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2016 Freedom Hill Vineyard, Dijon 115 Clone 50% Whole Cluster Pinot Noir

2016 Freedom Hill Vineyard, Dijon 115 Clone 50% Whole Cluster Pinot Noir
2016 Freedom Hill Vineyard, Dijon 115 Clone 50% Whole Cluster Pinot Noir

 Simply perfect material from the East Liberty Block of the vineyard planted in 2004. From 2012-2014 this was a selection of barrels from 50% whole cluster fermentations. In 2015 we included a small amount of barrels from 100% whole cluster fermentations (which we are doing much more commonly now) and in 2016 there will likely be a relatively equal distribution of 50% and 100% whole cluster fermentation barrels. We are finding that the natural tendency of this block is towards structured and dark-hearted wines. With the increased use of 100% whole cluster fermentations it shows higher-toned tendencies. The flavor profile walks the line between red and black fruits with distinct earth and mineral tones. It is firmly structured, but with incredibly fine, ripe tannins. One of the most suave and interesting wines we produce each year with high praises from the wine writers.

Location: Eola-Amity Hills is a sub-appellation of the Willamette Valley AVA located just west-northwest of Salem, Oregon's state capitol. 

Wine history: The agricultural history of this area near Salem dates back to the mid-1850s, though it wasn't until the 1970s that winemakers started to discover the area as having ideal growing conditions for high-quality wine grapes. It was around this time that a few modern pioneers, including Don Byard of Hidden Springs, planted a patchwork of vineyards in the Eola-Amity Hills. Soon after, other pioneers followed suite and today this area produces world-class, handcrafted cool-climate varietals. The appellation became official in 2006.

Climate: The Eola-Amity Hills region enjoys a temperate climate of warm summers and mild winters, and 40 inches of annual rain, most of which falls outside of the growing season. Average maximum temperatures are 62 degrees Fahrenheit in April and 83 degrees Fahrenheit in July, which contributes to the ideal conditions for the cool-climate grape varieties that dominate the Eola-Amity Hills. The climate in this region is greatly influenced by its position due east of the Van Duzer Corridor, which provides a break in the coast range that allows cool Pacific Ocean air to flow through. This drops temperatures in the region dramatically, especially during late summer afternoons, helping to keep grape acids firm.

Soil: The soils in the Eola-Amity Hills predominantly contain volcanic basalt from ancient lava flows as well as marine sedimentary rocks and alluvial deposits at the lower elevations of the ridge. This combination results in a relatively shallow, rocky set of well-drained soils, which typically produce small grapes with great concentration.

Topography: The Eola Hills, and its northern extension, the Amity Hills, are part of a North Willamette Valley hill chain that developed out of intense volcanic activity and the collision of the Pacific and North American plates. The main ridge of the Eola Hills runs north-south and has numerous lateral ridges on both sides that run east-west. The majority of the region's vineyard sites exist at elevations between 250 to 700 feet.

Site Characteristics:Freedom Hill Vineyard lies toward the eastern edge of the Coast Range Foothills. While associated geographically with the Eola Hills the site lies south and west of the border of the Eola-Amity Hill Appellation outside the town of Monmouth. The vineyard is planted on a marine sedimentary type of soil known as Bellpine. The vineyard is also located just south of the Van Duzer wind corridor which allows for more consistent average temperatures due to a lack of afternoon and evening offshore breezes rolling through. The vineyard was established in 1982 by the people who still own and manage it to this day, Dan and Helen Dusschee. While they may not have realized it at the time they were ultimately settling onto a site destined to be seen as one of the top Pinot Noir vineyards in the state of Oregon. Their rigorous and professional approach to the management of the vineyard has brought about that greatness and even though the vineyard suffered through a scourge of phyloxera replantings and expansion of the site have shown that there is a clear and indomitable of terroir here. We had the great fortune of being in the right place at the right time with the right need for fruit in 2012 and we have had the great fortune to produce what we consider to be some of the greatest and most focused Pinot Noirs we have ever made.

AVA: Willamette Valley       LOCATION: Burnell Rd.  

ELEVATION: 500’                SOIL TYPE: Bellpine

YEAR PLANTED: 2004       CLONAL MATERIAL: 100% Dijon 115

VINEYARD SIZE: 85-acre vineyard, 11-acre PGC block  

VINIFICATION: 1.5-ton open-top fermenters done with 100% whole cluster and 50% whole cluster fermentations.

PICKING DATE: 9/19/16             TONS/ACRE: 2.9

OWNERS: Dan and Helen Dusschee       PRODUCTION: 432 cases bottled

Wine Making and Notes: As always this is simply perfect material from one single block of Dijon 115 Clone Pinot Noir (East Liberty Block) of the vineyard planted in 2004. This bottling has always emphasized the ability of whole cluster fementation to shine with fruit from this vineyard. Nine barrels came from 50% whole cluster ferments, 5 from 100% and 4 from 20% whole cluster ferments. This mix deftly mixes the more fruit forward aspects of lower whole cluster usage with the aromatic and complexity inherent to higher whole cluster ferments.  There are no new barrels on this wine and, in fact, there is only one barrel that was used just once previously. The bulk of the barrels used for this wine were completely neutral so to further enhance the incredible nature of this vineyard driven bottling. This has a strong, black-fruited tone to it with a range of flavors and spices mingling in for complexity. The tannins are sticky and firm and born entirely of the fruit. This wine will reward with a long life of aging, but will also be appreciated by fans of intense and sinewy Pinots in its youth.

VarietalPinot Noir
AppellationWillamette Valley
VineyardFreedom Hill
Volume750 ml
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$48.00 / per bottle
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