2004 Pinot gris | Willamette Valley
In the Vineyard
Our 2004 Willamette Valley Pinot gris is a blend of winegrapes from David Hill, Meredith Mitchell, Murto, and Yamhill Springs vineyards. Crop yields, restrained to 2.25 tons per acre at most, were harvested at 24.5 to 25 Brix. While we were waiting for flavors to develop, the grapes became sweeter at the warmer sites. We balanced the cooler and later-ripening Murto Vineyard with the remaining vineyards, and allowed them to hang a bit longer this season. The marriage of these four complementary sites provides balance and complexity.
At the Winery
Similar to 2003, 2004 was a very ripe vintage with juice edging towards 25 Brix. Fruit was hand-sorted, destemmed, and gently pressed at a maximum of 1 bar, keeping each vineyard’s yield separate. After cold settling, 50% of the juice was racked off its gross lees and drained into eight 500-liter neutral French oak puncheons. The remaining juice was blended and cold-fermented in a temperature-controlled stainless steel tank.
To help add complexity and texture, each puncheon was inoculated with a unique strain of yeast and fermented separately over four months prior to blending. Batonage – or stirring of the lees – was performed every two weeks during fermentation to add palate weight and creamy texture. To avoid creating an overly hot, alcoholic wine, fermentation was arrested at 13.5% alcohol leaving a bit over 1-degree Brix of residual sugar. There was minimal (less than 25%) Malo Lactic fermentation. Wine was racked off fermentation lees, cold stabilized, sterile filtered, and bottled March 26.
At the Table
Our favorite native Polynesian was present at the bottling of this cuvée, and we’re thinking a bit of Aloha went into the blend. The wine starts out with a leesy nose, then launches into passionfruit, (lilikoi), kumquat, and tangerine – aromas of Hawaii. With mellow pear and honeysuckle sweetness on the medium to heavy palate, this forward fruit nectar quickly focuses down on a framework of ginger spice, finishing with clean key lime. Pair with anything tropical. Seared Ahi with shoyu and wasabi, tiger prawns, sticky rice… you get the idea, make Auntie Hinano proud!