After three consecutive warm vintages in the Willamette Valley, the 2017 vintage was a welcomed return to normal. The fundamental characteristics of the Willamette Valley's climate is cool and moderate; ripening each cluster just as fall approaches. Cool-climate wine regions allow for complexities in flavor and tannin development while retaining the backbone of the wine's acidity.
The season started with a cool and wet March, April and May, which pushed bloom back to late June, setting the stage for a later harvest. Warm and dry conditions prevailed through the summer months creating the ideal situation for steady vine growth and fruit ripening. The vines set a higher than average crop. These crop levels were managed to bring the best out of the fruit.
As with all classic Oregon vintages, the weather conditions we see in September and October play a role in the quality of the vintage. September heat waves can shrivel fruit, which forces an early harvest and brings the wines out of balance. 2017 did not disappoint. Two early September rain events refreshed the soils, giving the vines a boost to extend the growing season and build complexity. The first fruit harvested was in the third week of September. Calm and cool weather allowed for an easy pace of harvest through October. Pure, delicate and vibrant wines with intriguing structure were the result.
All grapes were hand-harvested and hand-sorted to ensure the highest quality fruit. The fruit underwent a two-day soak prior to fermentation for a total of twenty days of skin contact. 100% malolactic fermentation occurred over a five month period. The wine was aged for ten months in French oak barrels from Francois Freres, Cadus, and Sylvain & Rousseau. No finning agents were used.