In the vineyard - In every vintage there are sites that perform better than others, but in 2006 it was all good. This was due to the beautiful and balanced 2006 growing season. The warm spring allowed for abundant flowering and subsequently a larger than normal fruit set. The summer, with daily highs approaching 90 and nightly lows in the 40s, produced optimal growing conditions for Pinot Noir. As a result, substantial crop thinning was required. Not once, not twice but actually three passes through each vineyard was necessary to keep the crop at just the right level and ensure a concentrated balance of fruit, acid, and sugar. The warm weather continued through October with no precipitation, allowing younger vine sites to hang through the month and older vines to be harvested in November.
In the winery – Fruit was brought in clean and perfectly ripe making indigenous yeast fermentation possible on all lots. Lots underwent a slow, cool fermentation over a three to six week period until there was little to no residual sugar. An extended fermentation known as a post-fermentation maceration was performed to gain some fine-grained tannins assisting in not only texture but also for longer aging potential. Juice was then settled and transferred to one-third new French oak barrels for eleven months. The only movement from barrel was for compilation before bottling. This minimalist approach allows for an authentic representation of not only each vineyard, but also the vintage.
In your cellar - All bottlings will gain significant weight, flavor, aromatics and texture over the next three to twelve years. The wines possess great fruit intensity, excellent acidity levels and finely grained tannins that not only drinking great now, but will continue to improve with age. Stock up!
Blackburn Reserve - 179 cases
Color: Inky purple approaching black
Aromatics: Mocha and cocoa nibs intertwine with red and blue fruit- slightly smoky blackberries and sun warmed raspberries. Piercing purity and intensity bring freshly turned earth, forest underbrush, bittersweet chocolate covered currants and raspberries the forefront while undertones of char, toast, and tar add complexity.
Texture: Excellent initial impression with a clean acidity, great weighty texture and smooth tannins.
Flavor: Raspberry, baked blackberry cobbler with hints of cinnamon, and Tahitian vanilla bean seamlessly integrate with porcini mushroom and oak. It’s an evolution from fruit to dirt and back to fruit.
Finish: At this point, the wine still brooding, but the lively acidity is balanced against sweet fruit and lip smacking tannin indicating there is tremendous backbone and structure.
Canary Hill Vineyard – 144 cases
Color: Pinot perfect red
Aromatics: More mineral than fruit with aromatics dominated by dusty dirt roads, clean graphite, and freshly poured concrete. Fruit emerges with time and displays spiced red cherry, and just out-of-the-oven French apple, raspberry and cherry tart.
Texture: Almost talc-like due to the profound mineral quality which is permeated by chiming acidity. A tight but balanced beauty with searing potential.
Flavor: Mineral elements carry through in the mouth and the wine opens up with a dark, brambly fruit element and hints of sandalwood, spiced and macerated currents and plums and a touch of mulberry.
Finish: The wine rounds out beautifully with layers of fruit, slate and earth on the finish. Nice acidity contributes to a sense of structure in the mouth as well as a lengthy finish. Typical to this site, the wine drinks beautifully in its youth and will gain complexity with age.
Meredith Mitchell Vineyard - 120 cases
Color: Ruby red
Aromatics: Extremely intense on the nose with blackberries, cherries and pencil lead being the dominate notes. Secondary aromatics present spiced and macerated black cherries and plums with a circumference of black pepper crusted Buffalo filet, and anise.
Texture: This site tends to be tannic, but this year I pulled back substantially on the extraction and followed primary fermentation with a post-fermentation-maceration. The result is a big, powerful wine which is amazingly the most balanced of all the 2006s offered at this point.
Flavor: The enveloping mouth feel leads to explosive flavors of Korean ribs dipped in plum sauce, red cherries, and brambleberry with an intense earthiness reminiscent of the Oregon Country Fair.
Finish: Linear and complex with acid so vibrant it feels electrified. Stermer Vineyard - 97 cases
Color: A beautiful garnet red
Aromatics: What a nose! This wine is perfectly Pinot-esque; black cherries crushed underfoot dried grapevines with a bit of Chanterelle mushroom, fresh pipe tobacco, espresso, clove, vanilla and dark bittersweet chocolate. Adding further to the orchestra of aromas is a citrusy grapefruit, blood orange characteristic and an almost gamey component.
Texture: A seductive layering of silk and fine grained tannin. This wine epitomizes the essential balance between power and elegance.
Flavors: Flavors range from fresh and dried black and red currents and plums to espresso, baking spice, Asian spice, and graphite pencil.
Finish: Long and polished with lingering raspberry
Wind Hill Vineyard - 146 cases
Color: Red garnet with flecks of pink
Aromatics: A deep, rich wine with dimension and detail. Spicy and intense but also elegant. Classic black cherry and violets permeated with fresh green bean and ground black pepper provide the spicy intensity with a subtle elegance. A dusty quality encompasses not only the aromatics but also the flavors due to the older vineyard site.
Texture: Initial attack of acidity with body to back it up.
Flavors: The wine is laid on a framework of dried berries and earth, oak and minerals with a floral edge and encompasses tannins that dominate the finish. Initially the dusty raspberry and blackberry components are behind the scenes, but emerge over time. Lay it down.
Finish: Fine grained tannins commingled with layers of flavors of spice. The most subtle of all the single vineyard offerings, it’s a serious wine… in a subtle way.
Chardonnay - Cuvee E
Full of fresh yellow peach, hints of almond oil, coconut and spice with flavors of sandalwood, brown sugar, and toasted meringue.
Chardonnay - Cuvee I
Expressive aromatics of white flowers, white stone peach and wet river rock lead to flavors of Nashi pear, wet slate, and honeysuckle. Great texture with subtle complexities that all results in one seamless Chardonnay.
Pinot Noir - Cuvee E
Primarily consisting of Ribbon Ridge Appellation fruit, this wine has a wide range of flavors. Aromatics show intense blue and red fruits with a bit of funk. With time dusty blackberries, Hoisin sauce, wild strawberries, sweet black cherry, and fresh Chanterelle mushrooms emerge. Smooth on the palate with a reasonable tannic and acid structure underneath.
Pinot Noir – Cuvee I
Delicate and dusty aromatics give the impression that the wine will be restrained, but flavors indicate otherwise. Intense black and red cherry layered with baking spice, wet concrete, and freshly turned soil. The finish has a density showing fresh pipe tobacco, wild raspberry and blueberry compote around a core of dried cherries. Lively acidity is balanced against structured tannins and results in a seemingly never ending finish.
2006 Retail Price
Blackburn Reserve $300/6 pack
Canary Hill Vineyard $450/6 pack
Meredith Mitchell Vineyard $450/6 pack Stermer Vineyard $270/6 pack
Wind Hill Vineyard $270/6 pack
Chardonnay – Cuvee E $300/case
Chardonnay – Cuvee I $210/6 pack
Pinot Noir – Cuvee E $360/case
Pinot Noir – Cuvee I $270/6 pack