2016 PINOT NOIR
Heritage Block, Clone 777, Freedom Hill vineyard
VINEYARD | FREEDOM HILL
BLOCK | HERITAGE BLOCK
CLONE | 777
APPELLATION | willamette valley
WINEMAKER | KEN WRIGHT
HARVEST DATE | SEPTEMBER 30, 2016
BOTTLING | AUGUST 2, 2017
ALCOHOL | 13.8%
PRODUCTION | 5 cases
Freedom Hill vineyard was originally planted in 1981 by Dan and Helen Dusschee. In the early years of the vineyard's existence, it was known as a structured, tannic and powerful Pinot noir. Jay McInerney called it the “Cabernet” of Pinot noir in the New Yorker. This tannic profile was greatly influenced by the hanging trellis system that was used. With this system, all the foliage cascades towards the vineyard floor, leaving the fruit fully exposed. This exposure to the sun caused thickening of the skins, which resulted in the much higher than usual tannin levels in the cellar. In the 1990s phylloxera destroyed the entire vineyard. At the time of replanting, we agreed to buy all the new plants for the vineyard so the Dusschees could invest in a vertical shoot-positioned trellis system. With this system, the fruit remained shaded in the early morning and late parts of the day. Freedom Hill is now of age once again with mature vines. The new trellis system has drastically changed the structure of the wine. Rather than needing years to shed aggressive tannins, the wines are immediately supple and lush. Our offering for this year's auction is the 777 Clone from the Heritage Block, a block that is perfectly positioned with southeast exposure at 400 feet elevation. The fruit was meticulously hand-sorted and 10% of whole cluster was added to the base of each fermenter. Fermentation took place in small scale, in a one and quarter ton open top fermenter. Fermentation was spontaneous with our house yeasts William Selyem and Syrah likely dominant. The result is a wine with the typical expected intensity of Freedom Hill and the lush black fruit we so often see from the 777 Clone.
40 years of winemaking have taught us a simple truth: source is everything. Established in rural Carlton, Oregon, Ken Wright Cellars is devoted to showcasing the inherent quality of selected vineyard sites. With a clarity and breadth that is unequaled by other varieties, we believe Pinot noir best expresses the character of these sites. Rather than stamping wine with a varietal trademark, Pinot noir is the ultimate vehicle for conveying the aroma, flavor and texture of the location in which it is grown. Ken Wright Cellars produces a single vineyard Pinot noir from 13 different vineyard sites in the Northern Willamette Valley.