2014 Raptor Ridge Pinot Gris
With a richly ripened, bountiful harvest obviously upon us in the early summer of 2014, we strategically tuned our crop loads to mitigate early over-ripening. This was particularly important for Raptor Ridge to maintain its consistent style of balance between fruit and acidity in our fresh, food-friendly white wines. Crop loads were therefore left heavy, the only thinning done in our Gris vineyards was to provide adequate spacing and airflow. Consequently, we have the largest Pinot gris production to date for Raptor Ridge! Where available, we employed “deficit irrigation” so that the vines spent less time dehydrated, and can continue trans locating energy and nutrients from the leaves to the fruit and roots.
In the Vineyard
Watching the weather and early physiological signs of ripening, we pulled the trigger on all the Pinot gris vineyards beginning September 15 and wrapping up by the 27th. The harvest chemistries from Dion and Hawks View in the Chehalem Mountains, Bellevue Cross, and Meredith Mitchell in McMinnville, and Rudolfo in the Southern Willamette Valley all hit upon average 23.2 Brix, pH of 3.31, and TA around 5.7.
At the Winery
Wine grapes were whole-cluster pressed, and fresh juice was clarified with a light bentonite fining before racking to temperature-controlled stainless steel fermentation tanks. A long, slow 84-day fermentation cycle allowed this vintage’s complex and layered aromatics from four Willamette Valley sources to marry. Two separate fermentation vessels allowed us to employ diverse commercial yeast strains–CY3079 and 58W-3. At the desired balance point between residual sugar and acidity, fermentation was arrested by cold stabilizing at 27oF for two weeks. The wines were gently cross-flow filtered, and sterile-filtered at bottling in early January.
At the Table
The lush nose of this expansive Pinot gris welcomes you with scents of orange blossom and anise. Showing more stone- and tree-fruit notes than usual, Apricot, Bartlett Pear, Guava and Quince round out the aromatics. The ample mid-palate offers Key Lime, Lemon Grass, and Grapefruit, with a silky transition to a refreshing mineral focused acidic finish, with surprising notes of verbena, sesame and orange peel. This food-friendly approachable gris is consistent with previous vintage styles, and offers some great exotic food pairing options from Thai Curry to Indian Chicken Tikka Masala.