Fossil & Fawn - Pinot Gris
Vineyards: Silvershot Vineyards (40%) and BeckenRidge Vineyard (60%)
Appellations: Eola-Amity Hills AVA; Willamette Valley AVA
Harvest Dates: September 29 and 30, 2018
Clones: Own-rooted Colmar clone
Soils: Marine sedimentary and volcanic
Assemblage: 40% whoie-cluster inclusion
Aging: 9 months in French and Oregon oak
Final Alcohol: 12.2%
2018 was marked by a hot, dry summer that gave way to a mild September with periods of cool weather. Harvest commenced in line with historical average pick dates for the valley. About 40% of the grapes for this wine come from Silvershot Vineyards, which is kind of our "estate," if you will. The one acre of Pinot Gris is planted in the Pole Block, on the steepest and highest slope of the site. The combined effects of the southwestern slope and the fractured sandstone soil on the own-rooted and dry-farmed vines results in tiny clusters of deeply pigmented Pinot gris that are nearly indistinguishable from the neighboring Pinot noir. The block naturally produces about 1.5 tons per acre without any fruit thinning.
In 2018 we incorporated Pinot gris from BeckenRidge Vineyard, a nearly 40-year-old farm to the west of Dallas, Oregon, as you ascend into the Coast Range foothills. BeckenRidge has similar marine sediment soil series as Silvershot, with some younger volcanic overlay in spots. Being a slightly higher elevation site than Silvershot, the BeckenRidge fruit provided brightness and spice to the final blend.
We treat the Pinot gris as we would any red grape, with full skin-contact fermentation. A little more than half of the lot was destemmed into an open-top fermenter, and the other portion placed into a bin that was sealed for carbonic fermentation. Each half was given a shot of our wild yeast pied-de-cuve, cultured from the vineyard ahead of harvest. While the carbonic portion fermented away on its own, the destemmed portion was given a daily foot treading. After two weeks, we added back the still-whole bunches of carbonic fruit to the destemmed lot to lengthen fermentation time and draw out more flavor. After pressing, the wine finished out primary fermentation in barrel for the next two months, then through native secondary low-and-slow into late spring. We bottled by hand in July without any fining or filtration.
This wine is bangin' -- kind of Hawaiian Punch-y on the nose, leading to heaps of bright red fruits and orange peel on the palate, with notes of cinnamon and leather. Don't let the juicy fruit deceive though, the wine has a serious (but polished!) tannin structure that will stand up to anything off the grill, or a few years laying down.
Note: Everyone wants to chill this like a white wine and we beg you to resist the temptation. In our perfect world, you would drink this at just-below cellar temp, or like, stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes before drinking.