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2011 Oregon "Shea Vineyard"

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About the Vineyard...

Dick Shea planted his first vines in the late 80’s, just a few short years after Ken Bernards moved from the Willamette Valley, his birthplace, to Napa to work his first harvest. The vineyards have grown, along with Shea’s reputation for quality, and today his vines produce a disproportionately large percentage of the most renowned Willamette Pinot Noirs. Good sedimentary soils, sitting on two well-drained hillsides, along with careful, sustainable farming practices, routinely yield quality, well-ripened fruit in a viticultural area known for wide vintage variation. Wine makers and wine connoisseurs alike look to Shea for Pinot Noirs with density, structure, and intense, spicy fruit.

About the Vintage...

2011 began cool, with later bud break. Flowering and fruit set was disrupted by heavy and uncharacteristically late rain storms. This limited fruit production considerably resulting in significantly lower yields, sometimes as low as half of typical production. The summer remained cool--one of the coolest on record--pushing the harvest date back further into September and yielding wines with a tremendous, bright acidity. In the end, vineyard management and assiduous farming practices helped to insure that this well-situated vineyard ripened properly, with rich, mouth-filling tannic structure.

About the Wine…

Ken Bernards returns to the land of his youth, Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Working with fruit grown this far from the winery produces special challenges and requires an extremely high element of trust between the wine maker and the grower. Dick Shea’s farming skills are up to this challenge. This was the last fruit that we harvested. It fermented traditionally in one ton, open top containers using hand punch downs to achieve optimal extraction. Gravity provided movement from reception through pressing with inert gas used from then on. It was aged in Francois Freres cooperage for sixteen months and racked once in the spring time. 248 cases produced.

Tasting Notes...

Always brimming with earthy, organic aromas, and this vintage is no exception. The rich, tilled earth is peppered with light toasty notes, dried floral perfumes, clover, rose petal and geranium flower. Rich and ripe, the nose shows plenty of blackberry, huckleberry, and wild strawberry. The palate is rich and broad, generous with plum, blackberry, blueberry, with mouth-coating, chocolatey tannins. The acid lifts the otherwise dark and deep palate considerably, helping to further emphasize the well-developed tannin and minerality throughout the finish. Balanced, deep, and exceptionally well-structured, this wine will cellar nicely for 5-10 years while becoming more silken in texture and adding additional perfumes to its aromatic bouquet.