2018 DV "Les Petits Fers"
2018 Division-Villages “Les Petits Fers” Gamay Noir
Glaser Vineyard - Umpua AVA (40%), Methven Family Vineyard - Eola Amity Hills AVA (30%), Rebecca’s Vineyard - Umpqua AVA (15%), Bjornson Vineyard - Eola Amity Hills AVA (5%) Oregon AVA
The Gamay Noir grape, which hails from the Beaujolais region and also flourishes in the Loire Valley, has witnessed a rapid popularization in growth in the U.S. over recent years. A fact that that makes us very happy as Gamay is now our 2nd largest made wine after Pinot Noir! The 2018 vintage turned out to be a truly stellar year for making wines. After a long dry and hot stretch in July and early August, the heat broke at just the right time when veraison was occurring and the temps were mild during the day and cool at nights, with just the right amount of rain to keep things hydrated, all the way til harvest from mid-September to early October.
For the first time, the majority of our “Les Petits Fers” Gamay comes from our two Umpqua AVA vineyards, Rebecca’s Vineyard and Glaser Vineyard. These sites feature volcanic clay that borders on cold for growing grapes in some years, but the old own rooted vines at Rebecca’s have proven to grow excellent and unique Gamay that we have come to really appreciate. The balance of this cuvee comes from the Eola Amity Hills, a part of the Willamette Valley, on a mix of soils that are mostly volcanic clay with some marine sedimentary overlay on Methven. All of these AVAs share some commonalities that make them excellent for growing Gamay, including coastal proximity, specifically, the Van Duzer corridor in the Willamette Valley, which pulls in cool coastal air at night time to help drop the temperature to better retain acidity, as well as great exposure to the warmth in the afternoons for ripening.
We fell hard for the carbonic maceration fermentation technique while learning about and making wine in the Beaujolais region. Carbonic Maceration involves fermenting the wines fully on the stems in a closed vessel that is initially inundated with co2 that macerates the grape skins by mostly using the co2 to enzymatically extract color, phenolics, and flavors.
We utilize this traditional Beaujolais technique for much of the “Les Petits Fers” Gamay Noir, including fully carbonic ferments of one of the Methven blocks and the Glazer Vineyard grapes and partial or semicarbonic fermentations for Rebecca’s, the Bjornson Gamay and the other Methven block. These techniques allowed us to create a balance between the fruity carbonic wine with nuanced and vibrant semi-carbonic more traditional wine. Each of the ferments were average in length this year and lasted about 15 - 25 days on the skins, with the wines being pressed off in between mid to late October for ageing in our two 475 gallon cement vessels, two puncheons (500L) and one stainless tank.
Our 2018 “Les Petits Fers” is 100% Gamay in spirit, leading with aromas of strawberry, fine white pepper, and dusty, chalky mineral notes. The palate is medium-bodied and fruity with juicy strawberries, thyme, and a peppery note distinct to Gamay. We find the carbonic character prominent this vintage, giving the wine freeze-dried berry hints reminiscent of Capt. Crunch Berry cereal. The wine has an elegant mouthfeel, less funk than in past vintages, and is incredibly well-balanced overall.
Alc 13%, 550 cases produced