Happily, 2004 has the potential to be an excellent vintage! Though production will be limited because yields were down by 20-50%. Around the state we experienced a phenomenon the French call coulure ~ unsettled weather during flowering, resulting in poor fruit set. This cold Spring weather naturally lowered crop sizes and then early Fall rains challenged picking. Yet, low yields do not indicate a loss of quality and extended warmth in late September produced healthy, balanced, and concentrated fruit. In addition, Elk Cove manages some of the highest elevation sites in the state, which typically results in an extended harvest. Late September’s warmth extended harvest into late October, and ensured grapes of true maturity, offering the potential for ripeness and complexity without exaggerated alcohol levels. Fans of more elegant Pinot Noir will be pleased. Winemaker Adam Godlee Campbell reports “we have loose clusters and more concentrated flavors. This is a good year for us.” 2004 promises to be a long-lived vintage with beautiful wines!
Steep hillside farming, high quality plant material, low yields, and hand-harvesting all contribute to the quality of Elk Cove’s estate-owned vineyards. We do around 12 passes per year of contact with each vine including multiple rounds of thinning to ensure perfectly ripe fruit from our cool climate.
Our Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is made with fruit from all five of our vineyard sites: Estate, Mount Richmond, Five Mountain, Clay Court and Wind Hill. We also purchase a small amount of select fruit from other producers who are longtime friends of Elk Cove. These sites are comprised of both Pommard and Dijon plant material, with multiple clones represented.
Because we draw from multiple vineyards representing all three of the major Willamette Valley soil types, we are able to pick and choose for different flavor components to make the best possible blend each year for our Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Some people call this making wine “spice rack style”, we usually just call it delicious. Our goal is the perfect version of what we believe a Willamette Valley Pinot should be, a wine with freshness of fruit, well-integrated alcohol, and great concentration of flavor.
All of Elk Cove’s delicate Pinot Noir fruit undergoes the same gentle handling through our gravity flow system. This systems allows us to achieve the elegance, texture and luscious quality that are the hallmarks of exquisite Pinot Noir.
To make our Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, fruit from each vineyard block is fermented separately in small, temperature controlled steel tanks, hand punched down twice daily, and barreled in 20% new french oak barrels. After 10 months of aging in 20% new oak, the wine we choose for the Willamette Valley Pinot is carefully blended to produce the most approachable, well-balanced Pinot Noir we make.
- Vine Age 6-31 years
- Yield 1.8 tons/acre
- Harvest Sugars 23.5-25.5 Brix
- pH 3.7
- Vatting Fermentation in small open top steel fermenters. 10 months in French oak.
- Cases Produced 8,080
89 Points. “Fragrant, aromatic, open, and wonderfully accessible…”
– Wine Enthusiast (August 31, 2006)
88 Points “… Fresh and energetic, with lively, nicely delineated cherry and red berry flavors…”
– Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar (April 30, 2006)
88 Points “…A delightful, easygoing effort, it offers loads of red as well as black cherry fruit in its medium-bodied character…”
– Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (June 30, 2006)