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, a portion by the whole Sokol Blosser team and family who all showed up to help bring in the harvest this year. The grapes were 100% de-stemmed and fermented in 3-ton stainless steel tanks for 10 days. Cap management was done with strictly pump overs to manage the smoke effect. This wine was aged in French oak barrels for 15 months with 15% new oak. This cuvée is a blend of a variety of blocks and clones on our estate vineyards.
On the nose, the 2020 Redland Cuvee shows notes of cherry, red currant and pomegranate, complemented by toast, mocha and mushroom. The palate largely matches the nose, but instead of toast and mushrooms, the fruit is accented by clove and dried leaf.
This wine will pair best with grilled salmon, portobello burgers or cherrywood smoked pork loin.
92 points - James Suckling
90 points - Vinous
90 points - Wine Enthusiast
Our Redland Cuvée is an homage to our original Pinot Noir that we began producing in the 80s. It is named Redland after the famous Jory soil that the vines grew in; an intense, mineral-rich soil that came from ancient volcanic deposits in the Dundee Hills. Its high iron content gives the earth a rusty hue, thus the hills are often referred to as the “Red Hills”. Our Redland Cuvée is an inclusive blend of Pinot Noir sourced from our Estate vineyards across the Willamette Valley, bringing together distinct AVAs and soil types to create a symphony in wine that is made, oak aged, and bottled in the beautiful Red Hills that we call home.