2015 Division Pinot Noir 'Un'
2015 Division Pinot Noir "Un"
Willamette Valley AVA
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. The 2015 growing year proved to be the driest and hottest on record in the Pacific Northwest - a benchmark we can’t help but attribute to our changing global climate. Thankfully, the hottest year ever in Oregon is still well within the boundaries of growing world class Pinot Noir, it just meant we needed to rethink some of our farming and winemaking practices to adjust for the climate.
As in years past, we approach the Division Pinot Noir “Un” cuvee, our only pinot noir featuring multiple pinot noir sites, as our opportunity to make a vintage character wine in our lighter finesse driven style that is a comprehensive look at all of our very fine Willamette Valley vineyards. In other words, it’s our chance to make our favorite blend from our nearly 50 Pinot Noir barrels. We were pleased and fortunate to retain mostly the same roster of vineyards in 2015 with only a few very positive changes. We welcomed back Eola-Springs Vineyard after a two year hiatus while the former owners managed the sale of their vineyard and we added Bethany Heights, a 30 year old own rooted site in the Eola-Amity Hills. Unfortunately, we lost Stangeland Pinot Noir after years of Phylloxera finally destroyed the roots ability to survive. We are very happy that six of our eight Pinot Noir vineyards are either LIVE (Low Input Viticulture Enology) certified, Organic certified, or Biodynamic certified grapes and our other two old vine sites are working to transition their sites to all sustainable and organic practices. We remain committed to sites that are farmed with sustainable practices in the vineyards and our philosophy of minimal intervention in the winery.
All lots were fermented either spontaneously or via a pied de cuve (native yeast) build up. We utilized varying fermentation techniques, including a significant portions of whole cluster in the Johan & Armstrong ferments and one all whole cluster carbonic fermentation with some of the Methven fruit to diversify the wine types and create some ferments with more earthy and herbal styles to moderate the intense fruitiness from the hot vintage. Our job in the cellar, as usual, was to resist the temptations to do too much and really let our great and varied terrior do the work.
We aged the wine in all French Oak barrels and puncheons, with approximately 15% in new 228L Burgundy barrels, for 10 months, without any racking and with only two sulfite additions, one addition post malolactic fermentation and another very small addition before bottling. For the 2015 Division Pinot Noir “Un,” we are most impressed by the finesse and textural precision of the wine given the heat and potential for there to be flabby and overly rich flavors. The 2015 wine has vibrant freshness, intense minerality and dense fruit that lends itself to strawberry and raspberry tones that we seem to see in our Pinot Noir wines most years. The palate further assembles this year’s Pinot Un with savory mushroom, fresh thyme and an earthy complex that we attribute to the use of whole cluster fermentation. We expect the wine to keep integrating and shedding glycerin (baby fat) weight as it matures over the next few years, but are really happy drinking it right now, so no need to wait to enjoy!
Alc 13.4%, pH 3.61, 750 cases produced