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2016 Durant Vineyard, Bishop Block Pinot Noir 3 Litre

2016 Durant Vineyard, Bishop Block Pinot Noir 3 Litre
2016 Durant Vineyard, Bishop Block Pinot Noir 3 Litre

Location: Dundee Hills is a sub-appellation within the Willamette Valley located 28 miles southwest of Portland and 40 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. Rising above the low, flat floors of the surrounding Willamette and Chehalem Valleys, the Dundee Hills offer spectacular views, including Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson's majestic snowy peaks.

Wine history: Winemaker David Lett planted the first Pinot noir in the Dundee Hills in 1965, naming it The Eyrie Vineyard. Soon after, Dick Erath, the Sokol Blosser family and other winemakers cleared south-facing slopes to plant many of Oregon's first vineyards. They whole-heartedly believed this area would one day be an important cool-climate wine-growing region. It didn't take long for the world to discover Dundee Hills and Oregon - after the relatively unknown Eyrie Pinot noir placed among the top three wines in the 1979 Gault-Millau French Wine Olympiades, beating out more famous French labels. Today, the area remains home to many of Oregon's modern pioneer winemakers who continue to successfully grow and make premium wine. The appellation was approved in November 2005.

Climate: The Dundee Hills area is effectively an island protected from great climatic variations by surrounding geographic features. The Coast Range to the west lessens the effects of the Pacific Ocean's heavy rains and windstorms, and causes a rain shadow over the Dundee Hills area, resulting in just 30 to 45 inches of annual precipitation, most of which falls in the winter months outside of the growing season. Because of their slope and elevation, Dundee Hills vineyards benefit from warmer nights and less frost and fog than the adjacent valley floors.

Soils: Dundee Hills is known for its rich, red volcanic Jory soil, which was formed from ancient volcanic basalt and consists of silt, clay and loam soils. They typically reach a depth of 4 to 6 feet and provide excellent drainage for superior quality wine grapes.

Topography: The Dundee Hills viticultural region consists of a single, continuous landmass that rises above the surrounding Willamette Valley floors and is defined by the 200-foot contour line to the AVA's highest peak of 1,067 feet. The area comprises a north-south spine with ridges, as well as small valleys on its east, south and west sides. Dundee Hills is part of a North Willamette Valley hill chain that developed as a result of intense volcanic activity and the collision of the Pacific and North American plates. Dundee Hills is typically volcanic over sedimentary sandstone.

Site Characteristics:Durant Vineyard is, by any measure, one of the pioneer vineyards in Oregon. The site was established and first planted in 1973 by the same family that owns and farms it to this day. Set on Breyman Orchard Rd. at the southern end of the Dundee Hills the vineyard covers about 60 acres in size with a wide range of elevation topping out at about 600’ and several different plantings of Pinot Noir and other, lesser varieties. This is a mostly south facning site that is adjacent to Domaine Drouhin, De Ponte and Sokol Blosser. To give some perspective on how fertile and life-sustaining the soil is in the Dundee Hills there is also a successful olive orchard planted on the property from which the Durants make some pretty damn good olive oil. We get two sections of the vineyard. The Bishop Block which was planted to Pommard in 1973 and the Madrone Block which is a 2000 planting of Dijon 115 clone.

AVA: Dundee Hills     LOCATION: Breyman Orchards Rd.

ELEVATION: 500’       SOIL TYPE: Jory

YEAR PLANTED: 1973      CLONAL MATERIAL: 100% Pommard

VINEYARD SIZE: 60-acre vineyard, 4-acre PGC block     VINIFICATION: Two 1.5-ton open-top fermenters done with 100% whole cluster and three fermenters done with 20% whole cluster fermentations.

PICKING DATE: September 13th      TONS/ACRE: 2.1

OWNERS: The Durant Family    

Two fermenters of fruit were 100% de-stemmed and went through a normal cold soak of about 4 to 5 days and then was fermented in 1.75 ton open top fermenters and was punched down 1x/day before being pressed and allowed to settle for 3 days. Two other fermenters were done with 20% whole clusters, went through a standard cold soak of about 5-6 days, pumped over 1x/day until fermentation began and then was pigeaged 1x/day until dry and then pressed and allowed to settle for 3 days The wine spent about 10 months in barrel in 33% new oak. 5 and ½ barrels of the 20% whole cluster fermentation barrels were selected and 3 ½ from the 100% whole cluster fermentations. The combination allows for the forward, supple nature of Dundee Hill fruit to pour forth while being held tightly in check by the old vine, mineral-driven elements of the 100% whole cluster barrels. This is a wine that has old bones and sensibilities to it while still having the stuffing that Dundee Hill wines are known for.

These now monster vines were planted back in 1973 making them some of the oldest vines in Oregon and thus giving this bottling an historical aspect to it. 44 year-old vines in Oregon are exceptionally rare both because there was so little planted acreage back then and because some of that acreage has been re-planted due to phylloxera That this site and wine exist at all is somewhat of a minor miracle. In part due to this, this wine knows exactly what it wants to be. This is finesse, subtleness, elegance and discreet balance all backed up by a sneaky and looming firmness that comes on in the back of the wine. Only older vines make wines like this. This is not a wine that needs to make a dramatic entrance because all the work is done on the back end.

VarietalPinot Noir
AppellationDundee Hills
Volume3 liter
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$161.00 / per bottle
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