2021 Shafer Vineyard Pinot Noir 3L
Notes: Shafer Vineyard stands as an entirely distinct vineyard in the Patricia Green Cellars’ lineup because of its soil makeup. Shafer is planted entirely on Loess soil. This is a periglacial windborne soil that is incredibly common around the world. About 10% of all soils on earth are Loess soil. In general, we have avoided this type of soil and have not had a vineyard with this particular geology since parting ways with Quail Hill Vineyard after the 2005 vintage. In this instance though we felt we had a site with vines so old that the vine age was going to trump the soil type in terms of the nature and quality of the resulting wine. There is absolutely no doubt about that case. This is one of the most significant and complex wines from the 2021 vintage. The flavor profile completely is reminiscent of Oregon’s famous Hood Strawberries. Not everyone has had these gorgeous berries, but they are renowned for their deep, rich flavor and spicy character. The wine finished with numbers of a TA of 5.8, a pH of 3.50, a free sulfur level below 25 ppm and a total sulfur below 70 ppm.
Site History: This may be the least famous historically significant vineyard in Oregon. Harvey Shafer established this vineyard in 1973 outside the tiny town of Gales Creek which is about 8 miles northwest of Forest Grove. This area is isolated from the larger Oregon vineyard growing and winemaking industry in 2022. In 1973 this site was incredibly far away from the small, cottage industry that was only starting to blossom in the early 1970s. If you look at the most relevant wine folks and their arrivals in the state you see this; David Lett came to northwestern Oregon in 1965, Dick Erath in 1968. Dick Ponzi and Ron Vuylsteke in 1970, Bill and Susan Sokol Blosser in 1971, David Adelsheim in 1972, Bill Fuller in 1973, and Myron Redford in 1974. Harvey Shafer was most certainly a pioneer of this industry. He married his wife, Miki, in 1986 and she kept the small winery going after his death in 2011. The property was sold to Bob and Emery Risdall in 2016. An interesting historical note that ties our site to this, is that Gales Creek is named after Joseph Gale who came to Oregon in 1834 with Ewing Young whose name is borne by the elementary school on the corner of Dopp. Rd and North Valley Rd. dividing Ribbon Ridge and Chehalem Mountain AVAs.
Site Characteristics: This vineyard is in the north Coast Range foothills on Gales Creek Rd. about 3 miles before it intersects with Highway 6 that goes to the coast and terminates in Tillamook. This is a very isolated area with no substantial population anywhere nearby. Gales Creek Rd. at this point is cutting through a valley with rolling hills on either side. The vineyard is quite a ways up the property and not visible from the road. It is a moderately steep hill with a top elevation slightly over 600 feet and surrounded by taller hills to the north and west. This is a cooler area than the Dundee Hills or Ribbon Ridge. In 2021 this vineyard was less impacted by the June heat dome likely due to both the marine influence this site receives and the age of the vines themselves.
PGC Blocks: The vineyard sprawls out over the southwest facing hillside. A smaller portion is situated in front of the winery running down the hill with vines largely planted in the early 1980s. The larger portion of the vineyard is behind the winery with long rows of over 100 plants/row (very old school) run to the back and top of the property, stopping only at the point where the hillside dips back down into a significant swale. Our block is about half of the original 1973 planting. The plants are big, thick vines planted on 7’ x 7’ spacing.
Farming Practices: Simon Burr has been farming this vineyard according to organic practices over the past several years following the sale of the site in 2016.
Picking Dates, Tonnages, Tons/Acre: The entirety of our fruit was picked on September 22nd coming in at about 3.2 tons/acre.
Vinification: All fruit from Shafer Vineyard was done with 50% whole clusters.