“Medium ruby-purple, the 2021 Pinot Noir Five Mountain has deep aromas of cranberries, red cherries, black tea leaves, charcuterie and bitters. The medium-bodied palate explodes with concentrated, perfumed fruits. All that generosity is supported by silky tannins and bright, mouthwatering acidity that calls you in for another sip on the long, layered, spicy finish. What a lovely expression this vintage!”
– Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (May 2023)
“Blackberries, fresh-cut grass and orange peel aromas are joined by a full-on earthy, rocky post-rain petrichor/geosmin experience. Rain and fruit—talk about quintessentially Oregon. The wine’s fuller-bodied flavors include black cherries, basil and grilled beets. Crisp texture, with tangy acidity and firm tannins. Editors’ Choice.”
– Wine Enthusiast (June, 2023)
“Taking on more primary ripe floral and fruity aromas, with notes of red and blue fruit shining though, the 2021 Pinot Noir Five Mountain pours a deep ruby and offers generous enveloping aromas of candied purple flowers, blackberry, and an accent of toasted spice. Mouth-filling with fruit, this full-bodied red is generous with supple, sweet tannins and a rounded mouthfeel that’s juicy all the way through the finish. It’s going to benefit from another year or two in bottle so it can shed some of its baby fat to reveal more of its spiced notes. Drink 2025-2035.”
– Jeb Dunnuck (September, 2023)
“Precise, taut, lifted, and balletlike on the palate. Delicious cooling flavors of fresh pomegranates and cranberries interwoven with citrus and spice notes. One of the best Elk Cove Pinots in years. The steeply sloped vineyard has a view of five volcanoes in the Cascade Mountain Range.”
– Karen Macneil (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.
Elk Cove Vineyards purchased Five Mountain Vineyard in 2005 after leasing the site for several years. Previously it was exclusively used in our Willamette Valley blend, but after taking full control of the vineyard we have found certain lots worthy of Single Vineyard status.
This historic vineyard was planted in 1978 by the Ponzi family. The original 4.2 acres of old vines are comprised of Pommard clone and the entire vineyard is set on a steep southeast slope in the Chehalem Mountains AVA, overlooking “five mountains” in the Cascade Range most widely seen from the Willamette Valley. This vineyard was an important element in the early Ponzi Reserve Pinots and has also been a Single Vineyard selection from a number of premier Oregon wineries over the years.
Five Mountain is now sustainably farmed by Elk Cove Vineyards and comprises a total of 30 acres including the original old vine Pommard Pinot Noir, younger Dijon Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer and Riesling.
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.
Fruit from Five Mountain is fermented in small, temperature-controlled steel tanks, hand punched down twice daily, and barreled in French oak barrels. After 10 months of aging, only the barrels that are most representative of the Five Mountain profile are carefully blended to create a rich, earthy Oregon Pinot Noir.
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