Sojeau Vineyard, planted by Denny and Thelma Peseau, sits on the southern end of the Eola-Amity Hills, facing southwest towards the Van Duzer Corridor. At 650 feet in elevation, the site overlooks the valley and surrounding farmlands from its perch on the steep hill. This aspect makes Sojeau one of our coolest sites, with acidity and aromatics favorably affected by the intense coastal winds. The 15-acre block of Pinot noir is divided into two blocks from which we get 20 rows in a cross-section, allowing us to share the full potential of Sojeau’s clonal depth and soil diversity.
Vineyard: 100% Sojeau Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley
In 2017, Ken had the great opportunity to work harvest in Burgundy for two weeks before our harvest here in the Willamette Valley. When he returned, his head was spinning with ideas of how we could take what we do to another level: new equipment, press cycles, farming practices, barrels, fermenters, sorting lines, tanks and on and on and on. One thing that continued to tug on his thoughts? Yields.
How much fruit is the right amount for a vine to ripen? We considered this question all winter following a bountiful 2017 harvest, which produced lovely wines. How could we do better? We were convinced that fine-tuning yields was the key to taking our vineyards and the wines to another level, capturing more intensity of the pure signature of each place.
In the winter of 2018, we set out to accomplish this as we boldly determined our yields for each unique site at the very beginning of the growing season. We pruned more acutely, giving us shorter fruiting canes, then shoot thinned the same canes vine by vine and vineyard by the vineyard to set the stage for the entire vintage. The vine would be able to focus its energy on ripening fruit that we would harvest, instead of using energy to ripen fruit that we would later cut off and discard at veraison. We did this, not just with a few experimental blocks, but with every site we worked with.
We began the 2018 harvest with our young vine block of Chardonnay at Freedom Hill Vineyard. This block was planted for Walter Scott by the Dusschee family and we have worked together from the beginning of its cultivation to make this block very special. When we began harvesting this fruit we could not have been happier. It was pure electricity! We consistently saw that our yields were lower than in previous years, but the vines and fruit were in perfect balance. As we picked vineyard after vineyard, we found an incredible intensity of flavor without sacrificing acidity, minerality, elegance, or freshness. All the things we aim for in our wines were amplified and concentrated.
We are incredibly excited about our wines from the 2018 vintage. They are driven with intense weight, acidity, and structure which we expected from the lower yields. “Never stop thinking that you can do better.” We certainly won’t. We hope you like what we did in 2018.