres of Sauvignon Blanc and 2 acres of Chardonnay (Dijon 76 and 96). Patricia Green Cellars purchased the property in July, 2000. About 20 acres were planted at that point, including Pinot Gris, which was mercifully grafted over to Pinot Noir in 2002. The vineyard houses the oldest Sauvignon Blanc vines in the Willamette Valley. It has also produced the only Pinot Noir to receive a score of 100 from a major, national wine publication.
Site Characteristics: The vineyard starts, lightly sloped in the middle/bottom of the hill at the winery and moves quickly up a steep slope and eventually all the way to the top of the hill where it falls of 360 degrees, planted in every direction. The blocks represent palpable differences in aspect, elevation, clone and vine age. This has allowed for numerous bottlings based upon unique wine characteristics making it the vineyard with the single most Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir bottlings having come from it in the state of Oregon. The vineyard has a thin layer of extremely dry and silty topsoil that sits upon mostly a hill of shale and sandstone. Toward the very bottom of the site some deeper, very soft blue-gray clay becomes the subsoil. It is highly drained, erosion-prone soil. The vineyard is farmed entirely organically and is dry farmed. Large, deep stands of trees on the east and west sides of the property frame the vineyard, provide shade at certain times of they day and act as a home for a variety of woodland creatures including mountain lion, bobcat, black bear, coyote and deer. Unlike vineyards even 2-3 miles to the east, the Estate Vineyard receives very little wind during the growing season. The planted portion of the property ranges from 235’ to around 485’.
The Blocks: The vineyard is divided into seventeen individual sections that are all picked, fermented and barreled separately. The primary blocks of the Estate Vineyard, Old Vine bottling are the Winery Block (1984 planting of Pommard and maybe some other stuff), the Hallelujah Block (a 1990 planting of Pinot Gris grafted to Pinot Noir) and the Lakeview Block (a 1998 planting of Pommard). In 2021 small amounts of the Cougar Block (1998 Pommard), Wadensvil Block (1997) and Coury Clone (2000) found their way into the bottling. These are spotted over the entirety of the vineyard making this an all-encompassing Estate bottling.
Farming Practices: We have done the management of this property internally since we purchased it in 2000 with the exception of 2014 and 2015 when Sterling Fox’s management service did the work. Also, at that time, the vineyard was switched entirely to organic farming practices and remains so to this day. The vineyard has always been dry farmed.
Picking Dates, Tonnages, Tons/Acre: Due to the size of the site and the breadth of differences between blocks the picking schedule is vast. In 2021 it ranged from the Fuego Block being picked on September 7th to the Grapes of Wrath Block being picked on September 25th. Tonnages vary widely as well but in 2021 averaged right at a very healthy and bountiful 3.0 tons/acre.
Vinification: Most fruit in this bottling comes from barrels that were sourced from fermenters that contained between 50-100% whole clusters. Some destemmed fruit is represented as well.
Winemaking: Fermentations were managed exclusively by pigeages to ensure gentle handling, extraction and delicate tannin construction. Cold soaks were generally 4-5 days across all the fermenters. Full fermentation from beginning to pressing ranged from 17-20 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 45-barrel bottling consists of only 3 new barrels (7%), a combination of once, twice and thrice-filled barrels (6%) and a large selection of neutral barrels (77%). Wine was in barrel until late July and bottled in late August allowing for around 10 months in barrel.
Notes: The Estate Vineyard, Old Vine bottling is the flagship wine of Patricia Green Cellars. It exists because it is both delicious and unique, but also because it shows a particular aspect of this vineyard and the Ribbon Ridge AVA as a whole. This bottling is made up nearly entirely from vines with 24-38 years in vine age, with a large amount being right at 32 years. We have discovered that at around 25 years of vine age we often see a change in the vines’ nature as they become bigger and healthier plants with deep root systems. Once this happens the fruit and resulting wines shift from the darker fruit spectrum to a brighter, redder style. The wine gains length and a wonderful counterbalance of austerity to its rich texture. As well there is a sense of minerality intermingling with the long chain tannins that draw the wine out and provide exceptional length. The wine finished with numbers of a TA of 5.6, a pH of 3.56, a free sulfur level below 25 ppm and a total sulfur below 65 ppm.