January 03, 2016

Unexpected fruit

Was a beautiful day on September 28 when we picked at Temperance Hill
Sometimes unexpected things happen, for the good.

One day in the middle of September I was delivering some of my 2014 Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir to the bar at the SE Wine Collection and ran into Tom Monroe of Division Winemaking Company.

Hey, are you looking for any Pinot Noir? Tom asked. No, I replied. This harvest was large and I'd already turned down several offers of extra grapes.

What if it were special Pinot Noir, Tom persisted.

What does that mean, I replied.

Temperance Hill vineyard. Flat Block early 1980s plantings of Wadenswil clone.

Um, yeah was all I needed to say.

What a stroke of luck. Here was a vineyard that I'd known about since the 1990s. I'd give almost anything for a chance to work with Temperance fruit.

Here's the deal. There's a wait list for Temperance, but Tom has had a block for a few years. When extra fruit came available, Tom couldn't use quite all of it and thought of me.

I focus on the Eola Hills and just moved my production there. I'd love to feature the wine I make here in a single vineyard bottling, but I do have an Eola-Amity Hills AVA bottling that I can work it into if needed.

Freshly destemmed Temperance Hill vineyard Pinot Noir

Temperance would only be a one time thing. I'd rather work with vineyards year over year, but the chance to work with special fruit like this is reason to make an exception.

Free run Temperance Hill vineyard Pinot Noir after 18 days of fermentation

On September 28 we picked the grapes, late for this year but the fruit was still in such great condition. Sugar levels were modest, 21.6 brix, with acidity still bright at 3.39pH after soaking for 24 hours (I'd estimate it started at 3.25pH but I didn't have time to measure it).

Press wine from Temperance - notice the color difference from the free run

I got 1.1 tons of fruit, enough to fill three barrels. The wine fermented wonderfully and is beautifully dense but restrained. It shows what I can only only describe is an old(ish) vine savory richness without adding heaviness.

Gorgeous evening drive home after processing the Temperance fruit
I'm super excited about this wine and hope somehow I can continue working with this vineyard. Stay tuned to hear more about that, but even if there were all there was for me from Temperance, I'd say a dream came true.


Steve Howe said...

I hope you will let us all know when this wine has been bottled and is for sale. Keeping my figures crossed that you will somehow find a way to continue getting grapes from this vineyard.

Best wishes!

Vincent Fritzsche said...

I will definitely post on the progress of the wine and when it comes up for sale. I have a mailing list that is free to join and twice a year I offer new wines are low pre-release prices.

This wine from Temperance won't be offered until next year. However I will be offering the first of the 2015s this summer for release in the fall.

Join my list by emailing me at vincentwines @at gmail dot com. Cheers.