In Puerto Escondido, Mexico there is a beach with turbulent waters, powerful currents, and lots of emotion called Bacocho. The powerful energy of this magnificent place draws us back to visit each year. Our 2019 Bacocho certainly lives up to its name.
Sourced from the great Seven Springs Vineyard and the North Block of Temperance Hill Vineyard, this wine shows a complex mix of both epic Eola-Amity sites. Showing influence from rocky volcanic slopes, clonal diversity, old vines, and the intensity of the Van Duzer winds, there has never been a cuvée that combines these two iconic sites. Bacocho is a beautiful balance of elegance and intensity.
Bacocho is dense and powerful with notes of wild blackberry and grilled cherry, layered with earthy tones of the autumnal forest floor and fresh porcini mushrooms. The finish is polished with long silky tannins, structured yet inviting.
The weather patterns in the Willamette Valley are truly some of the varied and impactful influences that contribute to making this an amazing and challenging region in which to grow wine grapes. There is no doubt that we have extreme weather events due to climate change, but our overall growing conditions moderate these spikes compared to cool climate regions from around the globe. The 2019 vintage drove that point home with obvious reminders that we are truly still a cool climate region.
The winter of 2018 started off generally mild, then finished cold and wet as we transitioned into early 2019. The spring was wet as is typical in the Willamette Valley, but a warmer than usual in April and we saw a warmer than average start to the growing season following bud break. As in 2018, we once again aimed for lower yields in all of our sites through aggressive shoot thinning to ensure the vines concentrated on developing the fruit we intended to harvest.
The summer began with moderately warm weather in late May and June, allowing for consistent flowering followed by near-record rain in late June and July. Basically, we were in the midst of possibly the highest mildew pressure vintage any grower in this valley had ever experienced. That said, the vines, as Kevin Chambers from Koosah Farm observed, “were very happy!” Why? The answer is that there were no heat spikes in 2019, giving us an old school Oregon cool summer.
August brought warmer temps, but none of the real heat waves we have come to expect throughout late summer. Pinot noir and Chardonnay like more consistent temperatures and got exactly what they wanted in 2019. Our growers made one last pass at veraison to drop any damaged fruit and fine tuned the crop even further to ensure the vines had an optimum chance to ripen their fruit.
As we moved into September, the mildew pressure began to threaten the grapes in the valley. Luckily, in the Eola-Amity hills, we receive assistance from the powerful Van Duzer winds to help fight off botrytis and mildew, which keep the vines happy and mostly dry. By the numbers, September saw the lowest heat accumulation since 2007, but as we had lower yields in all of our sites at the outset of harvest through intentional shoot thinning, the vines were in balance and delivered beautiful, ripe fruit.
There is no denying that 2019 was challenging. Just over 5 inches of rain fell in September, but that was over the entire month following a dry August, allowing the dry earth to absorb much of the moisture. We danced with and around the rain events, picking our sites when we had a good window and the fruit was ready.
We spoke with a fellow winemaker at a tasting event in November following harvest whose first vintage was 2014 and he said, “I thought this (winemaking) was easy”. We’ve had it pretty easy from 2014-2018 for sure. You really have to look back at 2007, 1996 or 1995 for a vintage to compare with 2019, where patience was the name of the game.
While Walter Scott produced significantly less wine in 2019 due to yields, we could not be happier with the result. We are so excited for you to experience this vintage through our wines!