2021 Freedom Hill Vineyard, Wadensvil Clone Pinot Noir
Site History: The vineyard was established in 1982 by the people who still own and manage it to this day: Dan and Helen Dusschee. While they may not have realized it at the time, they were settling onto a site destined to be one of the top Pinot Noir vineyards in the state of Oregon. Their rigorous and professional approach to the management of the vineyard has brought about that greatness, and even though the vineyard suffered through a scourge of phylloxera replanting’s, expansion of the site has shown that there is a distinct and indomitable terroir.
Site Characteristics: Freedom Hill Vineyard lies toward the eastern edge of the Coast Range Foothills. While associated geographically with the Eola Hills, the site lies south and west of the border of the Eola-Amity Hill Appellation outside of the town of Monmouth. The vineyard is planted on a marine sedimentary type of soil known as Bellpine. The vineyard is also located just south of the Van Duzer wind corridor which allows for more consistent average temperatures due to a lack of afternoon and evening offshore breezes rolling through.
The Block: Since 2012 when we initially began sourcing fruit from Freedom Hill Vineyard, we have chosen a sub-set of the different blocks to bottle based upon the clone within the block. Not all blocks in this (or any vineyard for that matter) are equal. For instance, we get Dijon 115 from three separate parts of the vineyard, but the Dijon 115 bottling comes entirely from one of those sections. In 2016 we were offered a block of Wadensvil next to that very block of Dijon 115 by which we are impressed by. These two blocks are adjacent and near the highest point in the vineyard. Another winery chose to not renew its lease in this block, and we stepped into an interesting situation. The block was, oddly, under much more duress than our Dijon 115 despite its proximity. We devised a plan with the Dusschees to restore the vine health in the block and get this section of the vineyard back on track. In 2017 we did a small bottling from here and by 2018 this Wadensvil block was singing and definitely vies for “best bottling of the vintage” amongst the staff.
Farming Practices: Since 2013 Freedom Hill Vineyard has been moving diligently and consistently from conventional farming practices to organic farming. While not 100% turned to organic practices it is closer to that than it is too so-called “sustainable farming.” Great attention has been paid to specific cover cropping, foliar feeding, and cultivation. The result is a healthier vineyard with a greater range of blocks producing single vineyard quality style wines.
Picking Dates, Tonnages, Tons/Acre: September 25 East Liberty Wadensvil 8.83 tons (2.1 tons/acre).
Vinification: For this bottling there were 4 fermenters, 3 of which were done 50% whole cluster and 1 that was completely destemmed. In the final blend 11 of the 12 barrels came from the 50% whole cluster fermenters with just 1, the new Richelieu, hailing from the destemmed portion.
Winemaking: Fermentations were managed by a combination of pumpovers early in the process and exclusively prior to fermentation beginning as well as pigeages to ensure gentle handling, extraction, and delicate tannin
construction. Cold soaks were 3-4 days. Full fermentation from beginning to pressing was 16-17 days. 24-48 hour settling prior to being racked to barrel. All wines on full lees until assemblage for bottling. Bottled without fining or filtration.
Barrels: 3 new barrels were used, 2 Cadus and 1 Richelieu. Past that the wine was a combination of largely 3 and 4 times used barrels with a couple of completely neutral barrels to round it all out.
Notes: If there is a winery in Oregon with a greater love for the Wadensvil Clone of Pinot Noir I would be extremely surprised. We source this not widely planted clone from 6 different vineyards, including our Estate, and are now producing 4 distinct bottlings meant to show off this clone’s contribution to terroir. We find that Wadensvil has a unique ability to bring red-fruited characteristics, both aromatically and in the flavors, even into environments where darker fruits are far more the norm. This push and pull sort of dynamic within the context of the other facets of the wine’s terroir helps create an extra level of complexity and nuance in the best situations. Certainly, here at Freedom Hill Vineyard, known for dark and powerful wines, this attribute creates a wine unique across the many bottlings we do from this site. While still containing the full textural experience of Freedom Hill this has a sense of calm to it that the wilder wines from here do not have. This is full on and demure at the same time. This is a beautiful and restrained wine operating in a very dynamic and intense vineyard environment. No doubt this wine will last for years and years. This finished with a TA of 5.5, a pH of 3.49 and was bottled with under 25 ppm free SO2 and less than 70 ppm total SO2.