Elk Cove’s Ultima is our definition of dessert; opulence in a bottle. Having long ago established a “cult-like” status, Riesling remains the cornerstone of our new blend, simply called Ultima. The Ultima is comprised each vintage of a selection of aromatic varietals consisting of a proprietary blend. While Riesling supplies the weight of this wine with fresh pear, apricot and honey notes, the supplemental varietals add beautiful delicate aromatics.
Vintage 2014 in Oregon may be remembered as the vintage of a lifetime; one of those rare vintages, reminiscent of 1988 and 2002, when you have high quality and high quantity simultaneously. The tone for the season was set at bud break, which averaged two weeks early and held on through harvest. Growing conditions were mostly dry and warmer than normal resulting in a large number of small clusters that ripened evenly over the course of the summer, giving us wines that show as fruit focused, quite concentrated and with amazing freshness.
This year’s warmer than average nights and moderate days created the ideal conditions that led to a faster rate of ripening due to less stress on the vines. This allowed the fruit to stay in harmony. In addition, notes Winemaker, Adam Campbell, “the amazing summer weather led to the lowest disease pressure I have ever seen, creating a harvest that was the stuff dreams are made of – little rain, gorgeous fruit, and an easy tempo making for a relaxed and delightful crush”. These prolonged warm days and moderately cool nights with low heat stress led to ideal ripening.
Fruit quality, harmony and balance were key factors in the 2014 growing season. As fruit came in with incredible evenness and extraordinary concentration, 2014 will likely be a show stopping vintage. We remain true to our goals as wine growers – looking to capture the beautiful, complex flavors that are the signature of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and other cool-climate varietals.
To create Ultima, we choose the most perfectly ripe, aromatic grapes fruit from our estate vineyards, primarily Riesling. We freeze the fruit prior to pressing to emulate the ice-wines produced in regions where fruit freezes on the vine.
To produce the Ultima, we press the grapes while frozen, which leaves a portion of the water from the grapes behind. This concentrates the fruit’s sweetness as well as all other flavors and aromatic compounds. The juice is then slow fermented in chilled tanks to protect the lovely honey and floral qualities that make Ultima a prized dessert wine.
Viticultural & Enological Data
- Vine Age 7/32/42 years
- Harvest Sugars 40.1 brix
- pH 3.36
- Vatting Whole-cluster pressed frozen grapes cold fermented in small stainless steel tanks.
- Cases Produced 385