Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ribbon Ridge AVA - Oregon

Ribbon Ridge AVA

Located 22 miles southwest of Portland, 4 miles northwest of Dundee and 40 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, the Ribbon Ridge AVA (established 2005) is the smallest AVA in Oregon and is entirely contained within the Chehalem Mountains AVA. The area consists of 3,350 acres of land area, with approximately 500 acres planted on the ridge to vines, within 20 vineyards. The AVA is distinguished by uniform, unique ocean sedimentary soils, with grape-growing hillsides that are slightly warmer and drier when compared to the adjacent valley floors. Ribbon Ridge's predominant grape varieties are Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay. Limited water supplies mean most vineyards are dry farmed.

Not much information is available on the Internet for this AVA - there is no single winegrowers association or the like. Unfortunately, we did not get a response from any of the producers, so did not get any insights from them.

Since we only found one Ribbon Ridge wine at our local wine store, from Patricia Green Cellars, they became our de facto representative winery for the AVA. :)

Patricia Green Cellars

This is a 52 acre estate, but is noted for producing a selection of Pinot Noirs from vineyards representing sites in the Ribbon Ridge, Dundee Hills, Chehalem Mountains, and the Yamhill-Carlton growing regions. All are dry-farmed. The wines are handled and manipulated as little as possible, with an emphasis on revealing the vineyards' terroir to the fullest extent possible.

Tasting Notes:
Patricia Green Cellars Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir

2011 Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir

Dark ruby red in color; truffle, rhubarb, oregano, and spice aromas; earth, black olive, cherry, tobacco and smoke flavors; medium mouthfeel into a silky finish; from 11 separate sections of younger vines (all planted between 1997-2001); 835 cases; 12.5% ABV; cork closure; SRP $30.
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1 comment:

  1. As a point of clarification, Ribbon Ridge is not contained entirely within the Chehalem Mountains but is a spur at the southwest portion and differs from the surrounding Chehalem Mountains, Red Hills and Yamhill Carlton AVA's in several significant ways.

    Here is detail from the official TTB Registry of Ribbon Ridge available on the TTB website:

    The proposed Ribbon Ridge
    viticultural area consists of a 3.5- by
    1.75-mile distinct ridge that is separate
    from the higher surrounding landmass.
    It has significant, marked drainage on
    all sides and is a single, evident
    landmass of uniform shape and
    composition that differs from the
    hillside sites in the vicinity. The
    petitioners decided to use physical
    features, soil, and to a lesser extent,
    elevation and climate, as the primary
    factors in defining the boundaries of the
    proposed area.
    Ribbon Ridge is a spur in the
    southwest part of the Chehalem
    Mountains, about east of Yamhill. The
    top of the ridge twists like a ribbon,
    hence the name. The petitioners
    provided evidence that Ribbon Ridge is
    an official location name in Oregon and
    the United States. It is registered in the

    Specifically, Ribbon Ridge is a distinct,
    natural, geological formation of
    eastward-tilted marine sedimentary
    strata dated to the upper Eocene. The
    Keasey Formation, exposed on the
    western side of the Ridge, is laminated
    to massive, pale gray, tuffaceous
    mudstone, to fine tuffaceous sandstone.
    The overlying Pittsburgh Bluffs
    Formation, exposed in the central and
    eastern side of the Ridge, is a massive
    to thick-bedded gray to tan, weathering,
    feldpathic litharenite with tuffaceous
    mudstone and sandstone. The
    petitioners assert that within the region
    Ribbon Ridge is unusual in the presence
    of only these two geological strata and
    the intact nature of these formations.
    Further, they contend that, because
    the ridge is ancient and stable, the soils
    from these fine sedimentary parent
    materials are well weathered and
    consequently are, on average, deeper in
    profile and more finely structured than
    soils in surrounding areas.
    As a consequence of its geological
    history, the soils of Ribbon Ridge are
    distinct from those of adjacent
    vineyards in several significant ways.
    Unlike the Chehalem Mountains to the
    north and east, the soils of ribbon Ridge
    are entirely derived from marine
    sedimentary parent materials. They are
    distinctly different from the alluvial
    sedimentary soils that constitute, in part
    or entirely, areas to the east of Ribbon
    Ridge or to the south in the Chehalem
    Valley flood plain. They are different
    from the adjacent volcanic soils in the
    proposed Chehalem Mountains and Red
    Hills of Dundee American viticultural
    areas. The petitioners also offered
    evidence that the soils of Ribbon Ridge
    are related but distinctly different from
    the marine sedimentary hillsides
    (mainly Willakenzie and Peavine Series)
    to the west of Chehalem Creek Gorge in
    the proposed Yamhill-Carlton area in
    that they are younger, finer, and more
    uniform due to finer parent materials of
    sandstone, siltstone, and mudstone.