2019 Division-Villages "Les Petits Fers"
The Gamay Noir grape, which hails from the Beaujolais region and also flourishes in the Loire Valley of France, 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 such a large part of our production (second only to Pinot noir!). The 2019 vintage was very reminiscent of the classic vintages of northern Europe. After a relatively cool and humid summer by Oregon standards, some nice dry weather came in time for veraison and temps were mild to cool during the day and cool to cold at nights, which extended the growing season well into October and even for us cool climate lovers, pressed against the boundaries of optimal picking.
The Eola-Amity Hills AVA in the Willamette Valley has anchored most of our Gamay vines since we made our first wine in 2011. The region features a mix of soils that are mostly volcanic clay with some marine sedimentary overlay (the Methven site). The vineyards on the top and western slopes of the Eola-Amity Hills and the component from Rebecca’s Vineyard in the Umpqua AVA share some commonalities that make them excellent for growing Gamay, including the effect of coastal weather - with vineyard facing mountain corridors that pull in cool coastal air in the evenings - dropping the warm daytime ripening temperatures and helping the vines retain acidity.
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 two of the Methven ferments, as well as semi-carbonic fermentations for Rebecca’s, the Bjornson, Redford Wetle and Jubilee blocks . 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 a bit longer in length this year and lasted about 18 - 26 days on the skins, with the wines being pressed off in between mid to late October for ageing in a 475 gallon cement vessel, a puncheon, a few old French oak barrels and one stainless tank.
Our 2019 “Les Petits Fers” is 100% Gamay in spirit, leading with aromas of fine white pepper, fresh herbs and dusty strawberry, plus chalky notes. The palate is lighter and finer than the preceding vintage mineral focused with cranberry, thyme and a peppery note distinct to Gamay. We find the carbonic character prominent this vintage, like last year, giving the wine freeze-dried berries topped with fresh herbs. The wine has an elegant mouthfeel, less funk than in past vintages, and is incredibly refreshing overall — pro tip… we are loving drinking it chilled!
550 cases produced
Methven Family Vineyard - Eola-Amity Hills AVA (50%), Rebecca’s Vineyard - Umpqua AVA (24%),
Bjornson Vineyard - Eola-Amity Hills AVA (18%), Jubilee Vineyard - Eola-Amity Hills AVA (4%),
Redford Wetle Vineyard - Eola Amity Hills AVA (4%)