Legion of Pinot 2015
Late May and early June…One of our favorite times of the year–Its not because of the “Summer right around the corner” feel, but this is the time that we generally finalize on a barrel for “The Barrel Project.” Several months ago, we had started tasting barrels of the 2015 vintage, and we thought we were heading in one direction, only to do a complete 180 when we did our final selection the third weekend in May. Before we go into the selection of this year’s Legion of Pinot, let’s drill into the 2015 vintage.
2015 was a stellar vintage for Pacific Northwest wines. It is similar to 2014 in that vineyards saw bud break several weeks earlier than normal, with an elongated, and above average temperature growing season. The end result is a deep and complex vintage that won’t disappoint those who like big and powerful wines.
Barrel Selection this year started very early, back in November. Based on those initial tastes, we were betting that the 2015 Legion of Pinot was going to originate from one of the oldest vineyards in Oregon, Ridgecrest Vineyards in the Ribbon Ridge AVA. Big and powerful, we were sure this would be the pick when we tasted through barrels in May. Well…we were wrong.
This year we took the feedback from you, and we heard that folks like to drink these wines young. Since these wines are enjoyed soon after bottling, it makes it challenging to find a wine that will span the gamut of the project. As there are also those that like to hold onto their wines for a few years before enjoying. What we wanted was a wine that showed more characteristics of the barrel itself. This is something fitting for such a wine from “The Barrel Project.” As a result, we looked for barrels that were new, meaning they saw their first juice in this vintage. For those of you that might remember the 2013 and 2014 releases, those both saw barrels that had been used for a previous vintage. This year, we zeroed in on barrels that were new–but not just new…toasted.
Toasted? What the heck is toasted in regards to wine you may ask? Well, when a barrel is made, it is toasted so the different staves can be bent to form the barrel. The toasting process makes a large imprint in the flavor profile of the wine, especially if the barrel is seeing its first vintage. This was what we were looking for this year–a wine with great fruit, but with a noticeable barrel “wow.”
We feel we got the right balance of both fruit and barrel impact with this year’s selection. So the winner for 2015? This year’s Legion of Pinot comes from Corral Creek Vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains AVA, specifically the block they called “wavy” named after the wavy pattern that the vines were planted. Unlike the 2013 and 2014 Pinot which were Dijon Clone 667 and Pommard respectively, this block of the vineyard was not documented when it was planted, but based on the age of the vines the only clones really available back then were (is a mixture of) Pommard and Wädenswil, so it could be one or the other, or both.
There is no doubt, you are going to love this wine. It has an epic nose, great fruit, and a persistent tannin structure that the warm 2015 and new barrel provides. It’s a great combination, and it’s a great story for you to tell family and friends when you’re enjoying this wine in the late fall and holidays. For most of you, this will be a Pinot Noir that will be more unique than what you have ever tasted. In fact, you might find it a bit untamed. This wine should be approachable early, and will be available towards the end of August, or early September.
– The Barrel Project
2015 Pinot Noir
Corral Creek Vineyard – Wavy Block
Chehalem Mountains, Oregon
With age comes wisdom; the third vintage of The Barrel Project shows amazing complexity, elegance, and a dose of new oak. Corral Creek shines.
This year’s Legion of Pinot comes from Corral Creek Vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains AVA, specifically the block they called “wavy” named after the wavy pattern that the vines were planted. You are going to love this wine. It has an epic nose, great fruit, and persistent tannin structure that the warm 2015 offered.
Bright and veluptuous. The balance of red cherry and plum skin, with elegant tannins, sweet wood spices and lifted rose-hip perfume permeates this wine.
This wine is the epitome of restrained hedonism, and will go with any food that is as well; salmon, pork, grilled veggies. Try to restrain yourself.
Barrel # 15PNCCWAVY – Cooperage is Tonnellerie “REMOND” MTL. (NEW)