To gaze across the 21 rolling acres of the Silice Vineyard is to look back through Oregon’s rich and storied geological history. At one time, this land lay entirely under the ocean’s waves. Millions of years ago the same violent volcanic and tectonic activity that formed the Oregon Coast Range thrust these sea beds upwards and slowly carved out and created our beautiful landscape. What remains today are gentle rolling hills of sandy soils resting atop layers of sandstone and shale. Here, the ground shimmers as sunlight reflects off the silica-rich sand that dominates the soil, which is so hot and arid that water evaporates quickly, causing the vines to plunge their roots deep in search of water and nutrients.
The Silice Vineyard (pronounced “sea-lease”) was planted over several years starting in 2001 and is a mélange of 26 different Pinot Noir and Chardonnay clonal blocks. Just as each clone has been carefully selected, so too has each rootstock, picked to marry perfectly with the vine above and the soil composition below. Because the Silice Vineyard soil is mottled in nature and changes color and composition rapidly as you move across the hillsides, the pairing of vine to soil is of the utmost importance.
Sweet baking spices such as cinnamon, clove and star anise along with fresh, savory garden herbs are the hallmark aromas and flavors of the Silice Vineyard. Natural acidity by virtue of the site’s special terroir adds brightness, while the vineyard’s unique soils bless its wines with incredibly intense fruit flavors. Marionberry, huckleberry, blueberry and dark, tart cherry are customarily found in the Pinot Noirs, while the Chardonnays are brimming with bright citrus and green apple flavors and an oceanic saline and floral aromatic profile. Traditionally, we incorporate Chardonnay from the Silice Vineyard into our Sigrid Chardonnay.
With 2012 being our first vintage of the Silice Pinot Noir (formerly known as de Lancellotti Vineyard from 2003-2011) it is safe to expect both the Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from this vineyard to be consistently ripe and balanced every year with a strong vein of acidity and sweet tannin giving them backbone for ageing in the cellar. The ideal time to drink these wines is 4–12 years after the vintage date on the bottle.