VINTAGE 2015 brought ideal conditions, leading to generous yields and exceptionally concentrated fruit. An early spring and clear weather led to a solid bloom that was three weeks early. Thinning is such an important tool for us to influence the course of ripening, and due to large initial cropsets, one we fully utilized in 2015. We thinned in early summer at our higher elevation sites, but waited until veraison to thin our lower elevation sites to slow down ripening and add “hang-time,” an important factor in the development of complex flavors in Pinot Noir.
Harvest 2015 was the earliest on record for the Northern Willamette Valley and we were a little stunned when our first fruit hit the crushpad on September 8th. Autumn brought relief from the heat with mild evenings and cool rainless nights that allowed for slow, even ripening. We harvested fruit that was absolutely pristine and perfectly ripe, at a gradual pace that allowed us to give our full attention to each block.
We are hopeful that 2015 is equally as good as the spectacular 2012 and 2014 vintages, and early signs indicate just that, with the wines showing moderate alcohols, balanced acids and great concentration.
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.
VINTAGE 2017 was a classic Oregon vintage with plenty of sunny days and refreshingly cool nights. It was also the first year since our wines were 100% estate grown, created entirely from grapes we own and farm. We now have full control as we care for our vineyards and soils for generations to come. “Estate Grown” is now proudly displayed on each of our labels.
After three early harvests in a row, 2017 brought us back to what many consider “classic Oregon weather.” A wet, cool spring led to a late start to the growing season with an early June bloom. Dry, hot weather in July and August meant great ripening as we thinned clusters to protect quality. Worries of smoke taint during the Columbia Gorge fires proved unfounded in our area, but hazy skies slowed September ripening slightly.
We began bringing in fruit in mid-September, but were interrupted by rain a few times in late September and mid-October. With 40+ vintages under our belts and hillside vineyards at diverse elevations we were able to choose the right windows to pick beautifully ripe fruit from each block. Sometimes this meant pulling long hours: in fact October 9th was our biggest day on record, with 110 tons landing on the crush-pad. Expect ripe tannins, fully developed flavors and classic cool climate freshness in these 2017 vintage wines.
Elk Cove Vineyards purchased Goodrich Vineyard in 2014. A 69 acre property planted with 21 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Goodrich Road sits just outside the town of Yamhill, Oregon in the heart of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA.
Goodrich Vineyard was planted in 2007 with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in high-density a format. The property boasts the exact same marine sediment (Willakenzie) soil as our Mount Richmond property and lies just a few miles from our Estate Vineyard in Gaston.
This young vineyard has great promise and we were so impressed by the quality of the fruit we decided to make a Single Vineyard Pinot Noir in our very first year of farming the site.