A warmish spring – with ideal fruit set – was followed by cool to moderate conditions throughout summer, with no major heat spikes to cause problems to the thin-skinned Pinot Noir. Healthy, plentiful grapes were able to mature steadily and evenly, although sugars were slower to accumulate.
However, disaster struck just as the grapes were beginning to reach full maturity. The rains came, turning an expected easy harvest into an expensive, labour-intensive one. Between late September and late October up to 20cm of rain fell on and off, causing some growers to panic pick, while others sat it out. Fortunately, cool weather between the downpours helped ward off rot, and the grapes came in mostly sound.
Although the vintage is likely to favour red fruit flavours over the intense black fruit flavours of the 2006 vintage, producers say many wines have surprising levels of intensity and concentration, as well as finesse from good physiological ripeness and relatively low sugars. These are lively, fragrant wines with higher than usual acid levels and lower alcohol – more cool-climate in character.
The Willamette Valley suffered most from harvest rains and growers here had to make difficult picking decisions. Not everyone got it right, but the results vary from good to very good. In Umpqua, Rogue and Applegate valleys results are more consistent.
Insufficiently tasted as yet, but standouts so far include Beaux Frères, Lachini Vineyards, Domaine Drouhin, Daedalus Cellars, Chehalem, Elk Cove, Evening Land, Et Fille, Pali, Ponzi, Siduri, Hamacher.
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