2014 Division Pinot Noir 'Quatre'
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 Bjornson Vineyard is a relatively young vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills, with planting beginning in 2006, 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!
As this was our first time working with the Bjornson Vineyard, we weren’t completely sure what clones would be the highest performers, so we went with a favorite combo of the elegant and red fruit oriented Dijon 777 anchored with the earthy and rustic Pommard clones. The co-fermented lot 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. A small portion of whole cluster, less than 25%, was layered in the ferment to help add more savory aspects as younger vineyards tend to show lots of fruit. Our harvested grapes were beautiful and picked at what we believe was a perfect moment at 23 brix and 3.29 pH with nice ripe phenolic flavors and softening skins.
We did not intend to make a single vineyard expression of the Bjornson fruit the first year, but the results of the Pinot Noir from this site, like many in 2014 that we produced, were both unique and nothing short of stunning. This very small “Quatre” cuvee, our 4th of 6 from the 2014 vintage, was blended aged in French Oak, one new barrels and one neutral for 10 months, without any racking. We are really impressed with Bjornson Pinot from our first effort and expect this wine to promisingly age for some time to come. The wine is vibrant, dense and savory with earth floor and a deep baking spice component. The fruit lends itself to the red spectrum and the palate is already demonstrating near perfect textural weight and well resolved tannins.