2017,  A Classic Oregon Vintage

From John, October 26th, 2017

Now that the Nebbiolo has been harvested, there is time to reflect on the vintage just completed.

With abundant rainfall in the Spring and early Summer along with moderately cool temperatures, we knew that 2017 could well be a different sort of vintage than those which we have experienced over the last 5 years.  Bloom was pushed to the latter part of June, and if one defers to the classic Burgundian formula of 100 days from full bloom to harvest, then it becomes clear that an October harvest is in the makeup.  And, indeed, October it was.

Throughout the 80’s and 90’s as well as in the early years of this millenium, harvest in the Willamette Valley fell for the most part within the confines of October.  October is when the nights get cold and the days moderately warm.  This allows slow even ripening and the retention of ample acidity in the fruit.  Higher acidity dictates a slower, controlled fermentation since yeasts are a bit sluggish when the pH is low (acidity high).  As a result, the must ferments at a bit lower temperature and sits a bit longer in the fermentation vessels before it is ready for pressing.  This happy confluence of events generally means higher tone aromatics and the extraction of a bit more structure in the wines.

Add to the above, perfect weather throughout the vintage and absence of any disease in the fruit. A fabulous set of 2017 wines is in the offing.  Stay tuned.

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