2016 Five Mountain Pinot Noir – 92 points in Wine Enthusiast

Our 2016 Five Mountain Pinot Noir received an excellent 92 points in Wine Enthusiast:

“There’s lovely styling evident in this young wine, which seems delicately sculpted and boasts mouth-filling flavors. Plum, blueberry and brown spices are in the mix, with polished tannins that ensure a smooth glide through the lingering finish.” –Paul Gregutt 

This review posted in the December 2018 issue of Wine Enthusiast Magazine and at winemag.com. According to Senior Tasting Director Joe Czerwinski, Wine Enthusiast blind tastes wines for review and rates their wines according to a 100 point scale:

Classic 98-100: The pinnacle of quality.
Superb 94-97: A great achievement.
Excellent 90-93: Highly recommended.
Very Good 87-89: Often good value; well recommended.
Good 83-86: Suitable for everyday consumption; often good value.
Acceptable 80-82: Can be employed in casual, less-critical circumstances.
Wines receiving a rating below 80 are not reviewed.

2016 Mount Richmond Pinot Noir – 93 points in Wine Enthusiast

Our 2016 Mount Richmond Pinot Noir received an excellent 93 point rating from Wine Enthusiast:

“Supple purple fruits show perfect ripeness while rounding off in a lovely and satisfying mid-palate. Barrel aging contributes a streak of espresso. Accents of black olive and clean earth are carefully moderated by smooth polished tannins.” –Paul Gregutt

This review posted in the December 2018 issue of Wine Enthusiast Magazine and at winemag.com. According to Senior Tasting Director Joe Czerwinski, Wine Enthusiast blind tastes wines for review and rates their wines according to a 100 point scale:

Classic 98-100: The pinnacle of quality.
Superb 94-97: A great achievement.
Excellent 90-93: Highly recommended.
Very Good 87-89: Often good value; well recommended.
Good 83-86: Suitable for everyday consumption; often good value.
Acceptable 80-82: Can be employed in casual, less-critical circumstances.
Wines receiving a rating below 80 are not reviewed.

2016 Clay Court Pinot Noir – 93 points from Wine Enthusiast

Our 2016 Clay Court Pinot Noir received an excellent 93 point rating from Wine Enthusiast:

“Made from Pommard and Dijon clones of Pinot Noir, this is a snappy, lip-smacking wine, loaded with tangy raspberry and blueberry flavors. Highlights of cola, tea and subtle streaks of savory notes contribute to the overall length and complexity.” –Paul Gregutt

This review posted in the December 2018 issue of Wine Enthusiast Magazine and at winemag.com. According to Senior Tasting Director Joe Czerwinski, Wine Enthusiast blind tastes wines for review and rates their wines according to a 100 point scale:

Classic 98-100: The pinnacle of quality.
Superb 94-97: A great achievement.
Excellent 90-93: Highly recommended.
Very Good 87-89: Often good value; well recommended.
Good 83-86: Suitable for everyday consumption; often good value.
Acceptable 80-82: Can be employed in casual, less-critical circumstances.
Wines receiving a rating below 80 are not reviewed.

Sweet September

Happy Sweet September!

As harvest begins, we are celebrating the changing of the seasons with a glass of sweet wine. In our cool climate, that means the “world’s most noble grape” otherwise known as Riesling!

We hear a lot of opinions sweet wines, the stereotype is that they’re most popular among people new to wine, but we know better: Riesling is for everyone! And it’s especially popular among wine-professionals. The key is in the balance. No one wants a wine to be cloyingly sweet. Crafting a Riesling is an art that begins in the vineyard with carefully monitoring the sweetness, acidity and pH of the grapes as they ripen. We harvest on exactly the right day for the style of wine we are creating, and Adam and Heather take it from there with gentle winemaking and a slow, cool fermentation.

Another key to enjoying Riesling? Knowing how sweet a wine is before you open the bottle. It’s disappointing to think you have a sweet wine to accompany a spicy meal only to find it dry. It’s equally sad to open a bottle you’re hoping to pair with a goat cheese salad only to find the sweetness overwhelms the dish. That’s why we’ve joined with winemakers worldwide and have adopted the International Riesling Foundation Scale. It’s a system for predicting the average perceived sweetness of a wine based not only on sugar content, which is notoriously misleading, but that also takes into account the acidity and pH of the wine. So next time you’re shopping for a Riesling, check out the back of the bottle and look for the IRF scale.

Here is how our wines stack up on the IRF scale:

 

For a limited time, we have a special on our “Sweet Three” wines check it out here. And below you’ll find more about Riesling:

MEET THE WORLD’S MOST NOBLE GRAPE

Dry, medium dry, medium sweet or sweet? Riesling comes in such a wide range of styles, it helps to have a guide!

The IRF Riesling Taste Profile

The International Riesling Foundation developed the Riesling Taste Profile, an easy-to-read indicator of where a wine fits on the dry-to-sweet scale.

Based on IRF guidelines for the interplay of sugar, acid and pH, winemakers calculate where to place the arrow on the profile for use on the back label to help consumers choose the Riesling that best matches their taste.

Why Do We Love Riesling?

Originating in Germany hundreds of years ago, Riesling today is grown in regions around the globe and is one of the world’s fastest growing varieties. It’s easy to see why. A favorite of chefs, sommeliers and wine professionals everywhere, it is aromatic, food-friendly and filled with personality. In all the world, no other wine so deftly reflects its soil and region.

Here are just a few reasons to love Riesling:

Versatile — Riesling comes in a mouthwatering array of flavor profiles. From dry to medium dry to medium sweet to sweet, Riesling offers a pleasing taste for every palate.

Food friendly — Riesling is the ultimate food-pairing wine, with options for every cuisine. Dry Rieslings are well suited to shellfish and classic preparations of fish, pork and poultry as well as cream sauces. Medium dry Rieslings are terrific with spicy Asian/fusion cuisine, smoked fish and salty cheeses. Medium sweet Rieslings pair beautifully with rich, spicy Indian dishes or dishes featuring fresh fruits. Sweet Rieslings are wonderful with salty blue cheeses, fruit desserts and foie gras.

Evocative — More than any other grape, Riesling takes on the character of the soil and climate where it is grown. Some will say it does so almost down to individual vines!

Easy sipping — Medium dry and medium sweet Rieslings have lower alcohol levels than other wines. When combined with well-balanced acidity, that makes them perfect for sipping in hot weather and for serving at parties in all seasons.

Fine aging — Many fine Rieslings will cellar beautifully and for much longer than other wines. They only grow more concentrated and complex with age.

Whether you are new to Riesling or already an affirmed fan of the noble grape, we encourage you to explore different Rieslings in different flavor profiles from a variety of regions around the globe. You will find options to keep you happily exploring for a lifetime!

Source: The International Riesling Foundation, http://drinkriesling.com

 

 

Staff Profile: Travis Watson, Vineyard Manager

New employees Taylor and Dane (NOT Taylor Dane) recently interviewed Travis at the top of Mount Richmond Vineyard. Here’s a transcript:

How long have you been at Elk Cove?

It will be 16 years in June.It’s been fun. We’ve done a lot of development in that time. When I started we had 90 acres on 3 properties. Now we’re up to 7 vineyard sites with 360 acres planted.

How much has your team grown?

Back in 2002 we might have had 10 year round on the vineyard crew, now we have close to 40 employees in the fields.

And what’s changed in the vineyards here?

We’ve tried to bring in efficiencies in all of our practices. One point – we use auto GPS in our tractors to lay out our vineyards. Probably 99% of Vineyards in Oregon they lay cables to grid out their vineyards, we use a tractor that drives itself. That certainly wasn’t done in the past.

Tell us about Mount Richmond.

Our ideal site is an inverted bowl on one of these hilltops for various reasons: air drainage, water drainage, everything about it is that much better, even if it rolls a little bit to the north or two the west everything is better. But it’s all site specific, everything is site-specific.

Can you tell us a little bit about the soil?

It’s sedimentary marine, very little top soil. In fact in some places there’s no top soil. It’s fantastic for Pinot Noir. Adam can tell you more about what it does for the wines.

How’d you get your start?

I started as a cellar intern for Ponzi Vineyards and apparently was good enough to stick around to run the cellar for the next two years! Then I transitioned to the vineyard around 98/99 I started running their vineyards and slowly phasing out in the cellar. Ponzi went from 40 acres planted to about 110. In 2002 I guess I decided I wanted a break and left Ponzi and Adam called immediately and sucked me in! I had known Adam a couple of years and I liked the program at Elk Cove and what he was doing over here, so here I am.

Did you have a background in viticulture?

No. You know I didn’t. My dad was in construction and I remember the night Luisa (Ponzi) called me, I was having an argument with my dad over something and I had no real interest in wine. I didn’t have any interest in wine, quite frankly. I was 18 years old. But I was mad at my dad so I said heck yeah I’ll work harvest. Sounds like a great thing – I knew they had Bridgeport Brewing, I wasn’t old enough to drink but I thought “Pizza and beer at some point!” It turned out well, I took a bunch of night classes at Chemeketa and headed down to New Zealand in 1999 and helped Larry McKenna, helped Matt Dicey set up his first winery. It’s been a pretty good ride so far.

That’s a pretty great story. So you’re from Oregon?

I was born and raised in Hillsboro. I have a family member who has a farm in Southern Oregon and I would go down and spend a few weeks with him every summer. So I liked the idea of getting into ag, I just didn’t really have an avenue to do that so I seized the moment I guess.

What about sustainability?

You know, Pat and Adam were really farming things sustainably when I started. Windhill was farmed 100% organically, and we still use Organic Materials Research Institute materials. We use a lot of cover crops to build nutrients and organic material. This crimson clover you see growing will build about 60 pounds of nitrogen per acre. If we incorporate that into the soil it will free up not only nitrogen but also carbon, the building blocks of life. So that’s what we use to feed our plants. We might use a small amount of synthetic if we really have to, but that only happens every 7 years or so.

So what’s happening in the vineyard today?

We have two crews in the vineyard today. What they’re doing now is tipping and tying, making sure we have enough buds to wrap on the fruiting wire. When they do the primary cuts they leave 2 or 3 canes on the plants and then they go through at another pass to tip and tie each vine.

Tell us about your own vineyard:

At Bishop Scott Ranch we’ve got 6 acres of Pinot Noir and another 6 acres of Pinot Gris. So the plan is maybe our kids one day will want to take it over. My son starts at OSU next fall and his goal is to get into an enology program. My daughter is 13 and for her science project last year she made some pinot gris. She got a great grade on it (laughs). The teachers wanted to bring in the finished product but the superintendent said no for some reason. So my son thinks he wants to be a viticulturist and my daughter wants to be a winemaker. But if they don’t choose to go that route, I’m going to retire early in Mexico.

91 Points In Vinous

Our 2015 Goodrich Chardonnay was awarded 91 points by Josh Raynolds of Vinous:

“Pale gold. Subtly oak-tinged tangerine, pear and honeydew aromas are complemented by gentle floral and ginger nuances. Smooth and focused in the mouth, offering juicy citrus and orchard fruit flavors that put on weight and pick up a spicy quality with air. Gently sweet and seamless in texture, showing bright closing cut and very good persistence.”

These reviews are available to subscribers of Vinous.com

Excellent Rating in Great Northwest Wine

Our 2014 Goodrich Chardonnay was given an “Excellent” rating by Great Northwest Wine:

“It’s about time. One of the Pacific Northwest’s top producers of Pinot Gris and Riesling has joined the Chardonnay renaissance in Oregon. Adam Campbell and his family’s 2014 investment in Goodrich Vineyard near Yamhill pays dividends here with Elk Cove Vineyards’ first Chardonnay since 1998. The care taken during the winemaking includes a barrel program over 12 months with some lees stirring beyond malolactic fermentation. After that, came six months in stainless steel. That combination creates for beautiful aromatics of rosewater, Asian pear and green banana. On the palate, the integration of the oak leads to flavors of Golden Delicious apple and baked pineapple, backed by pear skin and dried apricot.”

View the whole review at greatnorthwestwine.com