2015 Clay Court
Garnet in color, the nose leaps from the glass with intense red cherry and crushed strawberries shaded by fresh leather, burnt toffee and violet notes. The palate is both juicy and savory with fresh cherry pie, black currants and baking spices accompanied by layers of coffee and red earth.
VINTAGE 2015 brought ideal conditions, leading to generous yields and exceptionally concentrated fruit. An early spring and clear weather led to a solid bloom that was three weeks early. Thinning is such an important tool for us to influence the course of ripening, and due to large initial cropsets, one we fully utilized in 2015. We thinned in early summer at our higher elevation sites, but waited until veraison to thin our lower elevation sites to slow down ripening and add “hang-time,” an important factor in the development of complex flavors in Pinot Noir.
Harvest 2015 was the earliest on record for the Northern Willamette Valley and we were a little stunned when our first fruit hit the crushpad on September 8th. Autumn brought relief from the heat with mild evenings and cool rainless nights that allowed for slow, even ripening. We harvested fruit that was absolutely pristine and perfectly ripe, at a gradual pace that allowed us to give our full attention to each block.
We are hopeful that 2015 is equally as good as the spectacular 2012 and 2014 vintages, and early signs indicate just that, with the wines showing moderate alcohols, balanced acids and great concentration.
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 40% new French oak. Our winemaking team then carefully blends the barrels most representative of the spicy flavors and concentrated red cherry fruit that characterizes this vineyard.
- Vine Age 14
- Harvest Sugars 24 brix
- pH 3.41
- Vatting Fermentation in small open top steel fermenters. 10 months in French oak.
- Cases Produced 554
“Cherry and floral cinnamon aromas persist through the focused and crisply structured flavors that glide easily toward refined tannins.”
– Wine Spectator (October 15, 2017)
“…a pretty fragrance of lavender, rose petals and black tea over a core of pomegranate and raspberry preserves, plus a hint of underbrush. Medium-bodied, fine, fresh and elegant in style, the intense red fruits are complemented by gentle earthiness…”
– Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (August 31, 2017)
“Pommard and Dijon clones planted in 2001 fuel this tasty wine. Its dusty plum and black cherry fruit carries a touch of dark chocolate, all framed by firm yet polished tannins. Built to age, it can be enjoyed now with a good decanting.”-P.G.
– Wine Enthusiast Magazine (October, 2017)