2018 DV "La Frontiere"
2018 Division-Villages “La Frontière” Sauvignon Blanc
Oregon AVA Redford-Wetle Vineyard (55%) Allegre Vineyard (45%)
The great state of Oregon, and specifically the Willamette Valley, has become one of the world’s most well known cool climate growing regions for Pinot Noir grapes. It is definitely not an area very well known for growing Sauvignon Blanc. Well, we’ve been working on that for a few years now and can make a solid case for the well known Loire varietal from both the Willamette Valley and the rapidly growing Columbia Gorge grape growing regions.
Myron Redford is as great a legend in Oregon’s wine industry as they come. Always experimenting, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, with grapes like Gamay Noir, Albarino and yes, Sauvignon Blanc. He and his partner Vikki Wetle planted a small 7.5 acre certified organic vineyard on Jory, Yamhill & Woodburn soils at their home property in the Eola-Amity Hills in 2006, which includes the Sauvignon Blanc that makes up a little more than half of our 2018 “La Frontière.”
The organically farmed Allegre Vineyard, our first in the Columbia Gorge, makes up the remaining portion of this cuvée. Jen Kroner and Pat Allegre are some of the Hood River area’s finest growers of not only grapes, but premium quality cherries and orchard fruit, all nestled between Mt Hood and Mt Adams, our biggest volcanoes in the region.
We are usually some of the first to make picking decisions each year as we seek to make wines that are lighter, more finessed, vibrant, but still with intensity and complexity. Sauvignon Blanc was a bit of a conundrum for us as it is notorious for demonstrating very green, tropical, and ammonia “cat pee” like aromatics when not completely ripe. Ultimately, this meant we’d need to harvest a bit riper than is typical for most of our other grape varieties we work with. We think the 2018 vintage of this wine is a huge step forward for us in dialing back the tropical characteristics, while keeping the overly green and herbaceous qualities that can make Sauvignon Blanc so shrill and grating at bay.
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 for both sites. The wines were fermented “sur lie” in one puncheon (500L), one new Russian oak barrel, five neutral white French oak Burgundy barrels and three stainless steel barrels. The ferments started quite quickly for all of the fermentations, and most completed within two to three months, however, two barrels didn’t fully complete their sugar fermentation, so there’s about 5 grams p/liter of residual sugar in this year’s wines.. With the very low pH (racy acids!), we need it!
Our third “La Frontière” demonstrates clear Sauvignon Blanc characteristics ranging from dew-kissed green grass to sugar snap peas, but thankfully on the prettier side of the possibilities for this challenging grape to pick correctly. The aromatics are led by nectarine, Provençal herbs, and botanicals. This wine is not lean and mean, but rather simultaneously racy and rich, ripe, succulent, with the kind of soaring acidity that allows a full spectrum of flavors to dance across the palate, which is medium bodied featuring mouth-coating nectarine and apricot notes that continue through with good depth and length.
Alc 13.5%, 285 cases produced