2016 PINOT NOIR
the Road Blocks
VINEYARD | Calkins Lane
blocks | 1, 7
clones | 115, 667
APPELLATION | Chehalem Mountains
WINEMAKERs | Gina Hennen and Dave Paige
HARVEST DATE | SEPTEMBER 5, 2016
BOTTLING | august 14, 2017
ALCOHOL | 13.5%
PRODUCTION | 10 cases
The Road Blocks Pinot noir comes from our favorite section of Calkins Lane Vineyard, the 52-acre property surrounding our winery. Planted in 1995 on ancient marine sedimentary siltstone soils, this vineyard was the third Pinot noir site planted by the Adelsheims. The two one-acre clonal blocks that make up this wine run right next to Calkins Lane and consistently produce the most exciting wines from this property. Block 1 is clone 115; Block 7 is 667. Of the dozen “Dijon” clones brought to Oregon from Burgundy in the 1980s, these two have adapted best to Willamette Valley vineyard soils and climates. The wine shows both richness and finesse and leads with aromas of roasted nuts and blackberries. On the palate it is dense and layered, with succulent tannins and a long, savory finish. After the excellent 2014 and 2015 vintages, the Willamette Valley had yet another perfect growing season in 2016. Ripening conditions throughout August and September were dry but not too hot, providing wines that are both powerful and nuanced. As winemaker Gina Hennen says, “Mother Nature is starting to make our job look easy.”
There’s a little-known back story to this early Pinot noir planting at Calkins Lane. David Adelsheim had quite a bit to do with the importation of the clones from Burgundy and he was good friends with David Graves and Dick Ward, the founders of Saintsbury Winery in Carneros. The two Californians were interested in obtaining the new clones from Burgundy, and Adelsheim sent them cuttings as soon as the clones were released from quarantine at Oregon State University. Plants were propagated and planted at Saintsbury’s famous Brown Ranch Vineyard and over the years ended up producing some of the top Pinot noirs from that winery. In 1988, David and Ginny Adelsheim had purchased the Calkins Lane property at a bargain price in a foreclosure sale by the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs. They had just enough money to plant 25-acres of own-rooted Pinot gris. Graves and Ward knew that the Adelsheims could not afford to buy Pinot noir vines to plant at Calkins Lane, particularly now that Phylloxera had been discovered and all new plantings needed to be grafted on Phylloxera-resistant rootstock. So they reproduced plants (grafted on 3309 rootstock) from the six clones Adelsheim had sent to them and had 7,890 plants delivered to Calkins Lane in time to be planted in the spring of 1995. These six one-acre clonal blocks are the heart of the Calkins Lane Pinot program.
Adelsheim Vineyard was founded in 1971 and is still family- and Oregon-owned. We create remarkable Pinot noir and Chardonnay wines with most of the grapes now coming from our ten estate vineyards in the Chehalem Mountains. The variations in the vineyard soils, elevations and mesoclimates give us important differences in ripening times and in the flavors, tannins, sugars and acidities of the grapes. Our wines always taste of their place. In the winery we are guided by traditional techniques and non-intervention, but we are also not afraid of experimentation to achieve our high goals. We were part of the founding of Oregon's wine industry and are still industry leaders, aiming to bring Oregon wines to the world while championing the traditions of collaboration and a focus on quality that have always been the hallmarks of the Willamette Valley wine community.