Once the fruit has reached full maturity with a perfect balance between brix and acid, and fruit and tannin, it is hand-picked and brought to the winery in small 25-pound totes. Fermentations are long and careful and once complete, the free-run juice is moved via gravity into both new (20%) and neutral French Oak barrels. Barrels are custom made for us in Burgundy, using oak from France's best forest, which we feel allows the character of the wine and vintage to show through. After 12 months, Véronique selects the most representative barrels for our Willamette Valley cuvée.
2010 was a long, relatively cool growing season, ending in a late, fairly compact harvest. Picking started on October 18, and was completed in just 9 days, and though the accumulated heat days throughout the year were low, the strength of the vineyards and mild October led to the kind of physiological ripeness we look for, and in this case, the lower alcohols we like. Heavy thinning led to reduced yields, but the quality of both the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is exciting, and both feature strong acidity that bodes well for extended ageing.
The 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is already lovely, focused, and precise. On the nose and on the palate, I find black cherry, dried cherry, and raspberry, among other red fruits. The second layer is more floral, with violets and lilac. Given the cooler growing season, this cuvée has more lift from the bright acidity, and will pair well with many different foods. Balanced, with excellent length, the 2010 will easily age for 8-10 years.