2018 Division "Cremant de Portland"
Columbia Valley AVA
We have always loved sparkling wine and this is our third time making this wine since 2013, which we only make in the vintages where the grape maturity is ideal for sparkling wines. We named this wine "Crémant de Portland" because the word “Crémant “ refers to French sparkling wines made with the méthode traditionnelle process, but are not in Champagne. We thought it was fitting as this wine was made in the Champagne method, but in Portland!
The 2018 vintage turned out to be a truly stellar year for making wines. After a dry and hot stretch in late July and early August, the heat broke at just the right time when veraison was occurring and the temps were mild to cool during the day and cool to cold at nights, with just the right amount of rain to keep things hydrated, all the way til harvest in mid to late September.
The Yakima Valley is no stranger to warmth and fortunately for us, our old vine Chenin Blanc vines at Willard Farms have over 45 years of root development at the highest elevation portions of the region to help insulate the vines from year to year climate variation. The nearby Gamay is younger vines but holds acidity very well and is perfect for rosé and sparkling wine. The vines are planted on soils formed from volcanic miocene uplift against basalt bedrock with the primary top soil being made up of quartz and lime silica, overlaid with the mixed sedimentary runoff of Missoula floods that is typical of the area.
Most of the base wine for this year’s Crémant de Portland is Chenin Blanc that was picked a bit earlier than for our still wine. The Gamay in one pick, which was used for this wine and for our Rosé of Gamay Noir. We co-fermented the Chenin Blanc and Gamay rosé in stainless tank before undertaking the secondary fermentation in bottle. The wine was left on the lees in tirage for 13 months before disgorging in the winter of 2020. The 2018 "Crémant de Portland" is our best effort yet and defines the richness and bright acidity Chenin Blanc is so well known for. The distinct Chenin honeyed notes are there, along with a saline quality many of our wines seem to take on. Perfect for an evening celebrating or just for lovers of bubbles!