2021 Marine Sedimentary Pinot Noir 3 Litre
Soil Series Wine History: In 2005 we began bottling a small amount of wine taken from several barrels of the two vineyards we had planted on Marine Sedimentary soil, our Estate and Whistling Ridge Vineyard which is also located in the Ribbon Ridge AVA. Over time as we added vineyards like Corrine (Olenik at the time) and Lia’s which both shifted to a Chehalem Mountains AVA (Ribbon Ridge is also considered Chehalem Mountains) and began producing larger quantities of the wine, so that we could show this to a larger audience. As we grew the number of bottlings of Pinot Noir and the volume of many of those wines, it made sense to increase the production of our two Soil Series bottlings. Producing over 30 bottlings of Pinot Noir that are almost entirely composed of Marine or Volcanic soils these wines serve the purpose of showing the root base of all the wines we make that spring from these two general soil classifications.
Site Characteristics: While this wine falls outside of our normal winemaking pattern since it is from an assemblage of vineyards as opposed to one specific vineyard site, it still retains the idea of place which is as important in the overall context. The approach to bottling certainly began with the same philosophical principles we apply to our vineyard designated wines. Ribbon Ridge is a small hillside stretch winding up against a steep, narrow valley that essentially winds its way out to the Oregon Coast. This valley was created thousands of years ago when a huge flood rolled through leaving this area under water for a considerable period of time. The eastern side of the valley’s hills generally face south and southwest at elevations of up to around 600 feet. With the Chehalem Mountains to our north, the Dundee Hills to the south and the Coast Range only a few miles to the west this is an isolated area where you can often times actually see the weather systems go around us in a variety of directions. This little area has its own microclimate, but what truly sets it apart is the soil. The years of being under water created a soil classification known as Marine Sedimentary of which there are several sub-classifications. This is a talc-y, dry soil set atop a sandstone sub-soil. Drainage is nearly instantaneous and special efforts have to be made to aerate, feed and nurture the soil to promote more moisture retention. Since we do not believe in irrigating our vineyards, we have needed to be very proactive in addressing the relationship between soil management and vine health that is an everyday part of farming in Ribbon Ridge.
Vineyards: This has the most diverse vineyards that we purchase fruit from in terms of clonal makeup, which is a defining aspect of this bottling. Below are the sections that we receive:
• Estate Vineyard: 2 barrels of Wadensvil (1997) and 2 barrels Dijon 114 (2001)
• Corrine Vineyard: 8 barrels Wadensvil (2007), 1 barrel Wadensvil (1991) and 2 barrels Coury Clone (2010).
• Lia’s Vineyard: 1 barrel Mariafeld Clone.
• Chehalem Mountain Vineyard: 4 barrels Dijon 114.
• Wind Ridge Vineyard: 1 barrel Pommard (2004)
• Ridgecrest VIneyard: 4 barrels Pommard (1982)
Farming Practices: All of these vineyards are either organically farmed, in the latter stages of transitioning from standard farming to organic farming or transitioning from organic farming to biodynamic farming. All Patricia Green Cellars sites are dry farmed.
Picking Dates, Tonnages, Tons/Acre: Showing the diversity that even this small area can have (all of these sites are within 4 miles of each other) the picking dates range from as early as September 9th to as late as October 1st (literally the last day we picked Pinot Noir in 2021). Tonnages were generally abundant with a top end of around 3.3 tons/acre for the Estate Wadensvil to a low of 2.2 tons for the old vine Pommard at Ridgecrest Vineyard.
Vinification: Multiple different approaches:
• Destemmed: Corrine Coury Clone and Wadensvil, Lia’s Mariafeld, Estate Dijon 114, Wind Ridge Pommard and Chehalem Mountain Dijon 114.
• 50% Whole Cluster: Ridgecrest Pommard and Estate Wadensvil
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 generally 3-5. Full fermentation from beginning to pressing was 16-20 day. 48-72 hour settling prior to being racked to barrel. All wines on full lees until assemblage for bottling. Bottled without fining or filtration.
Barrels: This 25-barrel bottling consists entirely of neutral barrels with the exception of 2 twice-filled barrels used on the Estate Wadensvil and 5 on the Ridgecrest.
Notes: Over the years this wine has seen a distinct evolution. Part of it is the inclusion of a greater number of vineyards and blocks which, certainly at a very fundamental level, would obviously create a different nature for the finished wine. However, the real changes are far more important. We started making this wine in 2005 but it was only our 6th vintage farming a marine soil site and making wines from marine soils. Now, as this is being written in 2022, we receive fruit from four Ribbon Ridge AVA sites and four Chehalem Mountains sites that are just off the eastern edge of Ribbon Ridge. That’s eight vineyards all within less than 4 miles of each other. Our understanding of the farming required to grow excellent fruit in these sites has increased dramatically over our 20 years here. Likewise, our ability to nudge the fruit toward its best wine self has seen a corresponding rise. Just because we likely source fruit from more sources in this very focused area does not make us THE expert on marine soil wines but it does make us uniquely qualified to produce a wine that shows off the excellence and potential of this small part of Yamhill County. The 2021 vintage’s surprising brightness and high-toned nature meshes nicely with this wine’s inherent nature to be dark, sullen, minerally and structured. This will still provide the savory nature that fans of a certain style of Pinot Noir crave while perhaps providing a gateway to folks whose bent is still toward the volcanic soil wines.