2005_11Halloween already? Usually as I carve pumpkins with my son, the winery is clean and quiet with a cellar full of new wine. This year however, proving to be one of the longest harvests in recent memory, the winery is still full of fermenting tanks and even cold soaks which have not yet begun to ferment yet. There are empty barrels everywhere waiting to be filled.

Wow! What a harvest, to say the least. What started out as a very challenging viticultural year, from start to finish with enormous mildew pressure and various weather circumstances, turned into an extended “waiting game” with mother nature. This is one of those harvests the Old School has been waiting/itching for. The cool climate of Oregon “shined” this year with rain, wind, fog and, fill in the blank, bad weather event. But I have a feeling that Oregon vintners rose to the occasion and the Pinot Noirs and white wines will be spectacular with amazing acidity, soft tannins and longevity to spare.

This year we were fortunate to be able to work with some great vineyard sites and farmers. New to the lineup this year we had Maresh Vineyard, Wren Vineyard, Chehalem Mountain Vineyard, La Collina Vineyard, Cherry Grove Vineyard and Parish Hill Vineyard. The fruit from these sites did very well and will make for some interesting additions to the Bergström lineup. Of course we also saw some amazing fruit from the vineyards we have been working with for years: Palmer Creek Vineyard, Hyland Vineyard, Shea Vineyard, Broadley Vineyard, Bishop Creek Vineyard, Eyrie Vineyard, Wahle Vineyard, Vigna Giovanni and Five Mountains Vineyard.

The Estate vineyards (Bergström and de Lancellotti) really rose to the occasion this year and we are now beginning to see these sites’ true colors as they start to perform more and more like older vine vineyards. We also saw fruit from our new and third estate vineyard from just next to the winery building on Calkins Lane .

This year I took great pleasure in trying all sorts of different fermentation styles and techniques. The great natural physiological ripeness meant that the chance for harsh tannins was minimal and skins were bleeding amazing color with little intervention. We fermented several lots of fruit in new French oak tanks which gave the wines a lush and broad mouth-feel with intense aromatics. We fermented several lots using large percentages of whole clusters (no de-stemming) which forged wines of wonderful old world flavor and spiciness. We relied on native yeast strains to guide the majority of our fermentations this year as we usually do, but we also selectively experimented with some Burgundian yeast strains. As I walk through the full barrel cellar now I can’t help but be thankful for another year as Bergström Wines ‘ winemaker and vineyard manager. I am blessed to be able to work with my family, with great vineyard sites and farmers and with the forces of nature to craft these wines which will be enjoyed on dinner tables around the world. So let’s take a sneak peek at what the wines are like from the 2005 Vintage:

Bergström Vineyard: Amazingly soft and supple with great color intensity and aromatics. The acid profile on these wines is high but balanced and this should be a very nice vintage for this vineyard. Characteristic aromas of red fruits (cherries and raspberries) are starting to appear and the wines have very fine grained silky tannins already. Already showing very deep with layers of complexity.

de Lancellotti Vineyard: Could be the best year yet from this young site! Great color from all four blocks and wonderful textures already with cool dark fruit profiles, nice high acidity and fine grained silky tannins. Still a youngster but I think there is solid potential here.

Bergström Winery Estate: New wine from a new vineyard to be released sometime in 2007-2008. Fermented in a 100% whole cluster style in a French oak fermenting tank, this wine has enormous aromatics similar to a northern Rhone Syrah with black olive, pepper, big black fruits, dried herbs and minerals. Already this wine shows huge potential.

Shea Vineyard: Big, big and big. Black color from all four lots with the Oak block showing it’s characteristic dusty tannins, the 828 clone having great red fruit liqueur appeal and the Block 5 is, as always, big and soft with enormous fruit character. This should be a very impressive blend.

Broadley Vineyard: Perhaps the darkest wine I have ever made. When I swirl the glass it stays stained purple for up to 2 minutes. Huge aromatics characteristic of Broadley: blackberry, raspberry, cherry and earth. Kind of unruly and youthful for now but shows a bright (I mean dark) future.

Nysa: Classy stuff. Very nice Dundee Hills soils profile in the nose and mouth. Not as flamboyant as some of the others now as Malolactic fermentation has begun in this wine so the nose is muted but very elegant and shows great Pinot Noir style.