2015 WHITE LABEL PINOT GRIS
Vineyard: Crowley Station Vineyards
Appellation: Eola-Amity Hills AVA
Harvest Date: September 18, 2015
Clones: Own-rooted Colmar clone
Soils: Marine sedimentary
Brix at harvest: 20.5
Assemblage: 85% direct-pressed, barrel-fermented "white" Pinot gris; 15% skin-contact "red" Pinot gris
Aging: 6 months in neutral French oak (plus an extra month of barrel fermentation)
Final Alcohol: 12.1%
Production: 122 cases
Our Thoughts: We didn't think anything could top the craziness of the 2014 season...until 2015. Records again were completely busted. Heat, tonnage, insanity. The good news is that we learned from 2014 (and 2013, and 2012), and harvested in two passes, once at the beginning of September (our earliest pick at the vineyard yet) and again in mid-September as moderating temperatures that month allowed. Crowley Station Vineyards produced its highest crop load ever in 2015 (a whopping 2 tons/acre with no fruit-thinning), which allowed us to experiment even more than before.
This wine (and the two vintages that preceded it) was originally born of the frustration that most Pinot gris in Oregon is insipid plonk (yeah, we said it). Pinot gris is nearly genetically identical to Pinot noir, but it's treated like a bastard product that is made to be cheap and quick-to-market. We disagree with that approach.
We decided to capitalize on the unique quality of the grapes grown at Crowley Station Vineyards, which are all very tiny and concentrated and deeply-colored because of the shallow soils the vines are rooted into. We treated a portion of the Pinot gris fermentation as we would Pinot noir, allowing extended maceration on the skins and then barrel aging for a period. Another portion was direct-pressed and barrel-fermented as 'white' Pinot gris. To create this 'pink' wine, we blended four barrels of 'white' and one barrel of 'red' (simple as that). All barrels completed malo-lactic fermentation, and the wine was bottled unfiltered and unfined. We find it's a little subtle on the nose with delicate white flower aromas leading into flavors of peach skin, quince, and persimmon (all the kind of non-fruity fruits). The time in barrel lends a leesy richness, but shot through with racy acidity, and a signature mineral salinity.
Suggested Retail Price: $18