Winemaker Ian Burch discusses the A-List new releases, and what makes them so unique.
Ian Burch, Winemaker
With the 2020 vintage under cork and our cellar completely full of 2021 vintage wines, we couldn’t be happier. This time of year, we’re listening to the wines. Our winemaking team is surveying the barrel tops (bungs) as they pop out from their positions due to some gas from secondary fermentation. The wines really are whispering sweet nothings into their ears, fizzling with activity. Primary fermentation is mostly behind us, and now we monitor for the second round, otherwise known as malolactic fermentation. As the name suggests, this is when malic acid turns to lactic acid; a fascinating process you can actually see and hear. Since the wines all have no sulfur through this period, we are closer to them than ever, able to see, smell, and hear their every personality trait. Once they finish malolactic, we add a bit of sulfur and maintain this level to keep the wines safe, sound, and fresh. While blending decisions are still down the road, we often taste the wines to ensure they maintain their verve. Get ready for the 2021 vintage to knock your socks off!
Looking back on the 2020 season
The 2020 growing season began warmly in March before things went cool and damp in April, as they tend to do in the Willamette Valley. From July on, the vintage was decidedly hot and dry. In the vineyard, there were lower-than-average yields of concentrated clusters. Because our estate picks early to lock in freshness and acidity, we managed to pull much of the fruit in before and during the beginning of the smoke event. The resulting wines are concentrated and complex, although in somewhat limited supply on account of the lower yields. These small lots in 2020 swing a big stick, amplified by their radiant character.
As we move into the 2022 Club releases, things will look slightly different as we pair new releases with some special library gems from our cellar. You’ll notice a limited number of wines were produced from the 2020 vintage as we held ourselves to strict quality standards relative to smoke impacts from the wildfires that swept the region. If we felt there was any unfavorable impact on wine quality and the potential enjoyment of our wines among our loyal fans, we elected to forego the wine. While this was devastating to us, we found grace in knowing that we had safeguarded a few library vintages of special wines in our cellar and are delighted to be able to allocate these to our members in 2022.
February A-list Releases
2019 Archer’s Crest Pinot Noir
We’ve grown incredibly fond of Red Hills Vineyard, and with this release, we’re thrilled to reveal a different expression of this beloved site. Like the term crest in archery, where the Heraldic markings on an arrow are used for identification, the lower portion of Red Hills vineyard has a signature all its own. It holds characteristics wholly differentiated from our Red Hills Cuvee, made from fruit towards the top of the site.
The nose of this wine is perfectly ripe and sweet, showing lychee and pie fruit. Ever playful, the wine possesses a juicy acidity and a soothing softness. It’s a Pinot Noir that enters and exits the palate with finesse, revealing helpings of anise, fig, and earth along the way.
2020 Archer’s Edge Pinot Noir
Archer’s Edge has long offered woodsy elements, and the nose of this wine is teeming with them. Muddled lavender and ripe plums fill out the aroma, while the Pinot Noir itself is a vibrant, garnet red in the glass. This wine is succulent, rustic, and refined; this wine features wild brambleberry notes on the palate and mouthwatering acidity.
There’s a certain saltiness to the wine, courtesy of a higher concentration of whole cluster fruit. That savory quality is rounded out wonderfully by the wine’s fiercely fresh acidity. Somehow, each sip is even more intriguing than the last.
Cheers to 2022 – We cannot wait to see you at Archery Summit this year!
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