HARVEST DATE: 9/18/16
NEW OAK: 24%
8 months aging in oak
n: spice, blackberry, earth
m: juicy, vibrant black cherry, fine tannins, plum, leather
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.
Once primarily known for tree-fruit orchards, nurseries, livestock, wheat fields and logging, the areanow known as Yamhill-Carlton has a relatively recent wine history. In 1974, pioneers Pat and Joe Campbell started Elk Cove Vineyards, which produced the first commercial wine in the Yamhill-Carlton area at a time when other areas of the North Willamette Valley were just starting to be planted. Other pioneers quickly followed suit and today it is known as one of the country’s finest producers of cool-climate varietals. Yamhill-Carlton was officially established in 2005.
Climate: Yamhill-Carlton is protected by high elevation areas to the west (Coast Range), north (ChehalemMountains) and east (Dundee Hills), which results in less rain than surrounding areas andmoderate growing conditions.
Soils: Yamhill-Carlton is comprised of coarse-grained, ancient marine sedimentary soils over sandstone and siltstone that all drain quickly, making them ideal for viticulture. Grapes grown in such soil often result in wines lower in acid than those made from grapes grown in basaltic or wind-blown soils.
Topography: Yamhill-Carlton vineyards grow on sites with elevations between 200 and 1,000 feet, avoiding low valley frost and high elevation temperatures unsuitable for effective ripening. Geographically, this area is bounded by the Coast Range to the west, the Chehalem Mountains to the north and the Dundee Hills to the east.
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