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2002 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

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About the Vineyard...
My continuing adventures on the Pinot noir trail lead to a novel joint project for 2002. We shipped 2 tons of Carneros Pinot noir to Laurent Montalieu (Oregon winemaker extraordinaire, currently making wonderful wines under his Solena label) in Oregon in exchange for 2 tons of Willakenzie Estate Pinot noir from Oregonís Willamette Valley. This was something that had been on my to do list for quite some time having grown up in the center of the Willamette Valley and discovered this grape called Pinot in my formative years there. For both of us it was an opportunity to work with a different palette of flavors and compare our unique interpretations. A little luck was on our side as 2002 turned out to be an outstanding vintage on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line The soils are always a point of focus for me. The Willakenzine Vineyard is comprised of sedimentary soils with underlying sandstone. This vineyard has hillside location with shallow and well drained, Willakenzie series silt-clay-loam.

About the Wine...
The grapes were 100% destemmed directly to fermenter, cold soaked for 4 days at 58įF, innoculated with Burgundian isolate yeast and pressed after a 10 day fermentation. The grapes extracted very easily giving up most of their color in the first few days of fermentation. Structure came later and prompted us to macerate for a few days after completion of fermentation.

Tasting Notes...
For us, the Oregon Pinot possesses elegant perfume of dried roses, plum, boysenberry, and forest floor, with a beautifully textured mid-palate, nice structure, and distinct earth nuances underlying it all. The earthiness (coming across more as a forest floor/humus character) and aromatics are the most distinctive from our other bottlings. The wine has developed more slowly than our other bottlings with the exception of the Sonoma Mountain designate - but we feel it has the balance to age very well.