Vivid red. Musky aromas of blackberry, cherry pit and pungent flowers, plus a smoky mineral flourish and a hint of vanilla. Sappy and penetrating on the palate, offering bitter cherry and dark berry flavors that are complemented by candied licorice and mocha notes. Becomes livelier and sweeter with air and finishes spicy and very long; dusty tannins add shape to the sappy dark fruit.
T“There’s no precedent for a vintage exactly like this in Oregon, but there is in Burgundy. Mike Etzel of Beaux Frères did some research and found a description of the 1959 Côte d’Or growing season in a book by Clive Coates that matches uncannily: early flowering, warm, dry, with late-August rains, a cool September and early harvest. Those Burgundies were magnificent and long-lived. If Oregon’s 2015 turns out as well, it could be the state’s most extraordinary vintage.” – Wine Spectator’s Harvey Steiman
The overall weather for growing wine grapes in 2015 was approaching perfection. There was enough of everything, just like the Goldilocks 2012 Vintage but with more heat, giving a health boost in the middle of the summer plus some well needed rain when things are normally drying up in late summer. Comparisons to the 1959 vintage in Burgundy have been bandied about. All I know is this “Entry Level” might be the best I have made.
This is a three-vineyard blend comprised of;
- 45 percent Wind Hill Vineyard
- 35 percent Saffron Fields Vineyard
- 20 percent Yates Conwill Vineyard
All of these sites came in clean, fully ripe with perfectly size berries and fermented easily.
As per our hands-off method used since 2010 vintage, the clusters were destemmed, placed into the proverbially perfect 50:50 ratio open-topped, jacketed, stainless steel fermentation bins where they spontaneously fermented for between two and four weeks until dry. Minimal punch downs were performed along with the pumping over of wine after each punch.
The free run was drained via gravity to empty tanks where it settled for a few days. This settling tank was subsequently lifted with the forklift so that gravity could again help with moving the wine to barrel for secondary fermentation which happened on Mother Nature’s own wacky schedule and finished, barrel-by-barrel, later in the spring.
Aromatically this is textbook Pinot noir: initial aromas of violet flowers followed by forest floor strewn with black cherries are so painfully obvious that even a neophyte will sense it. Given another thirty minutes in the glass, more complex aromas of freshly peeled tangerine, just picked Chanterelles, and toasted graham crackers emerge.
Entry is sublime with an edge; smooth and filling at first then an awakening of the palate due to the nice level of acidity. And with this acidity another realm of flavors show themselves ranging from blackberries and yellow cherries in a bowl with sliced red plums and a squeeze of lemon to buckwheat pancakes with farm butter and lemon syrup next to three slices of bacon. How odd is that? Oddly perfect if you ask me!
The finish is one of the longest I have experienced on my Entry Level wine. While currently in the “wave” mode due to the wine’s age, the waves of flavors are large and undulate between highs of black cherry and black plum skin and lows of freshly turned spring soil.