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    Estate Eola-Amity Hills - Chardonnay

    Type of wine
    type of wineWit
    Grape variety
    Eola-Amity Hills
    Eikenhout foudre 500L+
    Whole bunch press, zonder koude settling start de gisting op eikenhout met het natuurlijke gist

    Chardonnay | verschillende wijngaarden | vulkanische bodem | whole bunch press | gisting en 10 maanden rijping in nieuwe 500l Stockinger vaten | daarna 6 maanden rijpen in rvs | reductief | smokey | geel cirtus fruit | decanteren

    Evening Land

    Evening land is nog een project van Rajat Parr en Sashi Moorman. De wijngaard, Seven Springs Vineyard, is in 1984 gestart door de pioneer in Oregon Al MacDonald. Er staat Chardonnay, Pinot Noir en Gamay aangeplant en de wijngaarden worden vanaf 2007 biodynamisch bewerkt. Vanaf 2014 zijn Rajat en Sashi volledig in charge over Evening Land. De etiketten zijn vernieuwd en de weg naar nog meer kwaliteit is verder ingeslagen. Het groeiseizoen hier is kort, dus volledig anders dan wijnmaken in de Santa Rita Hills. De AVA Eola-Amity Hills heeft vulkanische, stenige bodems die rijk zijn aan ijzer; decomposed basalt. De meeste wijngaarden zijn oostelijk georiënteerd. De ‘Van Duzer Corridor’ is erg belangrijk voor de temperatuur, omdat koele wind vanuit de Stille oceaan de warme zonnige middagen afkoelt. Door de bodem krijg je hoge stokken met grote trossen en door de warmte dikke schillen. Voor de Pinot Noir wordt het grootste deel ontsteelt. De rode wijnen worden gemaakt als een infusie, dus geen pigeage of remontage. Zoals bij Dani Landi in Gredos, dit om niet te veel tannines en bitters uit de dikke schillen te extraheren. 


    The style at Evening Land continues to evolve. Tasting through the 2017s with winemaker Sashi Moorman, we discussed the changes at the estate, beginning with a new focus on Chardonnay. “We have really invested in Chardonnay,” Moorman says, “and it’s now about 35% of our production.” In the past, the Chardonnays at Evening Land have shown fair amounts of gunflint and struck match-like reduction, although the 2017s are more open-knit and giving right off the bat than vintages I’ve tasted in the past. While it has been argued that this type of reduction is part of terroir, or necessary for long cellar aging, Moorman says those characteristics come from the fermentative process. “Sometimes it can come from site, but it really comes from issues with fermentation, like low nutrients,” he explains. “With our reds, we don’t ever want any reduction. With the Chardonnays, we make them reductively but try not to have them be super reduced. I’m OK with them being a tad reductive. We want them to be ageable for sure. There was a time Rajat [Parr, co-proprietor and co-winemaker] and I both loved that reductive quality. And I get nostalgic for it. But for a lot of people who’ve never had Coche Dury, they don’t get that, they don’t have that nostalgia.” I asked whether whole cluster use has evolved over the years. “Our whole cluster usage depends,” Moorman says. “The last vintage, we did the layering of whole bunches in the center of the fermenter. It’s very different from Domaine de la Côte, where we have a much stronger stem program. Here, we have discovered that, particularly with our largest cuvée, the Estate Pinot Noir, we want the wine to be showy on release. It doesn’t make sense to push the wine into a backwards position.” As a former sommelier, I worry often about pricing in Oregon. Although there are very high-quality wines being made, average prices for Pinot Noir hover around $60 a bottle and many are in the triple digits. As a lover of Oregon wine, how can I convince a neophyte to try a bottle, when the initial investment is so high? Moorman says they have reduced the pricing of their largest cuvée, the Seven Springs Estate Pinot Noir, to about $35, a savvy move. “That’s one thing that’s missing in the market right now,” Moorman says. “There should be hundreds of Pinot Noirs at the $30-$35 price range and there aren’t, and that hurts Oregon as a global category. To me, it’s so important to be able to deliver quality at a good price point. It’s very hard to do that in California now. The leading calling card for the Oregon wine industry is price point. People hate it because they want to be taken seriously, but it’s asking too much too fast. Great Burgundy didn’t used to be expensive. Here, we can hold our prices down because farming and vineyard development is far less expensive. There’s no limitation to how much wine can be produced here, versus places like Napa and Sta. Rita Hills that are small, finite areas. Willamette is a huge area, so there should be a lot of affordable wines. It’s a lot more like the Mâconnais or Côte Chalonnaise. More vineyards could be planted on the exact same terroir and microclimate, and we could spread the wine to all corners of the planet and position ourselves globally. It’s a huge opportunity for Oregon that isn’t being taken advantage of. Estate wines at affordable prices—that’s how we will make the difference.” Another exciting development at Evening Land is their first set of sparkling wines, which are some of the best I’ve tasted from the US. The vins clairs are produced at the winery, and tirage is performed in Petaluma, California, by Michael Cruse. “There is great potential for making more compelling, dynamic sparkling wines in Oregon,” says Moorman, although he points out that start-up costs are prohibitive. “It would cost something like half a million dollars to make 1,300 cases of serious sparkling wine,” he explains. “You need multiple vintages of vins clairs stored up—that’s seven or eight years’ worth of wine you can’t sell—just to get started. It’s a huge initial investment. And Oregon has become so synonymous with Pinot Noir that it’s very difficult to market anything else. If a big house like Roederer came in and made an investment in sparkling wine here, I think we’d see a lot more people making serious sparkling in Oregon.”