Vintage 2006 certainly has everyone offering up grand descriptions! “Everything ripened beautifully.” “This is a rarity.” “A warm, fully ripe vintage.” Fruit set was ideal with a mild Spring. Months that followed were warm and dry, with short-lived heat spikes and a few intermittent cooling rains in the fall, advancing fruit ripeness. Feelings abound in the valley that the 2006 vintage seems to be a combination of the 1999’s depth and the ripeness of 2003 (the only vintage warmer than 2006), but with better flavors and natural balance. The Pinot Noirs specifically seem to be very true to form with velvety tannins and a sexiness evocative of Pinot’s feminine side. Put this with softer, darker blue fruits that are more generous and it’s the makings of exceptional wines! In general, this vintage had us searching for negatives, finding only the six days of over 86 degrees in early harvest to fret over. But the results seem to be close to perfect!
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, Muscat, 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 40% new 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 big, luscious Oregon Pinot Noir.
- Vine Age 28 years
- Yield 2.2 tons/acre
- Harvest Sugars 25.5 Brix
- pH 3.75
- Vatting Fermentation in small open top steel fermenters. 10 months in French oak.
- Cases Produced 980 Six-Bottle Cases
90 Points “Bright and lively…”
– Wine Spectator (April 23, 2008)
“This is a darker-toned red with aromas and flavors of black truffles, mushrooms, plums and chocolate-covered cherries.”
– Wine Press Northwest (April 1, 2008)
91 Points “Alluring bouquet of black raspberry, kirsch, allspice, incense, and cinnamon…”
– Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar (May 1, 2008)