Dark ruby in color, the 2016 Pinot noir Zenith Vineyard has concentrated aromas of wild berries, black cherry and woodland spices with allspice and nutmeg. Loaded with fruit, the mouth reveals berry and cherry fruit, cinnamon, cloves and dark floral notes. The layered flavors persist long into the finish with well-integrated fresh acidity. It is quite a mouthful on its own and would be great with wild birds, leg of lamb or a juicy cheeseburger. Drink anytime, it will be lovely for at least 15 years.
Zenith is our estate vineyard. It is centrally located in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, 8 miles NW of Salem, Oregon. Grapes for this wine come from 7 blocks. Most of blocks face SE, warming early in the morning. One faces SW and is warmer in the afternoon. Four different clones of Pinot noir are planted: Pommard, Wadenswil, 115 and 777. All the blocks lie on old sedimentary soil at an elevation of 300’.
2016 was the third in a string of warm summers and early harvests. It produced the smallest crop of the three. The harvest began with a bit of heat and dehydration in the fruit. This immediately resolved with cooler temperatures and the rest of the harvest produced well balanced fruit with lovely flavors and ripe tannins. We finished picking at the end of September, producing a total of 10,200 cases. In general 2016 produced lush, early-drinking wines with lovely aromatics and accessible fruit, spice and floral notes. They can be aged and are quite approachable in their youth.
Food Pairing Notes
Leg of lamb, wild birds, juicy cheeseburger
The de-stemmed grapes were fermented in a 4-8 ton stainless steel and Burgundy oak fermenters with no SO2, allowing the fermentation to proceed naturally. After gentle pressing and settling, the wine aged in French oak barrels, 25% of which were new, for 16 months before bottling by gravity and without fining.