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Oregon Pinot Noir: The Terroir of Willamette Valley
January 7, 2015 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
In late June 2014, I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend Oregon Pinot Camp — an event I’d been hoping to experience for the previous 14 years. This three day Pinot Noir education immersion is one of the most coveted tickets in the wine world, only given to 250 wine industry professionals per year (this year’s group was represented by 48 states and six countries including Japan, Australia, and China).
From geologic studies in the vineyards (including walking into trenches dug at different sites), to vertical tastings of legendary wines (a highlight was 1985 Eyrie Pinot Noir, served out of a 3L bottle by Jason Lett himself), and panel discussions with some of the top names in the Oregon wine industry, it was one of the best wine weekends of my life.
Photo: Hiking to the top of Temperance Hill Vineyard with Mimi Casteel of Bethel Heights.
Of course, I’ve returned with a tremendous amount of information to share!
OREGON PINOT NOIR: THE TERROIR OF WILLAMETTE VALLEY
In this class we will explore the complex geology of the Willamette Valley and how different soils express themselves in the wines. Starting with the Missoula Flood (or more accurately, floods), we will detail the four mail soil types of the region, how they came to be, and what they bring to the wine (paying specific attention to the resulting difference of volcanic soils vs. sedimentary soils).
Next we will take what we learned about soil science of Willamette Valley and overlay it onto the AVA (American Viticultural Area) map of the region. The Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, Chehalem Mountains, Yamhill-Carlton, Ribbon Ridge, and McMinnville Viticultural Areas will be discussed and dissected while tasting great selections from many regions.
We’ll finish the evening with a brief discussion of recent vintages, including advice of what to drink now, what to lay away for ten to fifteen years, and why.
Studying soil science and pest management at Adelsheim Vineyards.
As you’d expect, we’ll be tasting top notch wines throughout the evening all carefully selected to highlight the points being made. Rarely does such a line up of Pinot Noir get popped all at once, but as I discovered at Oregon Pinot Camp, it’s the best way to do it!
I hope to see you in the Terroir of Willamette Valley class!