2018 Division Pinot Noir "Cent"
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 variety that seems to show its best on the fringes of a suitable grape farming area. 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.
This exceptional vintage converged just perfectly with our first year leasing most of the young Cassin Vineyard (in organic transition) located in the far western reaches of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA in the Coast Range foothills. Tom had worked with the owner/founder of the vineyard in his mid-20s and we reconnected with the incredibly kind and committed growers, Joe and Julie Cassin, in 2016 to produce a wine for charity. We had never worked with vines in the Yamhill-Carlton and had typically found the wines from this appellation to be too muscular for our approach. However, the Cassin Vineyard is quite unique for this appellation and features less common soil series called Yamhill-Jory, unlike most of the region’s sedimentary Willakenzie soils. These iron-rich clay soils and the vineyard’s higher elevation (650+ feet) and proximity to the cooler coastal range, actually makes this our coldest Pinot Noir site and the last for us to harvest.
We fermented several lots from the Cassin Vineyard with many different styles so that we could learn about what works well from the vineyard. Our most unique and lowest intervention fermentation was led by our Asst. Winemaker Drew Herman, who had worked with limiting oxygen and contact with the must by simply siphoning small amounts of juice out daily and then wetting the cap with a garden pale. There was no sulfur or any other adjunct added to this fermentation at anytime during the fermentation or during the ageing in a two year old French oak barrel.
We’ve experimented every year with no sulfite wines, but have never commercially released one due to concerns that the wine could spoil during transport to another city or while sitting in a warmer than ideal restaurant or retail wine shop. We use very little added sulfur to begin with, but have always felt a small amount stabilized the wines from oxidation and microbial troubles, without sterilizing the wine. However, this wine kept demonstrating an unusual capacity to gain in complexity and grace and we decided this was the time to release our first non-added sulfites wine.
We typically name our Pinot Noir wines with numbers written in French, “Un,” “Deux,” etc., and wanted to continue the tradition here, but felt that just continuing down the line didn’t quite feel right for this wine. No sulfur and non-manipulated wines are often called “00” wines in the natural wine community and as there already is a winery called “00” in Oregon, we thought we would be a bit tongue-in-cheek and name the wine “Cent” or “100,” as it’s 100% percent free of any adds.
The aromatics are dense, savory, while full and airy at the same time. A deep spicy earthy undertone featuring strawberry, cherry and an almost will blackberry leads the fruit notes. The palate is medium bodied, with a serious amount of mid-palate mineral/iron like core and ethereal length for Pinot from young vines. Drink up now or wait some time - we’re not entirely sure how long a no-sulfite wine will last, but it’s sure got the bones to go the distance!
25 cases produced