Vintage: 2016

Vineyard: Silvershot Vineyards

Appellation: Eola-Amity Hills AVA

Harvest Date: September 4, 2016

Clones: Pommard and Dijon 777 Pinot noir; Dijon 76 Chardonnay

Soils: Marine sedimentary

Brix at harvest: 20.5-22

Skin Maceration: 30 days, 100% carbonic 

Aging: 1 month in neutral French oak

Final Alcohol: 14.0%

Production: 22 cases

Our Thoughts: 

We approached this wine as a fun experiment, employing our unofficial motto of "get weird." This is an experiment because: we've never made a "nouveau"-style wine before, we have never made a 100% carbonic maceration wine before, and this is a strange blend of about 60% Pinot noir and 40% Chardonnay.

2016 presented a great opportunity to play with a nouveau carbonic maceration wine because it was a hot and early (like, record-smashing) year in the Willamette Valley; so not only was the fruit fully ripe, the stems were nicely lignified and primed to lend some spicy structure without any "greenness" to the tannins. Plus, because we harvested so early (the earliest ever for the vineyard), it allowed us to get fermentation under way with ample time before a November release.

The inspiration for the co-fermentation comes from roughly 30 unintentional inter-plantings of Chardonnay at Silvershot. The vines were intended to replace those that died after the initial planting of one of the Pinot noir blocks, but a mix-up in our homegrown nursery was not discovered until the plants finally fruited several seasons later. The Chardonnay tends to be a bit later-ripening than the Pinot, so some years we pick it semi-underripe for our own homebrewed (non-commercial) projects, but most years it disappears into the few tons of Pinot from the block, field blend-style. This year the fruit was too good not to do something interesting with. Our vineyard manager, Jim Sr. aka dad, kindly handpicked the Chardonnay for us the day before our first official harvest date. The balance of the blend is 60% Pinot noir from newer plantings (circa 2012) at the vineyard.

We jokingly started referring to this as our "do nothing" wine during harvest. We simply chucked whole clusters into a small half-ton bin, added a dose of our pied de cuve vineyard yeast starter to the mix, then put a lid on it and sealed it air-tight with pallet wrap. We stuck the bin into a corner of the winery to rest undisturbed for a month while we carried on with the rest of crush. We popped the lid on October 1st, pressed and racked it to one neutral barrel, which we then drained and bottled without filtration on November 5th and released it on the third Thursday of that month, aka Beaujolais Nouveau Day.

Suggested Retail Price: $20