2016 DV "Methode Carbonique"
2016 Division-Villages “Méthode Carbonique” Pinot Noir
Methven Family Vineyards - Eola Amity Hills AVA (60%) & Johan Vineyards –Willamette Valley (40%)
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, a varietal that seems to show its best on the fringes of suitable grape farming areaa. Methven Family Vineyards is set in eastern flanks of the northern Eola-Amity Hills AVA and has provided significant portions of the “Méthode Carbonique” Pinot since we first made it in 2012. 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 in the coastal hills and just outside of the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, is the Biodynamic certified Johan Vineyard. Johan 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 vineyard features marine sedimentary, Helvetia series and silty loam soils that formed in glaciolacustrine deposits over silt and clay alluvium.
We fell hard for the carbonic maceration fermentation technique while learning about and making wine in the Beaujolais region of France, and began experimenting with the technique with Pinot Noir during our first few vintages in the States. Carbonic Maceration involves fermenting the wines fully on the stems in a closed vessel that is initially inundated with carbon dioxide, macerating the grape skins by mostly using the co2 to enzymatically extract color, phenolics and flavors, versus the traditional red fermentation practices involving pulverization and recirculation. We seek a fresh style of Pinot Noir with vibrancy and fruitiness for this wine, and hence harvest our Pinot Noir grapes for this bottling earlier than our other traditional fermentations. For warm 2016 the season, we were still well ahead of the “normal” growing schedule and ended up picking on September 6th (Methven) and September 19th (Johan). For both carbonic fermentations, we created a pied de cuve (early native ferment) with a small amount of grapes to build a strong yeast population from the native flora from each vineyard, and these were added to the ferments after a few days of carbon dioxide enrichment. As is usual with our carbonic fermentation we fermented the Methven fruit in concrete, and in stainless steel for Johan. Ultimately each of the ferments lasted about between 20-30 days on the skins. The wines were aged for 5 months in a combina- tion of large format puncheon (500L) French oak barrels and one stainless tank.
We have never really considered our “Méthode Carbonique” Pinot Noir to be overly complex wine, ra- ther more of a fun and “glou glou” in style. The 2016 vintage has changed our thoughts and that, and while the wine is classically carbonic in nature, there is much more going on than we have been able to produce in the past. The wine is aromatically dense with concentrated strawberries, well harmonized against cloves, anise and fresh quince. The palate is perfectly balanced, and singing with strawberry compote and a hint of smokiness. All in all perfect summer red, with plenty of intrigue for discussion, or simply as a lovely accompaniment for just about anything.
Alc 13.0%, 265 cases produced