2008 Willamette Valley "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...
The fruit hung late into the season in the Willamette Valley, coming in ripe and dry in late October, making for a classic northern climes harvest, taking full advantage of a cool fall and the long summer sunlight hours of the higher latitudes. Dick Shea considers 2008 to be, along with 2004, one of the his favorite years of the decade.
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 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, half new, for sixteen months and racked once in the spring time. 81 cases produced.
The nose is announced with a deep, spiced fruit aroma and a pronounced earthiness. Dried mushrooms, cloves, forest floor, and holiday spices provide the introduction to dried fruits and the subtly of fresh cut roses, geraniums, and clover. The fruit on the palate is dark and concentrated, bramble berries and dried cherries, black raspberries, all carrying a hint of earthy spice. Acidity is balances the intensity of the fruit and leads the palate nicely into the long finish of fine tannins and earthy mineral notes. The wine achieves an amazing balance, given the intensity of the fruit, a signature of both the vineyard and the wine making. We expect this wine, our inaugural Shea vintage, to age nicely for 5-7 years, if not longer.