October 19, 2010

Old vine pinot at Medici vineyard

I spent this glorious day at Medici Vineyard helping friends field sort a few tons of Pinot noir from 36 year old own-rooted Pommard clone vines. Medici is high up in the Chehalem Mountains, off Bell Road due north of Newberg. If you're in the area and see a steep vineyard high up on the hills, that's Medici. This shot is from the top of the vineyard, at 800 feet looking west to the Dundee Hills. It ended up around 70F with a light breeze, shirt sleeve weather in later October. Unbelievable.

I think of today as a field trip, to taste and see grapes in a vineyard I've never before visited, then helping with the processing at a winery in the McMinnville wine ghetto. There's nothing like getting out of your cocoon to see how other people think about and work harvest. What did I learn? Nothing major, just little things about vine health, grape maturity, sorting technique and general approach to fermentation (hands off). The biggest thing might have been how comfortable I finally am with all the usual duties of bringing in and processing fruit. It's not rocket science, but there's a difference between following along and staying out of the way and knowing what needs to be done and when.

I guess that's a long way of saying I actually helped out and it felt good, especially seeing friends get their first lot of grapes for a new project. Meanwhile, things are cooking back here in Portland. All of my own fruit is in and things look great. More on that soon. I'm late for an appointment with my dreams.


Florida Jim said...

36 year old, own rooted pinot; man would I like to work with that stuff!
There's a vineyard on Sonoma Mtn. that's 48 year old, own rooted pinot (clone unknown) that's barely throwing fruit (and really did not produce this year). Maybe next year we'll get a half ton or so.
Could be special . . .
Best, Jim

Vincent Fritzsche said...

Jim, there's a fair amount of older, own rooted pinot up here. Not tons and tons, but vineyard here and there that are 25 or 30 or more years old, nicely mature by Burgundy standards but ancient for us. I've been able to work with a couple a few years back and I hope to do so next year and beyond. They won't make better wine necessarily, but they will provide something different and certainly have potential that younger vines generally won't give.