Winemaker Ian Burch discusses the A-List new releases, and what makes them so unique.
Ian Burch, Winemaker
It is a peaceful time of the year in the Willamette Valley. With the winter solstice behind us, the sun is beginning to peek out earlier. It has been a rainy winter so far and our soils are saturated – a perfect way to begin the growing season. Presently, there is the familiar, satisfying sound of woody grapevine canes being cut by our skilled vineyard crew over at Renegade Vineyard. Amazingly, it will take almost three years for us to train these vines, produce and harvest the fruit, and create the wine for you to enjoy.
It is peaceful in the cellar as well, with the remainder of the 2019 vintage wines patiently resting in barrel, awaiting bottling in March. The 2020 vintage is in the rearview mirror and we are very excited to watch these wines take shape and form beautifully over time. It is incredible to think that a new harvest is on the horizon and with how hectic this past year has been, we are utterly optimistic about what lies ahead.
We are also thrilled to share that one of our veteran vineyard employees, Sonya, was recently accepted to AHIVOY. The esteemed non-profit creates opportunities for and works to empower the Latinx and Hispanic vineyard laborers in the region. It is an involved program and looks to overcome socioeconomic disparities, provide education and professional development, and pave the way for these hard-working industry folks. We could not be more proud and grateful to have Sonya on our team.
It goes without saying that 2020 issued a new brand of difficulty. Between the pandemic and historic wildfires, nothing came easy. Yet, there is a hardiness and boundlessness to the individuals that work in this industry day in and day out – one that is infectious and powers us through no matter what the vintage brings. We look forward to 2021 and wish you a peaceful and restorative year ahead.
The 2019 Vintage
The 2019 harvest is synonymous with so many deeply Oregonian things. When one thinks of the Beaver State, they tend to imagine salamanders, ferns, pine trees, fresh and bouncy forest floors underfoot and rain. This pretty much sums up the vintage, at least the rain aspect.
Having just over two inches fall through harvest was something we played hopscotch with. We have grown accustomed to warmer, drier vintages as of late. The wet conditions rinsed off the fruit and gave the vines one last gulp of water as color and maturity in the clusters caught up with sugar levels and acidity.
The 2019 vintage wines are ethereal and showcase the soul of what Oregon truly is. We operate within a wine region that builds on acidity and tension with cool weather to allow complex development. The vintage is one I like to call “old school” in Oregon wine, and we could not be happier for you to experience it for yourself. At first sip you’ll hear the pure rains drumming on the rooftop and see evergreens standing tall in the distance, if only in your mind.
New Wine Club Releases
2019 Archers Edge Dundee Hill Pinot Noir
The aromatics of this wine work in a beautiful balancing act. The brightness of ripe cherries and wild raspberries is countered by the comfort component afforded by notes of cinnamon, clove and star anise. On the palate, there is salty caramel and blackberry atop a taught, mineral-driven backbone. The Archer’s Edge Pinot Noir is dynamic, showing tremendous balance and length.
2019 Renegade Ridge Dundee Hill Pinot Noir
The Renegade Ridge offers a nose that is at once brooding and intellectual. Blueberry and subtle, lilac-like floral notes waft above the glass alongside a burst of citrus akin to zesting a fresh lemon. The palate fans open endlessly, revealing a seamless acidity and earthy soul. Thanks to the addition of some whole cluster fruit, the wine touts an even texture, with fine tannins throughout.
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