2003 Pinot gris | Yamhill County Cuvèe
In the Vineyard
Our 2003 Yamhill County Cuvèe Pinot gris is a blend of winegrapes from Yamhill Springs, Meredith Mitchell, Murto and Bellevue Cross vineyards. Crop yields, restrained to 2.25 tons per acre at most, were harvested at 24.5 to 26 Brix in the unseasonably warm autumn weather. 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 to the vintage.
At the Winery
2003 was a very ripe vintage, with juice edging towards 26 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 13.98% 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 January 30, 2004.
At the Table
A bold Pinot gris with honey notes and no shortage of fruit, this wine is huge in every dimension. Its heavy palate weight will pair beautifully with spicy Cajun, Thai, Indian, and even Latin American cuisine. The fruitiness, acid and weight will help to cleanse the palate and prepare you for the next spicy bite. Equally enjoyable on its own, as a summer sipping wine, the 2003 vintage is the most age-worthy Pinot gris we have ever made. It will go the distance, peaking in 2007 — a long bottle age for an Oregon Pinot gris.