YAMHILL-CARLTON | THE AVA
Officially established as an American Viticultural Area in 2004, the sub-appellation of the Yamhill- Carlton District is located in the northwest corner of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, lying inland approximately 40 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. At one time the site of orchards, nurseries, wheat and livestock farming, grape grower and winemakers first took note of the regions suitability to cool-climate Vitis vinifera farming in 1974 when grapes were first planted within the south-facing bowl contained within a series of horseshoe-shaped eroded hills. The moderate growing conditions have proved excellent for the farming of cool- climate varieties and Yamhill-Carlton is noted for producing excellent Pinot Noir.
SAVANNAH RIDGE | GEOLOGIC ANOMALY
While surveying the district for new ideal viticulture site in 2000, a particular ridge at an elevation of 200 to 400 feet was noted as having great potential. Rather than the undulating hills of the surrounding area, the ridge consisted of one broad face that was naturally landscaped with the coarse grasses and scattered tree growth typically found in savannahs. These areas typically receive seasonal or less-than-average rainfall. Further, core samples revealed an astonishingly consistent soil depth of 30 to 36 inches before meeting the ancient marine sediments that are a key feature of the Yamhill-Carlton district. It is a highly unusual and extremely fortuitous soil depth. Combined with the east to west geographical orientation of the ridge, this feature makes the area markedly different in the quality of grapes at harvest. This unusual happening makes Angela Vineyards unlike neighboring vineyards where varying soil depth produces uneven ripening, which necessitates the use of some over and under ripe fruit in winemaking. Grapes grown in vineyards on the Savannah Ridge ripen at precisely the same time and are usually harvested in one day.
ANGELA VINEYARD | 34 ACRES
The first 21 acres of the Clawson Creek Vineyard were planted in 2006 with Pinot Noir clones 777, Wadenswil and 115. An additional 13 acres were plantedin 2007, totaling 34 acres. Careful soil preparation, specifically designed to nourish the microorganisms located at the layer 30 to 36 inches below ground (where topsoil meets mother rock) – creates the critical component which gives expression to Pinot Noir. Labor-intensive shoot positioning (hand-straightening and pinning of individual shoot) along with exact canopy management ensure that every leaf of the vine is photo-synthetically active. Because of the uniqueness of the Savannah Ridge, the entire vineyard is usually harvested in one day.
The Wadenswil clone dominantly planted on this vineyard produces Pinot Noir with incredible aromatics that exhibit rose petal, tea leaf and lavender top notes. The Dijon 777 and 115 round out the base and middle notes with bright red fruits, soft, plush tannins and balanced with baking spice and pepper.