“Medium ruby-purple, the 2021 Pinot Noir Clay Court has scents of wild berries, orange peel, charcuterie and forest floor with streaks of Christmas spice. The medium-bodied palate offers concentrated, layered fruit on a soft, juicy frame, and it has a long, spicy finish. It’s easy to drink now, but it will benefit from another 2-3 years in the bottle.”
– Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (May 2023)
A Clay Court performance worthy of Rafael Dadal. Dark strawberry and raspberry aromas are joined by the fresh smell of clean, lemony sheets hanging on the laundry line. Cranberry and raspberry flavors provide a nice sweet/tart combination to go along with the saline and crunch of Marcona almonds.
– Wine Enthusiast (June, 2023)
“Expressive and vibrant, with pretty rose petal and raspberry aromas that open to multilayered orange peel and stony mineral accents. Builds structure toward refined tannins.”
– Wine Spectator Insider (April 26, 2023)
The outstanding 2021 ‘Clay Court’ Pinot Noir spent ten months in 20% new French oak prior to bottling and comes from this hillside site on Parrett Mountain. Sourced from Dijon clonal selections 115, 777 as well as Pommard clone Pinot Noir, this delivers a smooth mouthfeel on the approach with juicy guava, red currant, salmonberry and sous bois notes on the palate. Finishing long, this is a beautiful example of Oregon Pinot Noir from a warm vintage. Drink 2023-2037
– Owen Bargreen (December 2023)
“Deep ruby, the 2021 Pinot Noir Clay Court is layered with floral and spice notes as well as black raspberry liqueur, anise, mossy earth, and cracked pepper. Medium to full-bodied, with an elegant mouthfeel and a beautiful texture, it offers fine tannins and a silky, clean, rounded palate of fruit. Long on the palate and very well-balanced, it’s hard to resist now, but I imagine this will improve over the next 6-8 years.”
– Jeb Dunnuck (September, 2023)
VINTAGE 2021 was an outstanding year at Elk Cove. Cool weather during bloom and moderate temperatures during most of the growing season brought forth an ample harvest of intensely concentrated fruit.
The timing of weather events was key to our success in 2021. Rainfall during bloom raised expectations for a small, high-quality crop. Then a once-in-a millennium heat dome event brought worrying temperatures to the Pacific Northwest. This was thankfully during the most resilient stage of the growing season and our old vines survived without signs of serious stress or sunburn. Growth resumed normally once temperatures cooled with average heat from July through September bringing even ripening to the plentiful small, loose clusters. Our vines made it through the rain and the heat in fine condition with lots of variable-sized berries, known as hens and chicks.
Harvest 2021 was not only of high quality but also surprisingly bountiful. Low levels of dehydration combined with the numerous small clusters and several acres of young vines coming into maturity meant a record tonnage for Elk Cove. For red Pinot Noirs, expect intense color and flavors bursting out of the glass, while white wines and rosés are fruit-forward with great acidity and balance.
Clay Court sits atop a picturesque hillside in the Parrett Mountain zone of the Chehalem Mountains AVA. This 15 acre all-Pinot-Noir vineyard was planted in 2001 with the classic Pommard and modern Dijon 115 and 777 clones of Pinot Noir. Clay Court was purchased by Elk Cove in 2009 and is the home of founders Joe and Pat Campbell – and their beloved tennis court! With gentle east-facing slopes, dark red Jory clay soils, and a proven track-record for producing high-quality Pinot Noirs, Clay Court Vineyard was immediately a great addition to Elk Cove’s estate vineyards.
All of Elk Cove’s delicate Pinot Noir fruit undergoes the same gentle handling through our gravity flow system. This allows us to achieve the elegance, texture and luscious quality that are the hallmarks of exquisite Pinot Noir.
Clay Court Pinot Noir fruit is fermented in small, temperature controlled steel tanks, hand punched down twice daily then aged for ten months in French oak barrels. Our winemaking team then carefully blends the barrels most representative of the spicy flavors and concentrated red cherry fruit that characterizes this vineyard.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, our summers are marked by fantastic outdoor celebrations featuring our favorite regional foods and wines. To locals, this often means a glass of Pinot Noir alongside charred salmon, fresh salads and watermelon, a meal that perfectly expresses the bounty of an Oregon summer.
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