The epitome of cool-climate viticulture, Oregon’s Willamette Valley is subject to variances of weather and best known for the equally finicky varietal: Pinot Noir. Home to two-thirds of the state’s wineries and vineyards, Willamette Valley ranges 100 miles north to south following the Willamette River and spans 60 miles at its widest point. The region is protected from Pacific storms on the west by the Coast Range, and the Cascade Mountains on the east separate Willamette’s maritime climate from the dry heat of eastern Oregon.
Pale to medium ruby-purple colored, the 2015 Yamhela Vineyard has a bright, vibrant red cherry and cranberry-scented nose with underlying rose hip tea, cinnamon stick and dusty earth hints. Medium-bodied, it has a firm, fine grained backbone and great freshness supporting the exuberant berry flavors, finishing with a lovely perfumed lift.
Our 2015 Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir exhibits the distinct qualities that make Willamette Valley Pinot Noir especially unique. This wine ushers in brambly, mountain raspberries entwined with dusty loam, cinnamon stick and red cherry, highlighted by perfumed notes of herbal berry tea and cranberries. When depth, crisp acidity and fine tannins are united here they deliver a wine of character with an extended, elegant finish.
In the northwest corner of Willamette Valley, low ridges create an AVA centered around the hamlets of Carlton and Yamhill in a distinct horseshoe shape. Home to some of Oregon’s most regarded Pinot Noir vineyards, the Yamhill-Carlton District is known for its coarse-grained, marine-sedimentary soils that are among the oldest in Willamette Valley. The appellation is situated on hillsides between 200 and 1,000 feet elevations, with the Yamhela Vineyard located at a sweet spot of 600 feet. This specific site is low enough to allow ideal ripening and receives more sunshine than the rest of the region, which is often under a rain shadow from the looming western Coast Range. The specific soil combined with the location encourages early ripening of Pinot Noir, which is particularly important in this region.
Willamette Valley is a growing region that tends to experience unpredictable heat spikes in the spring and summer and heavy rains during harvest. 2015 proved to have neither of these challenges, making it an ideal growing season and a very mild, moderate vintage overall. The days and nights did not get too hot or too cold, allowing the fruit to ripen evenly and slowly mature across the season. Everything was picked before the rain arrived in late September.
Crafted with the same minimal winemaking techniques as Etude’s celebrated Carneros Pinot Noirs, each regional wine purely reflects the unique essence and character of its regional vineyard and still maintains Etude’s hallmarks of aromatic intrigue, vibrancy of expression and depth in ageability.