Sunday, May 12, 2013

Real Adventure, Real Clones

 Today I had an adventure at one of the newer wineries in Lane County. Abbelone Vineyard is very close to Eugene out Fox Hollow past the Raptor Center and the trail head parking lot. A beautiful setting and a perfect slope for 5000 plants. Kris Ferry says they grow Pommard (Pinot Noir Pommard : More vigor variation from year to year, smaller clusters, ripens earlier), 114 (Pinot Noir Dijon Clone 114: Lower yielding, vigor and vegetative growth can vary greatly from year to year, early ripening.  Floral notes and berry, cherry, and dark plum, fruit-driven spicy pinot.) , and 777 (Pinot Noir Dijon Clone 777: Most site dependent.  The vegetative growth, yields, cluster size are deeply influenced by the location, early ripening.  Noted for fleshy, black-fruited wines with tropical notes). The 777, along with the rich soil, is evident in the wines.
Angela and the new plants
Right now they are working on completing their tasting room and setting up the wine making facilities. Chris is making the wine at Eugene Wine Cellars until he has everything in place.He showed me some of the things he would be adding, like a 200 year old terracotta and porcelain sink he is building a sand for out of soapstone and a welded base for the lab area. His skill as a welder and his creative side show up all over the house.
We tasted the 2009 from the bottle and barrel tasted the '11. The '09 was released last year and is the first one on the market for them. It has a nose of roasted game, black berry, and must in the first smell, then opens to cola and spice, with all sorts of black fruit and hints of jam. There was a bit of earth and leather peeking around the edges and some plum and strawberry on the finish.
We then barrel tasted the '11 and though Chris thinks it is slowly coming up but has great promise, and what I tasted has legs and by the back of the mouth richness and long finish I detect a 4-5 year surprise. It is still in barrels and will be for a while but it is showing a great  evolution. It is lighter but has a beautiful clarity and the 777 reads well. The structure is there and the rich nose, the complexity, and the finish says good things for the future. The '11 harvest, state wide, was hard, late, cool year, low brix, long hang time, and generally difficult, but I think that due to the long hang time and the concentrated flavors, we will see a fine wine in a few years. Of course I said the same thing about the '07s so what do I know...Oh wait! I was right!
Out in the vineyard with Angela, after Kris went back to clearing his property, I met the dogs, Zoe and Romi. They are Huskies and live in comfort in the vineyard where the deer do not bother to roam, nor would the antelope, if we had any. Great idea, and they are so friendly and sweet, though I would not like to be a four legged beast around them. The other dog, a little white ball of Bijon Frise fur named George, who I wanted to take home, stays at the house and rolls in the dirt outside the door so Angela has something to clean up;)
She sent me home with  some '08, '09, and '10 so for dinner, starting with seaweed and cucumber salad, then roasted corn, grilled chard, grill marked asparagus, a mushroom for Linda and a nice salmon for me, followed by fennel, onion, and cabbage shredded salad. he finish was fresh strawberries. At each course I tasted both the '08 and the'10. The '08 held up and complemented everything, even the strawberry while the '10 worked with the chard and asparagus best.
 Now, two hours later: The nose on the '10 is a bit hot, perhaps 14.5 alcohol and it has a characteristic hint of roasted game, very slight, and high notes of persimmon and current. In the mouth I get soft front and a bit of a rough finish, lots of developing flavors of current, blueberry, and a hint of cola. It needs more time in the bottle and I will try it again in a year.
All in all the wines I tasted from them have a real promise of great things to come. The '09 was a hit and is sold out and the coming '12 will amaze!
I took a photo of their house and plan on doing one of my etchings for them as a thank you for their hospitality.
A great day for an adventure close to home for a change!

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