Our estate vineyards here in the Dundee Hills continue to surprise and delight us with the tremendous possibilities they offer. Our Cuvée Louise program, named for Véronique’s youngest child, is possible because Véronique has the chance to present something new and quite different from our Pinot Noir Laurène and Willamette Valley bottlings. Louise is a barrel selection, yielding less than 200 cases in 2002. Full-bodied and intense, Louise maintains balance, elegance, complexity and finesse. Above all, its glorious, silky texture sets this apart as truly something special, our finest expression of Pinot Noir.
Starting in 1998, Oregon has enjoyed a wonderful run of excellent vintages, all with their own personality and characteristics. In August of 2002, there was genuine concern that we were headed for a difficult harvest, given the rain and generally poor weather. But in September, Mother Nature gave us a gift: warm, dry, sunny days and cool evenings, outstanding ripening conditions for Pinot Noir. We began hand-picking our estate Pinot Noir on September 28th and sorted the last tote on October 14th, picking each block when the fruit reached ideal maturity. Yields were just under 2 tons per acre (6-8 clusters per vine) from our high-density vineyards, planted to an assortment of Dijon clones.
The ’02 Louise is a highly complex and lush wine offering a delightful rich nose of black fruits, cassis, pepper and spices. Full bodied and harmonious, Louise’s tannins are dense and refined. The mid palate intertwines sweet silk, rich velvet and intense black cherry. The long persistent aftertaste is consistent with the complex flavors of the nose. For peak development, I would recommend cellaring the wine until 2008, and it will be enjoyable for another 7-10 years (or more) afterwards. If you want to open a bottle sooner, do not be afraid to decant for 30 minutes.