Antica Terra Pinot Noir Botanica 2018, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Antica Terra is 40-acres of rocky hillside in the Eola-Amity Hills of the Willamette Valley. The first vines were planted in 1989 in a clearing within the oak savannah. The plants were carefully placed amid the rock: a fractured mixture of sandstone and alluvium sown with fossilized oyster shells. The site is dramatic. It’s exposed boulders, steeply pitched grades and panoramic views of the surrounding land convey a feeling of imposing scale and intensity. The west wind moves constantly through the vines and the afternoon sun shines upon them. The oldest vines look like infants. Instead of the gnarled trunks and robust canes one expects from vines planted over two decades ago, these are spindly and frail. The fruit is diminutive as well. The tiny clusters of thick-skinned berries are less than half the usual size and fit easily in the palm of the hand. The canopy, which struggles to reach the top catch-wire, is incredibly sensitive. The smallest changes in the environment can cause the leaves to turn yellow and fall. These qualities demand that the vines receive the most exacting attention and care. Botanica is built around fruit from Shea Vineyards in Yamhill, where they work with 8 acres of Pinot Noir split between the East and West hill. The aim with this wine is to allude to the opulent possibilities of the varietal, while retaining it’s essentially graceful nature. “Botanica is always sappy and sanguine with a taste of wild rose, sour cherries, and blood orange. It is tempting to define them solely by their compelling texture and lush personality, but there is a structural element that is equally striking. This balance between extraordinarily concentrated fruit and intense levels of extract is the essence of the wine.” – From the Winery