2021 Weber Vineyard Pinot Noir
Site History: The history on any one vineyard on Worden Hill Rd is inextricably linked to all the others and, ultimately, to a single site and a couple of families. The vineyard in question is Maresh Vineyard and the people are Jim and Loie Maresh and Dick Erath. Erath convinced this cherry and hazelnut farming couple with property located at the summit of the hill to consider planting a vineyard in 1969. This would be only the second vineyard in Yamhill County. In 1972 Art and Vivienne Weber purchased 21 acres from the Maresh family. In 1978 they began planting and over the next 13 years would, with the purchase of an adjacent 65 acres, plant the 31 acre site known as Weber Vineyard. The vineyard was called Ana Vineyard for several years after Andy Humphrey purchased a portion of it in 2001. After the 2013 harvest the name of the vineyard was restored to its original name based upon the person (Art Weber) who planted it in the late 1970s. The wines we made from this site from 2005-2012 were called Ana Vineyard. Everything from 2013 forward is Weber Vineyard. However, it is the exact same block dating back to our initial vintage.
Site Characteristics: This beautiful and amazing site sits on a unique geological formation on the hillside. This vineyard rolls down into a fold in the hillside that protects it in a way that mitigates the southern facing nature it has. Vineyard manager Andy Humphrey has said geologists have told him that given the way the Worden Hill Rd hillside is shaped and the way the topography was formed, it would have been extremely unlikely for the particular “bulge” that this vineyard sits upon ever would have formed.
It often feels that way in there, as if something a little cosmic is kind of going on that you can neither quantify nor truly explain particularly well without sounding a little bit, well a little bit like Andy Humphrey. That’s good. Oregon vineyards at their best have some element of oddity and mystery to them. This one has that in particular. The steep angles and the fact it is somewhat enclosed by a bowl of hills around it combined with the relatively decent elevation, it makes for one of our later and sometimes latest picked vineyards each vintage. Our vines come from a 1983 planting and the fruit produces intensely Dundee Hill-styled Pinots with great red fruit character, minerality and a satin-like texture that leads into complex tannin chains making for complex wines even at relatively young ages.
The Block: Our block is in a large southeast facing section of the site that begins at the top of the vineyard and makes its way down the hillside. Oddly one side of the block, the block is extremely wide with rows of over 100 plants even in the 8 x 10 planting, seems relatively lightly sloped with the other side feels quite steep. Another aspect of the “House of Mystery” style nature of this entire vineyard. The vines are trellised on Scott Henry Trellising which has 4 fruit canes rather than the normal 2 seen on the nearly universal single-wire vertical used in Oregon. Older vines such as these can often take the extra level of fruit and vigor that springs from such a trellising system. This was put in after the 2012 harvest and we have seen no change in the quality of the resulting wines over the years.
Farming Practices: 100% Sustainably farmed. All Patricia Green Cellars’s sites are dry farmed.
Picking Dates, Tonnages, Tons/Acre: September 22 Top of Block 5, 10.64 tons, September 25 Bottom of Block 5, 6.33 tons (3.77 tons/acre overall).
Vinification: All fermenters were destemmed.
Winemaking: Fermentations were managed by a combination of pump overs early in the process and exclusively prior to fermentation beginning as well as pigeages to ensure gentle handling, extraction, and delicate tannin structure. Cold soaks were slightly longer than most 2021 wines with 5-6 days in length. Full fermentation from beginning to pressing was 19-20 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 18-barrel bottling used 8 new Cadus barrels along with a selection largely comprised of 2 and 3 times used barrels.
Winemaking and Notes: There simply aren’t many 35+ year old vineyards in Oregon. In our nearly 20 years of working with this vineyard, it has routinely produced one of our top wines of the vintage (certainly the 2012 and 2016 could make a strong argument for that being the case). The 2021 vintage with its odd heat spikes had interesting impacts on our vineyard sites, ranging from very little to unusual if not harmful impacts. The 2021 gave us a wealth of tight and tiny clusters. Given the tons per acre in 2021, it is crazy to think of the number of these smaller clusters had to exist to get to the level of production that we had. Given the nature of things we decided to go forward with an all-destemmed version of Weber. While this rolls against the wines from 2015-2018, it is keeping with the wines made from 2005-2012. This wine has both the delicacy and fruitiness that this vintage has brought to bear in several vineyards. It is a naked wine, offering red fruits, an abundance of spice and a texture that is sublime and haunting. It is complete, age-worthy, unique all while still being a distinctly Worden Hill Rd Pinot Noir. Beautiful wine for old vine Dundee Hills vineyard fans.