“The first of their single vineyard wines, the 2021 Chardonnay Mount Richmond pours a medium yellow-straw hue and offers sunny aromas of golden apple, yellow flowers, white mushroom, and Meyer lemon. Rounded and medium to full-bodied, it displays a supple, creamy texture, with even acidity and a floral finish with lasting notes of vanilla. Drink it over the next 5-7 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.
Mount Richmond Vineyard sits on Willakenzie soils in the heart of the Yamhill Carlton AVA. The site was purchased in 1996 as a partnership between winemaker Adam Campbell, his wife Carrie, and Elk Cove founders Pat and Joe Campbell.
The motivation for planting Mount Richmond was to emulate the wine quality from sites such as our esteemed Roosevelt vineyard. The vineyard now holds the honor as the largest vineyard holding of Elk Cove, totaling over 200 planted acres.
Mount Richmond sits at 300-500 feet elevation, lower than the vineyards planted at the winery, which allows for earlier ripening. Planted in a high-density format (2100 vines/acre), similar to Roosevelt, Mount Richmond sits on rolling hills just outside the town of Yamhill to the east of the Coast Range Mountains. In addition to Pinot Noir, starting in 2015 we planted three Dijon clones of Chardonnay on its lower south-facing slopes.
Our Chardonnay is hand-picked then gently whole-cluster pressed to avoid bitterness. The juice is fermented in large puncheons, a mix of neutral and new oak barrels and concrete eggs. We age this wine for a full 12 months with some stirring on the lees after malolactic fermentation. This is our classic take on Chardonnay, one of the original varietals we planted in 1974 and grew for over 20 years before grafting our vines over to Pinot Gris. We came back to Chardonnay in 2014 with the purchase of our Goodrich Vineyard, adding our own plantings of Dijon Chardonnay clones 548, 809 and 76 at Mount Richmond in subsequent years.
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