Thursday, November 14, 2013

Eola-Amity Hills AVA - Oregon

Eola-Amity Hills AVA

The Eola-Amity Hills AVA (established in August 2006) is an easy 45-minute drive from Portland, located nearly in the center of the Willamette Valley. Approximately 6 miles wide and 16 miles long, the AVA encompasses almost 40,000 acres, with more than 1,300 acres of grapes. Upper elevations are predominantly basaltic clay/loams called Jory, Nekia, and Gelderman, among others, while lower elevations contain sedimentary Steiwer, Chehulpum, and Helmick types.

Bjornson Vineyard were kind enough to respond to our questionnaire and send us a sample of their wine.

"Care for the Land, 
Make Exceptional Wine, 
Enjoy the Journey."

Name: Pattie and Mark Bjornson
Title: Owners
Winery: Bjornson Vineyard
AVA: Eola-Amity Hills

What should people think of when they hear about your AVA?

Eola-Amity Hills: Where you go when you're in it for the wine.

Willamette Valley pinot noir is uniquely expressive of the land. And within this beautiful realm, Eola-Amity wines stand out. They benefit from the powerful and consistent winds that come through the Van Duzer Corridor, one of the only places for cool Pacific winds to cross the Coast Range. This keeps the temperature lower at night. Vines are forced to work harder, and grapes benefit with a balance and acidity that makes them both drinkable now and long-lived.

The Eola/Amity Hills AVA produces more pinot grapes than anyplace else in the Willamette Valley. Wine tasters and wine tourists who make their way a little farther south are richly rewarded when they visit this largely untamed, largely untapped corner of the valley.

How is your winery alike or different from others in the AVA?

Our winery is similar to most of those in our AVA, in that we are a family-owned facility designed to process small lots with minimal handling. Like many wineries in Oregon, we promote conservation by generating renewable energy; however, we are the only winery in Oregon that harnesses both solar and wind energy. We farm sustainably to promote ecological balance in our vineyard, surrounding creeks and woodlands. Our new winery (opening fall 2014) will be one of the most energy efficient in Oregon!

What sets us apart from other tasting rooms is that we pour and sell both our Bjornson Vineyard estate wine, as well as Bjornson Vineyard designates made by other winemakers who purchase our fruit. It is interesting to taste the different winemaking styles imparted on grapes from one vineyard. Our tasting room will also feature winemakers who make wine at our new facility.

This gives our guests an opportunity to taste and purchase wine from several winemakers in a single, beautiful setting.

What should people expect when visiting your winery?

When guests visit our winery, they will most likely be served by the owners, Mark and Pattie Bjornson, who are actively involved in all facets of the farming and winemaking processes, and who are more than happy to discuss our practices in as much detail as you are interested.

Tasting Room Hours:

Currently we are open the weekends of Memorial Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving. We welcome tastings at other times by appointment (503) 877-8189.

Stop by and check out the construction of our new winery scheduled to open for harvest 2014. At that time our hours will be changing, please visit the Bjornson website for details or like us on Facebook.

Other Comments:

Bjornson Vineyard is part of a scenic 107-acre farm, located in Eola-Amity Hills, AVA, a sub-AVA of the Willamette Valley Oregon. The vineyard is planted with 28 acres of vines on volcanic soils (Jory/Nekia) ranging in elevation from 450-550 feet. Our mission is simple: care for the land, make exceptional wine, and enjoy life's journey. Our label art, Fire and Ice, represents our Icelandic heritage, as well as the magnificent volcanic and glacial forces that created the soils of Oregon's Willamette Valley. We invite you to visit our vineyard and enjoy the fruit of our journey.

Tasting Notes:

Bjornson Vineyard 2011 Edward Barrel Sample Pinot Noir

2011 Edward Barrel Selection Pinot Noir: named after Pattie's grandfather, a reserved but intense man, with a strong work ethic reflecting his Midwestern heritage; vibrant ruby red color; smoke, wood, red currant, and violet aromas; truffle, rhubarb, oregano, and vanilla flavors; silky mouthfeel; very drinkable now, but supple tannins mean you can lay it down for several years without worry;aged for 16 months in French Oak; cork closure; 13.1% ABV, SRP $40.00.

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Before we received the response from Bjornson Vineyard, we found a bottle of Bethel Heights Vineyard at our local wine store.

Bethel Heights Vineyard

Bethel Heights has stayed in the Casteel-Dudley-Webb family since their beginning in 1977. 70 acres planted to (and sustainably grown) Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Grüner Veltliner. Bethel Heights estate wines of the first vineyards to be certified Salmon Safe in 1997 and have been certified LIVE since 1999. Their winemaking emphasizes gentle handling and minimal intervention in order to best express the terroir of the vineyards sourced.

Tasting Notes
Bethel Heights Vineyard 2010 Estate Grown Pinot Noir

2010 Estate Grown Pinot Noir

Deeper dark ruby red color; cherry, violet, cinnamon, and oregano aromas; dark cherry, earthy green tea, subtle mint, and vanilla flavors; medium mouthfeel into a slightly tannic cedary finish; barrel aged 10 months in 33% new French oak; 3,042 cases produced; twist-off closure; 12.5% ABV; SRP $32.
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