2014 Division Pinot Noir 'Cinq'
The Willamette Valley is typically one of the coolest and wettest major wine growing regions in the U.S, which clearly favors the delicate, but seemingly boundless potential of the Pinot Noir grape that seems to show its best on the fringes of suitable farming. While 2014 was not a cool and wet year, it was one of those extremely rare vintages where we experienced enough warmth throughout the season, as well as harvest time dry weather to bring in really amazing high quality grapes at the optimal moment! The Armstrong Vineyard is a relatively young vineyard in the youngest, but quickly becoming famous Willamette Valley AVA called the Ribbon Ridge. The began in 2007, but happens to be situated next some of Oregon’s most highly acclaimed & coveted vineyards. We were ecstatic to get a shot at making wines from these vines planted on soils formed from volcanic remnants, locally called Nekia soil, and marine sedimentary overlay against basalt bedrock. The site’s higher elevation and protected aspect facing mostly southeast is showing early potential of turning into another top vineyard like its more famous neighbors - for now that is!
We had worked with a nearby site in the Ribbon Ridge before and knew from that experience that wines ripen quickly there. Even though Doug Ackerman was doing a lot of great things to slow vigor and maturity there, we choose the Pommard clone, as it ripens a bit slower and tends not to be as fruity, and the Dijon 667 clone as we really enjoyed the wines made by Vincent Wine Company from the Armstrong Vineyard made with 667. The lots were picked and fermented separately, the 667 first, and was fermented by utilizing a pied de cuve build up from the native flora on the site picked a week for before harvesting the blocks. Almost all of the grapes were destemmed in this lot to preserve acidity as pH management in the warmer areas is key, Our harvested grapes were beautiful, tasty and picked at an earlier time than some of sites, but perfect for our style of higher acidity and more freshness in the wines.
We did not intend to make a single vineyard expression of the Armstrong fruit the first year, but the re- sults of the Pinot Noir from this site, like many in 2014 that we produced, were both unique and nothing short of stunning. This “Cinq” cuvee, our 5th of 6 from the 2014 vintage, was blended aged in all French Oak, one new barrels and two neutral for 10 months, without any racking. We were really excited how different this wine was from our mostly Eola-Amity Hills wines and how well it expressed the Ribbon Ridge, but without some of the fruity bomb and weighty chatacteristcs we often taste from that AVA. The fruit lends itself to the red spectrum, especially raspberry and the palate is a bit of grip from modest tan- nins, but has incredible balance and early expression.