2020 will always be remembered as a year of epic challenges. For the grapes, a cold wet spring hindered fruit development during bloom and thus gave us the smallest crop since 1998. An exceptionally light crop level historically leads to exceptionally good quality. Loose clusters with big and small berries “hens and chicks,” as we call them, often leads to dark color and richer and more intense flavors. We began harvest on September 3rd and had a good week of bringing in
most of our grapes for sparkling wine and all our Pinot Noir for our Rosé program. Then, the winds changed and the fires started. For around seven days a thick fog of smoke hung over Sokol Blosser and the Willamette Valley. During that time the sun was covered, all photosynthesis stopped and the grapes’ development stalled. The smoke event ended in an amazing fury of lightening, thunder, and 1” of rain on the night of September 17th. We then waited for the grapes’ development to progress, taking samples and doing micro-ferments to test for smoke effect. Proceeding slowly and carefully once full maturation had been achieved, we harvested the remainder of our estate fruit feeling incredibly lucky and optimistic.
The grapes were carefully hand harvested and then hand sorted to remove any flawed bunches and de-stemmed directly into 3-ton fermenters. Fermentation took place over 10 days with cap management by pump overs. The wine was pressed off immediately at dryness then barreled, aging for 15 months in 100% French oak barrels with less than 15% new oak.
On the nose, this wine expresses notes of black cherry, strawberry, flint and mushroom, rounded out by notes of forest floor, baking spice and leather. The palate largely matches the nose, though the leather and mushroom rise more to the forefront.
This wine pairs beautifully with bbq chicken, cedar plank salmon, and lamb a la plancha.
2019 - (93) James Suckling, (91) Wine Spectator, (92) Vinous
2018 - (93) James Suckling, (90) Wine Spectator