If you’re inspired by a fuller, bustier Chardonnay yet don’t want to give those heathens in Baja Oregon your hard-earned dollars, the Yates Conwill will be right up your alley. Once again, we find no shortage of energetic fruit and a bright golden color. Nicely caramelized and toasty citrus, followed by accents of lemon thyme, orange marmalade, apricots and almonds. As with the Cuvee O Chardonnay, please allow this two-barrel selection from the Yates Conwill Vineyard to reach room temperature to take advantage of its expansive range of flavors and silky texture. This wine wants to give you everything she’s got and she ain’t shy about it. With that being said, she has the balance to pull it off without seeming like a strumpet.
As with past vintages, the finish on this wine is intriguing, almost briney and what could be called the hard-to-pinpoint Umami flavor. Clean, and somewhere between salty and sweet. A touch of peaches topped with cream and a drop of vanilla come back for one last hurrah at the close. A truly vast array of aromas and tastes are found. It has everything to offer. If you want to get really crazy, enjoy this wine over the course of two to three days. It really integrates on day two, indicating it will live a long and productive life if you choose to hang on to it for a while. Get it while the gettin’s good- just 48 cases made.
below, Yates Conwill Vineyard soils & rocks
The Vineyard: Yates Conwill Vineyard
Yates Conwill Vineyard is owned by husband and wife Cathy and Steven Conwill. It is a beautiful southwest facing bowl of a vineyard tucked in next to Foothill Farms, sharing a fence with Resonance Vineyard, and is only five miles due west from the lovely hamlet of Carlton. Well managed by Results Partners it is one of the “bonsai garden” vineyards in the valley with perfectly manicured plants and clean rows.
This vineyard is proving to be a great site for me with both the Chardonnay and the Pinot as I have worked with this site since the 2008 vintage. Farmed by Results Partners to perfection, or as quoted in the Wine Advocate “like a Bonsai garden”, this southwest-facing site just west of Carlton is well loved.
Both this and the 2013 Cuvee O Chardonnay are sourced from Yates Conwill Vineyard which is comprised of the Dijon 95 and Dijon 76 clones in an equal ratio. Both were fermented in my unique way of placing the unadulterated juice in New French Oak barrels filled half full. Spontaneous fermentation takes off inside the closed barrels within a few days without the introduction of any “store bought” yeasts. Whatever might happen to be floating by starts and finishes the fermentation, both primary and secondary. When the fermentation is at its peak of activity, usually around two months after being placed in barrel, the wines are moved via inert gas pressure into Neutral French Oak Puncheon sized barrels where they remain until bottling. No lees stirring. No Mickey Mouse moves. No tricks. Trix are for kids. These are adult wines.
The 2013 vintage in Oregon ended up fine. There was a normal spring with “right on time” flowering and fruit set. Warm enough temperatures through the summer with just enough rain to keep things out of a high stress situation and then a bit of rain to keep it challenging during the physical harvest. White wines were not affected by the rains while some sites experienced more than others making it not only tough to get in and out of the vineyards but resulting in a bit of dilution in concentration. That said, if you knew how to manage the plumped up berries, you made fine wines. I feel that all of my 2013s, whites and reds are exemplary. The wines from this vintage suffer no lack of ripeness and all have great length.