Raptor Ridge Winery Blog
Our Spring 2016 Flight Club shipment covers the spectrum of AVAs from which we source fruit, on display here in both barrel-select cuvées and single-vineyard designates. We are happy to offer our Flight Club members an overview of these wines and their respective regions in the Willamette Valley. Please enjoy!
Quiescence represents a barrel selection crafted exclusively for members of Raptor Ridge’s wine club. The name means a state of rest or stillness, and acknowledges the time our Pinot Noir spends reposing in the cellar before its release, as well as the meditative act of tasting itself. In previous cuvées, such as Trig, Scott and Kevin have chosen two to three barrels, seeking ones that strike a balance of flavors, and capture the nuances of the vintage. A new blend, Quiescence draws fruit from three AVAs we work with – Chehalem Mountains, Yamhill-Carlton, and Eola-Amity. Vineyards chosen for this blend include our own Estate (Tuscowallame) Vineyard, Shea Vineyard, Olenik Vineyard and, new to Raptor Ridge, Temperance Hill Vineyard in the Eola-Amity AVA. The latter sits atop the Eola-Amity hills, just north of neighboring Bethel Heights and Zenith Vineyards. Managed by Dai Crisp (Lumos, owner and winemaker), Temperance Hill was originally planted in 1981, making it one of the older vineyards in the area. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris as well as Gewürztraminer are grown on 100 acres sitting atop Nekia (basalt) soil. Temperance Hill fruit constitutes 25% of the cuvée for our 2014 Quiescence – a single-vineyard designate Temperance Hill Pinot Noir is due for Flight Club members (link to club webpage) later this calendar year. Quiescence reveals soft, enveloping red and black fruit, with a tones of cherry and baking spice. We are excited to offer Flight Club members this vino da meditazione, the first cuvee released of the 2014 Pinot Noirs.
Meredith Mitchell Vineyard
Meredith Mitchell Vineyard provides fruit for one our most popular Pinot Noirs, a wine that is marked by power and depth of fruit. Much of this wine’s personality comes from the unique characteristics of the vineyard and its surrounding area. McMinnville AVA is found to the southwest of the city of McMinnville, and its geographical size dwarfs the total acres planted – of 40,000 acres, only around 600 are planted to wine-grapes. The physical appearance of the AVA is also distinctive and striking. Heading south from McMinnville, the South Yamhill river valley cuts a wide plain between the Eola-Amity hills to the east, and the foothills of the Coast Range to the west. At lower elevations, these hills contain rolling green pasture and Oregon oak savannah. The vineyards of the AVA are found in this network of hills, on uplifted marine sedimentary soil with an underlayment of basalt.
The climate of this AVA is hugely important for the resulting wines. Frequent mention is made of the Van Duzer corridor and its effects on the wines of the Willamette Valley: a conduit of cool, coastal air that serves to regulate temperature in an otherwise warm growing season. McMinnville AVA is the most proximate growing region in the Willamette Valley to this corridor, and its vineyards are subject to dramatic day and night temperatures. The wines of the area frequently display deep pigmentation, often inky and purple in their youth, and lively acidity, due to cooler nighttime temperatures.
Planted in 1989, the 25-acre Meredith Mitchell Vineyard grows Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and own-rooted Pommard clone Pinot Noir. Raptor Ridge has worked with Susan and Frank since 2000, sourcing both red and white grapes from the property. We traditionally have sourced from the top of the Pinot Noir block, at an inflection point of south and east aspects – the rockiest and thinnest soils on the vineyard.
The 2014 Meredith Mitchell Vineyard Pinot Noir features qualities our wine club members have come to love about the site: vivid coloration, plummy and rich fruit, full body, and long, age-worthy tannin structure.
Atticus Vineyard has been intimately connected with Raptor Ridge’s history for the past decade. Its owners, Guy Insley and Ximena Orrego, have used Raptor Ridge’s winery as a custom crush facility on top of supplying fruit for Raptor Ridge’s blends and single-vineyard designate wines. Atticus is a small vineyard, occupying 4-acres on a southwest facing hillside in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. The dry-farmed vineyard sits at 300 feet elevation on Willakenzie soil, and consists mostly of Pommard clone, along with Dijon Clones 667 and 777.
Scott routinely uses Atticus vineyard to contribute richer blue and black fruit characteristics to Raptor Ridge cuvées, and on its own the vineyard tends toward fuller-bodied, velvety Pinot Noir, with enticing savory aromas. 2014 was a warm vintage, and our Atticus Vineyard Pinot Noir reflects the darker, more muscular side of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA.
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