Balcombe Vineyard is a flagship for Patricia Green. PG has exclusive use of this organically farmed, 7.25-acre site. Planted in 1990 exclusively to the Pommard Clone of Pinot Noir in the deep, rich Volcanic soil known as Jory. This single-vineyard has five distinct sections. Picking on the same day for all section. But one particular section separates itself stylistically from the other four and is thus bottled separately. This bottling offers dark fruit, more intensity across the palate and greater tannic profile.
Since 2000, Patricia Green Cellars has been making Pinots Noir from vineyards representing some of the best sites in the Willamette Valley. In particular, their focus is on Ribbon Ridge, Dundee Hills, and the Chehalem Mountains sub-appellations. Patricia Green Cellars strives to produce Pinot Noir that shows the distinct characteristics of individual sites and vintages within the context of the wines.
The most famous of the Oregon wine country and for good reason: This is possibly the best place in the USA for Pinot Noir. The wines retain an elegance and class due to the cool climate and moist conditions.
This is the most elusive grape. It is relatively early ripening and extremely sensitive to terroir. Its perfect place on earth is the Cote d’Or in Burgundy. So haunting are great red Burgundy’s charms that growers everywhere try to emulate them. Pinot Noir is not just a one-trick pony, it can make great reds, rosé, sparkling and even sweet wines, whites on occasion and I’ve tasted a decent fortified Pinot Noir too.
America has a long history of making wine. The wines they are most famous for tend to be bold, brash and characterful. They are often high in alcohol and extract and make a huge impact in your mouth … and wallet. Due to exchange rates and America’s belief they make the best wine in the world, the pricing of most of their great wines puts it beyond all but the most committed collectors and drinkers.
When Europeans started exploring North America they were so impressed with the proliferation of grapes that they called the place Vinland. When they tasted the wine from these native grapes they immediately set out to replace the foul tastes with the more familiar and lovely flavours of Vitis vinifera. Hence the American wine industry was born.
Everything and anything is made. If they can make it in Europe then the Americans can do it much better. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet and Zinfandel are a focus, with some interesting Riesling coming on stream too.
The judgement of Paris The American wine industry received a massive boost when Steven Spurrier (now of Decanter) arranged two blind tasting events with some prestigious wine critics. The idea was to compare Classic French Cabernet and Chardonnay to the up and coming producers of California. Removed from label snobbery and the bias that comes with it, the judges awarded the American wines the best in both varieties stated. It was an embarrassment to the established wine aristocracy in Europe and a major boost to the American market which has not looked back.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is pretty special. It contains everything you need to make grape wine. Except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product. This includes the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. This is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
Fun fact; most of the colour for wines comes from the skins. There are only a handful of grapes that have red juice. Alicante is the most well known of these grapes.
By macerating the juice on the skins the wine gains tannins, and flavours. There are also certain compounds that change the chemistry of the wine too.
Red wines tend to have higher alcohol. More tannin and more oak flavours compared to other styles of wine. But the thousands of grapes and terroirs they grow in influence this.