2017 Division Pinot Noir "Un"
2017 Division Pinot Noir "Un"
Willamette Valley AVA
2017 did not disappoint when it came to Pacific Northwest weather drama! It is certainly clear that our region, and the world around us, is changing due to manmade global climate change, which will invariably effect the way we farm and even what we farm in the Willamette Valley for decades to come. As with the hot years, the cold years, the dry years and the rainy years, it feels as if we’ve seen it all around here now...well most of it anyways. After an easy 2016 growing season and vintage that pretty much rode the right along the region’s historical averages, in 2017 we returned to the more variable season wine growers in Oregon are most accustomed to.
Cold streaks, rainstorms, drought, heat waves, and wild fires, oh my! While keeping us on our toes at times, especially the wild fires, we persevered right on into late September for what turned out to be a truly graceful, yet powerful vintage for Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley.
As in years past, we approach the Division Pinot Noir “Un” cuvee, our only Division Pinot noir featuring multiple vineyard sites, as our opportunity to make a vintage character wine in our lighter, finesse driven style. It is comprehensive look at all of our very fine Eola Amity Hills dominated Willamette Valley wine, and in other words, our chance to make our favorite blend from our nearly 60 Pinot Noir barrels and puncheons. Our vineyard roster in 2017 has been mostly stable for two years now, easily the best we’ve ever had, and the wines - especially our flagship Pinot Noir “Un” - cuvee are reflective of these relationships. We continue to be very proud that all of our Pinot Noir vineyards are sustainably farmed, and now all but one included in the “Un” cuvee is LIVE Certified, organically and/or Biodynamically farmed. Our oldest vines and first site, the Eola Springs vineyard continues its multiyear transition to Biodynamic and organic principled farming while still being treated conventionally for Phylloxera (there’s no organic treatment) in the old vines and while we look forward to the day when we can say that all of our grapes are at the very least organically farmed, we will love and tend to those old vines as long as they’re productive.
All lots were fermented either spontaneously or via a pied de cuve (vineyard native yeast cultivation) build up. We utilized varying techniques, including a significant portions of whole cluster in some of the Bjornson, Eola-Springs and Armstrong ferments and an all whole cluster semi-carbonic fermentation with one of the Johan ferments - aiming to diversify the wine types and provide more spice, nuance and nerve in the wine. The flavors and grape quality from 2017 were superior and reminded us of our French harvest where the sugars were low, the acids high and the ripeness on point and perfect. Our significant experience working with minimal manipulation techniques, including gentle foot pigeage for many of the ferments in the cellar truly, shines through in this wine.
We aged the wine in mostly French oak and a small amount of Austrian Oak, approximately 15% in new barrels and puncheons, for 10 months without any racking before bottling. We made only two very small sulfite additions during the Spring and again just before bottling. We used the terms “power” and “grace” to describe this wine as it’s truly that. The aromatics are electric and airy at the same time, with deep spicy earthy tones and strawberry and an almost iron notes. The palate is full, but not heavy, with a serious amount of ethereal length for a base level Pinot. It’s dominated by wild and brambly strawberry flavors and dark mineral layers. Drink up now or wait a few months, years, etc., but don’t miss this one!
Alc 13.7%, pH 3.65, 825 cases produced