Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Yamhill-Carlton AVA - Oregon

"Down to Earth"

Yamhill-Carlton AVA logo

The Yamhill-Carlton AVA is approximately 35 miles, or about a 70-minute drive, southwest of Portland, Oregon. AVA status was granted in 2004, though first allowed on a label for the 2003 vintage. Entirely contained within the Willamette Valley AVA, Yamhill-Carlton stretches nearly 60,000 acres, with more than 1,200 acres of vineyard. The vineyards are exclusively on hillsides between 200 and 1000 feet in elevation, to benefit from the oldest marine sedimentary based soils (a well-drained sandy loam extension of an old seabed). While Pinot Noir is what the region is best known for, other grapes produced include Chardonnay, Dolcetto, Early Muscat, Muscat Ottonel, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Meunier.

Soléna Estate

Laurent Montalieu and Danielle Andrus Montalieu purchased an 80- acre estate in 2000, naming it Soléna Estate.The vineyard is densely planted at 2400 vines per acre and is farmed with biodynamic principles to encourage a healthy site that will then fully express its terroir. After harvest, the grapes are hand-sorted, then move on to an array of small vessel, temperate controlled, fermentation tanks. The gravity flow winery system allows the wines to gently flow into the below-ground barrel room, where they age for over a year in a range of French oak barrels.

More recently, Danielle and Laurent added the spectacular 100-acre Hyland Vineyard to their portfolio, allowing them to showcase fruit from the McMinnville AVA. They now produce Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah and a late harvest Riesling from select vineyard sites around Oregon and Washington.
Name: Laurent Montalieu
Title: Winemaker and Co-owner (also winemaker for Hyland Estates and Northwest Wine Company, which all together produce over 120,000 cases from combined 625 acres of combined land holdings)

What should people think of when they hear about your AVA?
  • Yamhill Carlton is known for its shallow marine sedimentary soils and dark colored, black fruited Pinot Noirs with mineral notes. The area is home to many excellent quality wineries and a charming town in Carlton. 
How is your winery alike or different from others in the AVA?
  • We are alike in that Soléna’s 80-acre estate vineyard, Domaine Danielle Laurent, produces dark-fruited wines with excellent structure and minerality. 
  • Our farming philosophy makes us unique. We believe that “the land is more important than the hand” when it comes to winemaking so all of our vineyards are farmed using minimal intervention. Our Domaine Danielle Laurent is biodynamically farmed, which means additional investment and incorporation of practices honoring the natural cycles found in nature.
What should people expect when visiting your winery?
  • First and foremost, to enjoy wines that express place. Beginning in May 2014, we will host guests at our new state-of-the-art hospitality facility near the Domaine Danielle Laurent vineyard site.
Tasting room onsite? Hours or by appointment only?
  • Our current tasting room is open daily from 11 am to 5 pm. No appointment is necessary, although groups are encouraged to reserve in advance.
More information can be found on the Soléna Estate website, on Facebook, and Twitter.

Tasting Notes:
2011 Pinot Noir Domaine Danielle Laurent

2011 Pinot Noir Domaine Danielle Laurent

Very light ruby red color; subtle aromas of earth, cinnamon, cherry, and oregano; cherry, raspberry, rhubarb flavors; lighter bodied; medium, slightly tannic finish; nicely balanced, could use some more time in bottle; grapes were hand-harvested and hand-sorted, underwent cold maceration, 100% malolactic fermentation for 7 months, aged for 13 months in 37% new French oak, then bottled unfiltered and unfined; 1,200 cases; 13.7% ABV; cork closure; SRP $50.00.
Disclaimer: This wine was sent for review purposes.

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