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2016 Lia's Vineyard Pinot Noir

2016 Lia's Vineyard Pinot Noir
2016 Lia's Vineyard Pinot Noir

Location: Chehalem Mountains is one of Oregon's newest AVAs, and a sub-appellation of the existing Willamette Valley region. This viticulture area is 19 miles southwest of Portland and 45 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. It is 20 miles in length and 5 miles wide.

Wine history: Chehalem Mountains' winegrowing history dates back to 1968 when UC Davis refugee Dick Erath purchased 49 acres on Dopp Road in Yamhill County. He aptly called the property Chehalem Mountain Vineyards. By the mid to late 1970s, there was a patchwork of vineyards in the area, including those owned by such modern wine pioneers as the Adelsheims and the Ponzis. Over the next three decades other reputable winegrowers planted roots in the area. The appellation was approved in the late fall of 2006.

Climate: Chehalem Mountains' elevation goes from 200 to 1,633 feet, resulting in varied annual precipitation (37 inches at the lowest point and 60 inches at the highest) as well as the greatest variation in temperature within the Willamette Valley. These variations can result in three-week differences in the ripening of Pinot noir grapes.

Soils: Chehalem Mountains have a combination of Columbia River basalt, ocean sedimentation, and wind-blown loess derivation soil types.

Topography: Chehalem Mountains is a single landmass made up of several hilltops, ridges and spurs that is uplifted from the Willamette Valley floor. The appellation includes all land in the area above the 200-foot elevation. They are the highest mountains in the Willamette Valley with their tallest point, Bald Peak, at 1,633 feet above sea level.

Site Characteristics:Lia’s Vineyard is adjacent up the hillside from Olenik Vineyard in the Chehalem Mountain Appellation. In that part of the Chehalem Mountains vineyards lower on the hillside consist of marine sedimentary soils and vineyards higher on the hill are volcanic soils. Lia’s Vineyard straddles that transition with sections of the vineyard toward the bottom being in marine soils and sections toward the top being planted in volcanic soils. The vineyard largely faces west with portions of it rolling off to the south and southwest with the western face being highly exposed and the southern face having some tree cover. Just as in 2012 we received Pommard planted in 1993 and Dijon 115 planted in 1999, the former in volcanic soil, the latter in the marine. There is a small (less than half an acre) section in the middle of Lia’s Vineyard planted to the Mariafeld Clone of Pinot Noir (also known as Clone 23). This is a very rare clone in Oregon and was something that we coveted from Day 1.

Winemaking: Lia’s Vineyard, to us, is about the unusual (in Oregon) combination of soil types due to the change in elevation that the vineyard has over a relatively small amount of overall acreage. That is what makes this vineyard fascinating and, in our cellar, completely unique. The Pommard at higher elevation in volcanic soil produces intense, sultry and concentrated Pinot Noir, the Dijon 115 leans to a much more structured and savory style since it is in marine soil at the bottom of the vineyard (this is still in the middle of the overall hillside) and the Mariafeld is at an even lower spot on the hill than the Dijon 115 and it adds its own little thing to the whole situation.

We chose a total of eleven barrels only for the 2016 Lia’s Vineyard bottling. Seven barrels of the Dijon 115, three of the Pommard and one of the Mariafeld to make a wine that combines the three elements of hillside verticality and clonal selection. Over the years we have been refining our approach to the Lia’s Vineyard fruit and working to draw out the more subtle aspects we believe it has in favor of the more overt, fruit forward nature it can display. The 2016 is easily the loveliest bottling from this site we have produced. That is not to say it lacks for stuffing, just that there is an aromatic element to it that is far more floral than it has been and the wine is a bit more inviting and full of space for one to explore rather than being a wine that simply rushes at you with a full-throttled intensity. The Pommard gives the wine the element of sappiness that makes it incredibly appealing in its youth, the Dijon 115 stretches out that sweet fruit over a layer of dark fruit and some ripe tannins and the Mariafeld with its high acidity and high tannin binds everything together very nicely even though there is very little of it proportionally speaking. Working with the owner and vineyard manager to attempt to better balance yields and the effort the plants were putting forth has certainly led to a more subtle and refined version of Lia’s. If you have enjoyed this for its lush, forward nature we don’t think you will be disappointed at all. This still has beautiful fruit, loads of texture and very fine tannins. Those elements just are better assembled and this wine has the pedigree that this older vineyard and beautiful history suggest that it should.

Production: 263 cases bottled.

AVA: Chehalem Mountains           LOCATION: Kings Grade Rd.

SOIL TYPE: Marine Sedimentary & Volcanic            YEAR PLANTED: 1990s

CLONAL MATERIAL: Pommard, Dijon 115 & Mariafeld (Clone 23)              VINEYARD SIZE: 26-acre vineyard, ~4.4-acre PGC block

VINIFICATION: 2 open-top 1.5 ton fermenters done with 100% whole clusters and 3 fermenters done with 15% whole clusters

PICKING DATE: 9/16/16 & 9/20/16               TONS/ACRE: 1.5

OWNERS: Todd Hansen                              PRODUCTION: 264 cases bottled

We chose a total of eleven barrels only for the 2016 Lia’s Vineyard bottling. Seven barrels of the Dijon 115, three of the Pommard and one of the Mariafeld to make a wine that combines the three elements of hillside verticality and clonal selection. Over the years we have been refining our approach to the Lia’s Vineyard fruit and working to draw out the more subtle aspects we believe it has in favor of the more overt, fruit forward nature it can display. The 2016 is easily the loveliest bottling from this site we have produced. That is not to say it lacks for stuffing, just that there is an aromatic element to it that is far more floral than it has been and the wine is a bit more inviting and full of space for one to explore rather than being a wine that simply rushes at you with a full-throttled intensity. The Pommard gives the wine the element of sappiness that makes it incredibly appealing in its youth, the Dijon 115 stretches out that sweet fruit over a layer of dark fruit and some ripe tannins and the Mariafeld with its high acidity and high tannin binds everything together very nicely even though there is very little of it proportionally speaking. Working with the owner and vineyard manager to attempt to better balance yields and the effort the plants were putting forth has certainly led to a more subtle and refined version of Lia’s. If you have enjoyed this for its lush, forward nature we don’t think you will be disappointed at all. This still has beautiful fruit, loads of texture and very fine tannins. Those elements just are better assembled and this wine has the pedigree that this older vineyard and beautiful history suggest that it should.

AppellationChehalem Mountains
VineyardLia's
Alcohol14.10%
Volume750 ml
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