2010 Five Mountain
This is a rustic wine – “sauvage” is a common description. Wild game, bittersweet chocolate, hoisin, and molasses on the palate, with herbal notes and five-spice on the nose. The 2010 Five Mountain is a dark and mysterious pinot with a quality reminiscent of a whole-cluster style old-world wine.
Vintage 2010 brought to mind some catchy phrases. “Hitchcock style” (this was the year of the birds) “let ‘em hang” and our favorite : “Hang ‘10”!
Yes, harvest was later than normal. An exceptionally cold, wet spring was followed by one of the shortest summers we can remember. However, 2010 was not the worst year… The ‘attack of our feathered friends,’ an almost unprecedented assault on valley fruit, also was nature’s signal that the fruit was good to eat and fully ripe. When doubts were raised about 2010, winemaker/owner Adam Campbell commented “You know, we have been doing this for almost 40 years, and it’s not the first time we’ve had slow ripening. We’re optimistic about it and we know exactly what to do.”
Science agreed. Climatologists actually compared 2010 favorably to the great 2008 vintage; both years exhibited lower yields, smaller berries and full flavor development at lower brix levels – all signs pointing to high quality wines with lower alcohols.
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 32 years
- Yield 1.55 tons/acre
- Harvest Sugars 23.5 Brix
- pH 3.59
- Vatting Fermentation in small open top steel fermenters. 10 months in French oak.
- Cases Produced 339
92 Points “Light and lively, with expressive raspberry, clotted cream and mocha flavors that mingle harmoniously as the finish glides on…”
– Wine Spectator Insider (November 2, 2012)
91 Points “Bright aromas of black raspberry and cherry accented by sassafras and black tea…”
– Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar (July 31, 2012)