CHEHALEM MOUNTAINS AVA
At just 2 acres, the Winery Block is our smallest estate vineyard, but is quite possibly the most powerful, and definitely the rarest of them all. Adjacent to Silice on a south-facing slope, and sitting only steps from our cellar, the Winery Block is reminiscent of a Burgundian vineyard because of its vine density: more than 5,000 vines per acre. With vines and vine rows planted less than three feet apart, the Winery Block is more than twice as dense as most Oregon vineyard sites.
My wife Caroline was born and raised in Burgundy, and it was there, in the great city of Beaune that we met as graduate students of viticulture and enology. After returning to our home (for her, a new home!) in Oregon, we planted the Winery Block in its tight formation to always remind us of our ties to Burgundy.
Due to this vineyard’s size and its aforementioned density, we cannot farm it with tractors, so it must be farmed entirely by hand. The daily, back-breaking work of canopy management: pruning, hedging, and treating the vines with backpack sprayers, as well as trimming the grass, hoeing, and turning the soil means that we are constantly in this vineyard, doting over each and every vine. As a result of this work and care, the Winery Block is more reminiscent of an obsessively well-loved Bonsai garden than a vineyard. Soil at the Winery Block is similar to that of its neighbor Silice, though not quite as deep, with veins of clay running through the soil horizons. The grapes are harvested by hand, and always fermented without destemming. The result is a 100% whole cluster expression of this very special single vineyard having been fermented in just one small fermentation tank. In a normal year, we will produce eight barrels of this wine, and in a challenging year, we may make only four.
Pinot Noir from the Winery Block is aromatically explosive, as its bouquet overflows with so much sweet baking spice, Chinese five spice, rare woods, incenses, as well as a perennial note of black licorice and gingerbread. Always our most structured Pinot Noir, with copious amounts of ripe tannins and medium acidity levels, both which provide the foundation that allows this wine to develop in the cellar for a decade or more. I recommend cellaring most vintages of the Winery Block Pinot Noir for 3-5 years before uncorking.
Years planted: 2002-2005
AVA: Chehalem Mountains AVA
Soil type: Deep marine sedimentary sands on sandstone bedrock
Density: 5,000 vines per acre
Varietals planted: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
Farming Style: 0% conventional, non-certified BD/regenerative-ecological since inception.