HARVEST DATE: 9/19/16
NEW OAK: 41%
8 months aging in oak
n: black cherry, bramble, earth, pretty
m: spice, leather, marion berry, silky tannins, lively finish
Similar to the last two vintages, the 2016 growing season continued to push the envelope for defining the new normal in Oregon as one of the earliest on record. An unusually warm spring gave way to moderate summer conditions, which provided even growing conditions through véraison. Though it was an intense growing season due to the early start, the fruit produced throughout the state resulted in wonderful concentration and complexity with characteristic natural acidity.
Bud break kicked off the vintage two to four weeks earlier than normal. A short heat spell at bloom condensed the flowering period, resulting in a smaller fruit set for most producers. Summer provided average conditions with fewer heat spikes than the 2014 or 2015 vintages, which led to smaller berry size and ahigher concentration of flavors. Warmer than normal conditions in most areas in August shepherded along the early vintage and most vineyards started to harvest early ripening varieties during the last week of the month or early September.
The 2016 vintage saw practically immaculate fruit with few signs of disease, pest or bird effects. Vineyards and wineries in the Willamette Valley were largely finished with harvest by the end of September to early-October, while wineries in other regions carried on through mid-to-late October depending on the varieties planted. Because of the cooler temperatures in September and October, Growing Degree Days (GDD) accumulation in the western valleys ended up between the totals seen in 2013 and 2014.
The Dundee Hills AVA is contained within the Willamette Valley AVA and is located 28 southwest of Portland and 40 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. It is defined by a single, continuous landmass that rises above the low, flat floors of the surrounding Willamette and Chehalem Valleys beginning at the 200 foot contour line and extending to the AVA’s highest peak of 1,067 feet.
The Dundee Hills area is effectively an island protected from great climatic variations by the Coast Range to the west and the Chehalem Mountains to the northeast. The Dundee Hills receive less cooling influence from the Pacific Ocean and Columbia Gorge, resulting in slightly warmer growing seasons than most Willamette Valley AVAs.
The Dundee Hills AVA is known for its rich, red volcanic Jory soil, formed by the Columbia River Basalts land for Pinot noir in America more than 14 million years ago. Jory soils typically reach a depth of 4-6 feet and provide excellent drainage for superior quality wine grapes. Pinot noirs from this area are most often bright with elegant red fruit, earthy, truffle-like flavors and silky mouthfeel.
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