Illahe Estate Pinot Noir 2019, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Illahe (ILL-uh-HEE) is a local word that has been used to describe ‘land’ for centuries in Oregon and the Northwest. The Chinook Jargon word appears from Canada to California, sometimes meaning ‘earth’ or ‘place’ or ‘soil’. It is comparable to the French word terroir, and, in a sense, is the Northwests word for terroir. Illahe Vineyard was first planted in 2001 with 22 acres of Pinot Noir. Today it is a 52-acre vineyard with seven varieties and over 40 acres of Pinot Noir. Illahe Vineyard is planted on a south-facing slope. The slope ranges from about 4% near the bottom to over 20% near the top. The top of the vineyard is at 480 feet elevation, and the bottom 250. The variety of soils on the property give the wine complexity. The overall character of the soil is that of Willakenzie-type sedimentary clay. The specific types include bellpine, wellsdale, dupee, and patches of jory. These types depend on soil depth and composition, which is mostly clay, silt, and loam. 2019 vintage – This Pinot is sustainably grown and hand picked. Nothing was done to extract color. 20% whole clusters used. Fermentation 100% native yeast. “We macerate on the skins for 24 days, scoop the pomace into the press by hand and press in a wood basket. The wine is aged for 9 months in barrel with 10% new French oak barrels and 90% neutral Franch oak barrels. Ruby red in color with a nose of red raspberry, mountain oregon strawberry, sage, fresh fig, ripe pie cherry, clove and cinnamon with a palate of graham creacker crust and pine forest, with nice weight and velvet tannins. Finishes with hints of graphhite, salinity, and red applie skin.