2016 Division Pinot Noir Rose
2016 Division Rosé of Pinot Noir
Methven Family Vineyard & Bethany Heights Vineyard
Willamette Valley AVA
This is the wine that started Division Winemaking Co. a mere 50 cases of the 2010 Rosé of Pinot Noir, which we have always made from the mineral intense Eola-Amity Hills in the Willamette and continue the tradition year after year. Methven Family Vineyards is set in Amity section of this AVA and has provided a significant portion of the Pinot rosé since 2011. The vines were planted in 2001 on soils formed from volcanic remnants, a clay and broken rock soil locally called Nekia, and marine sedimentary overlay against basalt bedrock. Not too far away on the western slop of the Eola Hills, is the old vines at Bethany Heights Vineyard. Bethany Heights is a bit cooler and wetter than the rest of the region due to the Van Duzer coastal gap corridor and its proximity to the coast, and the site features similar volcanic soils that more in the deeper Jory clay based series, most well known in the Dundee Hills.
We believe the best wines are made by picking before overly ripe characteristics dominate dominate the wine and balance and finesse suffer. Therefore, especially with rosé, which we seek more white wine -like vibrancy than red wine-like richness or intensity, we pick this site relatively early with more acid driven grapes and lighter red fruit. To achieve this profile, we crop and keep the canopy managed in a way to provide a lot of shading to slow sugar production, while keeping acidity high. Due to the early start of the season and the late heat wave, Methven was harvested early again on September 6th, while Bethany was picked a few days later on September 9th, with fruit quality that was very healthy, vibrant and perfectly ripe for making rosé. For both components, (Methven 60% / Bethany Heights 40%), the grapes were kept whole cluster grapes on the skins for several hours in the press before pressing. While making our first rosé in 2010, we didn’t have enough grapes to make a press load, so we foot stomped them (à la I Love Lucy) and now per our annual tradition, we kept one picking bin of Methven for a foot stomping party for the barrel ferment portion.
For the fermentation, we created a pied de cuve (early native ferment) with a small amount of the Methven grapes to build a strong yeast population from the native flora, which was added after settling into one stainless 1900L temperature controlled tank. The stainless tank began fermenting very quickly and we kept it on the cooling jacked at 17 C , with the ferment lasting until mid December. The French oak barrel portion fermented considerably slower in the cool barrel room and finished in mid-January. We allowed the tank to semi finish the malolactic fermentation, but wanted to retain some of the malic notes, so used the cooling jacket to halt the M/L about halfway through.
We are very pleased with the result from our 2016 Rosé Pinot Noir, which we feel to be our best since 2013 with nice return to acidity after the record warmth of the past few vintages. We are again reminded of the more Sancerre style Loire rosé wines with the distinct mineral and briny profile. The wine is quite floral, showing a honeysuckle and spiced nose with savory and wild strawberry aspects. The palate is crisp, with nice depth, a deeper strawberry notes with a honeyed character. The wine has a deep core, not typical of crisp and dry rose, and a handsome wild salmon pink hue. Out of the gates it is drinking very well, but is quite complex and will likely become more nuanced as it has some time to age in bottle.
Alc 13.1%, 135 cases