It was a dark and stormy night...and that was just the first day of 2017! Yes, 2017 started out like a number of Oregon vintages have started out: cold, wet and rainy. In fact, to start out 2017 we had snow. Snow shut down the winery for a number of days in January and this cold weather foretold the following cool spring. Bud break was late in relation to the past 5 years (late April instead of early April), but more normal when you look at our 40+ growing seasons. The cool, wet weather was not to last, and the heat volcano erupted in mid-June to the tune of 95°F! Thanks to the wonderful deluge of wet weather in the winter and spring of 2017, our vines were able to handle the scorching hot summer. Our underground barrel cellar reached temps we have never seen before (in the 70s) and the expanding wine pushed some bungs out. The cool spring helped push out harvest, but the hot summer helped make sure the grapes were ready to go with little delay. We picked over a six week time period, which is a week or so longer than normal due to the rain events. The crop was huge — one of the largest we have seen since 2014. The fruit was ripe and very clean, boding well for quality.
The grapes were carefully hand harvested at a range of ripeness of ~21.5-25°Brix. Some vineyard sections were harvested based on acid levels to retain delicacy and some were focused on higher intensity of fruit flavors with ripeness reaching 25°Brix. All our fruit was sorted by hand to remove any flawed bunches and de-stemmed directly into either 3-ton stainless steel fermenters or 2.5-ton oak upright fermenters. Nearly 50% of the fermentations were done using either isolates from the Sokol Blosser native yeast program or were ambient/uninoculated ferments. Cap management was done via gentle punch downs up to 2 times per day. Post fermentation 7% of the blend was kept on its skins for 40+ days for extended maceration, the remaining portion was pressed off the skins at dryness (~15-20 days of skin contact time). This wine was aged in 100% French oak barrels for 17 months with minimal SO2 levels. 23% of the blend was aged in new oak barrels with the remaining portion aged in once used or neutral oak.
Our Dundee Hills Estate Pinot Noir captures and expresses the delicate fruit characteristics associated with this varietal, and we balance that with structure and age-ability. This blend represents our entire Estate with barrels selected from nearly every corner of the property. Our 2017 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir exhibits aromas of leather and spice. The palate is rich with dark fruit, dried currant, and a hint of cinnamon.
Enhanced by flavors of grilled lamb sausage, or a warm bowl of piperade, typical Basque dish prepared with onion, green peppers, and tomatoes sautéed and flavored with red Espelette pepper.
Our Dundee Hills Pinot Noir epitomizes everything Sokol Blosser has stood for in nearly 45 years of winegrowing in Oregon. Crafted to be a true expression of terroir from our hillside vines and Jory soil, this wine is made from a low yield crop that is dry-farmed for quality and comprised of grapes that are all from Dijon, Pommard and Wadensvil clones.