Mid-Season Form: the 2017 vintage

Each vintage takes on its own personality; we are in our fourth full week of the 2017 Harvest and the end is near. We want to give you full insight into 2017’s personality, it’s fruit and the resulting wines that you can enjoy from it.

“The 2017 vintage is a return to normalcy.” Winemaker Brian Irvine states as he reflectively stares over the Pinot Noir sorting line. “We have had 3 vintages in a row of above-average heat, and don’t get me wrong, the wines produced were beautiful, but a year like 2017 is what makes Oregon unique.”

The 2017 growing season, overall, has been pleasant and lovely. Not too cool, not too hot, not too much rain. It’s the tortoise of seasons, just keeps on rolling, nice and easy. As of October 16th, we are at 2631.08 degree days, which is more than 2016 and less than 2015 and 2014 on the same day.  Keep in mind that a vintage cannot be summed in one value, it is a moving target with a backstory, and winemakers are trying to catch lightning in a bottle every step of the journey.

“To me, 2017 is a classic Burgundy-esque vintage,” French Winemaker Anne Sery quips with a smirk, “pH’s are in the 3.3-3.4 range, sugars are right around 22 brix.” Acid-driven wines with ripe flavors are a foodie’s dream come true. Wines that can carry any meal or stand on their own with vibrancy are why we drink wines from cool climates like Oregon.

“2017 marks my 30th vintage in Oregon, and it also marks a first for me. I have never seen this much quantity in our vineyards, it was very hard to trust our crop estimates. We are down to 1 cluster per shoot in most blocks, and 2017 is still the best yielding vintages that I have had.” Laurent Montalieu, Owner and Executive Winemaker states. “There is definitely flavor intensity in each lot. After 3 warm and opulent vintages (2014, 2015, 2016) we now have wines with vibrant energy. I find it similar to the 2010 vintage and think that in spring, after a few months in barrel, there are going to be some great wines made in 2017.”

In Oregon, the vintage makes the wine. 2017 has given us ripe flavors and vibrant structure. To quote the great Chubb’s Peterson, “We’ve only just begun,”, and we are excited to see where the year takes us.