2009 was a vintage of abundance. Ideal springtime weather led to a hot summer, which gave us a beautiful, uniform and potentially prolific crop. Warm temperatures at harvest time lulled some growers into picking late, at potentially high alcohols. The right decision, top winemakers agree, was to get the grapes in while they still had fresh flavors. As always, we showed our commitment to quality by thinning and green harvesting to achieve earlier ripening and better concentration of flavors. As winemaker, Adam Campbell, states “harvest went off without a hitch and we picked the grapes at a deliberate but frankly leisurely pace which allowed focusing on retained acidity.” So, vintage 2009 may be remembered as one of those rare combinations of excellent quality and quantity, with the wines showing flash.
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.