VINTAGE 2016 was a year of unusual weather that led to beautiful fruit at lower than average yields. In spring, an early heat spike meant a very condensed time frame for bloom. This gave us smaller than average berries and clusters and set us on the path for our third early harvest in a row. Thankfully, summer weather was cooler than average, which slowed down ripening and allowed flavor development to catch up to sugar accumulation. Due to our small initial crop estimates, we held off thinning until the last minute to delay ripening and add “hang-time”, an important factor in the development of complex flavors.
We were a little stunned when our first fruit hit the crush-pad in the last days of August, setting a record for our earliest harvest in 40 years. September and October brought relief from the heat with mild evenings and cool nights that allowed for slow, even ripening. We picked fruit that was absolutely pristine and perfectly ripe, at a gradual pace that allowed us to give our full attention to each block and work shorter hours than in a typical harvest season.
We are optimistic that 2016 will be an outstanding vintage, reminiscent of 2012 and 2014, with wines that show great balance and concentration.
Elk Cove has produced single vineyard pinots from this beautiful hillside vineyard in Banks, Oregon since 1979. Windhill Vineyard was planted near the Hartwick Resevoir in 1974 by the Reese family, Oregon winegrowing pioneers, and was purchased by Elk Cove in 1996. South-facing slopes, volcanic soils, mid-level elevation (500 feet) and low yields make Windhill a superior vineyard site. We have farmed this vineyard using completely organic practices since 1999. Our Windhill Pinot Noir is produced from 4 acres of the oldest Pommard clone Pinot Noir vines on the property.
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.
We produce this single vineyard wine using only pommard clone Pinot Noir grapes from our Windhill Vineyard. The wine is fermented in small, temperature controlled steel tanks, hand punched down twice daily then aged for ten months in 50% new French oak. Finally, our winemaking team blends only those barrels most representative of the spicy character and herbal tones of Windhill’s classic pinot noir fruit.