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Happenings & Musing from the Eola-Amity Hills.

Evening Land Vineyards ELV
August 22, 2017

The 2015 Vintage

These are heady times indeed for lovers of Oregon wine and we feel no area of the Willamette Valley was better poised to make the most of 2015 than the east-facing slopes of the Eola-Amity Hills. 2015 had all the trappings of a noteworthy season: sunshine, drought conditions, a late season heat wave, and a
harvest free from rain. Warm and dry conditions produce wines of opulence and richness. We worked hard to balance these factors with finesse and charm to create age-worthy wines that continue the great tradition of Seven Springs.

The Wines

With undeniable quality for a second straight year, it's a delight to dig into the differences between the vintages. As we've evaluated the '14s over the past year, the term 'textbook' kept cropping up. Whether tasted blind, with food, in a comparative line-up, or for sheer enjoyment, Evening Land's 2014 vintage is 'classic Oregon' in every sense. The weight, tannin, acidity, finish, and aromatic profile all speak of a sun-soaked growing season in these volcanic hillsides.

The 2015 vintage sees all of the traits of classic Oregon Pinot Noir turned up a notch. The color is brighter, the palate is weightier, the fruit purity more pronounced on both the nose and the palate, and the wines in their youth are - dare we say it - a touch showy and opulent.

For the Pinot Noir, this increased ripeness caused us to dial back the use of new oak ever so slightly in 2015. The purity of fruit shows with tremendous clarity as a result of this decision. For our Chardonnays, we brought the elegant influence of the larger Austrian puncheons to both the Summum and La Source cuvées this year. We were astounded by the 2014 Summum and are happy to confirm that the La Source Chardonnay reacted just as beautifully to these new Stockinger puncheons in the '15 vintage.

The Standard Bearer

The four bottlings which comprise our Reserve Case are all standouts again in 2015. Upon release, the Reserve Case is the only configuration that includes our Summum Chardonnay and Anden Pinot Noir bottlings. These incredibly small production cuvées were both down in volume from the 2014 vintage. It fills us with angst to have less of our best wines to offer, but we are thrilled with the quality across our top tier of wines.

 

The Estate Wines

Our Seven Springs wines are tradition-bound, classic examples of Oregon Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Gamay Noir. One whiff of the 2015 Seven Springs Pinot Noir and it's understandable why this is our most popular bottling. The bright fruit notes hover in suspension with the savory expressions of forest floor and mushroom, coalescing at the finish with wonderfully integrated tannins. 

The Seven Springs Chardonnay had the benefit of being raised in once-used puncheons from the 2014 Summum. This new barrel format, combined with the stellar growing season resulted in a generously textured wine with a bright, racy core. Sadly, as with the other Chardonnay cuvées, quantities are lower in 2015. The Gamay Noir gives us our first peek ahead at the 2016 vintage. What a year it was. Our 3 humble acres of Gamay put on quite a show, offering up a decidedly juicier, weightier, and more unctuous expression of the vineyard.

Aug 22, 2017 at 11:25 AM
Evening Land Vineyards ELV

Our understanding of Seven Springs grows day by day, block by block, row by row, and vine by vine. In approaching Seven Springs' oldest vines, we look back at this vineyard's rich history.

How Anden Came to Be

For a brief period, following the divorce of Seven Springs founders Al MacDonald and Joni Weatherspoon, the vineyard was cleaved in two. Joni retained the vineyard's upper half and the name Seven Springs, while Al christened the lower portion 'Anden', an elision of their children's names; Andrew & Kristen.

The lower half of the vineyard is home to Seven Springs' original plantings and thusly its oldest vines. Planted in 1984, here you find Pommard and Wädenswil clones of Pinot Noir planted on their own roots. These vines represent the origins of what would become one of Oregon's benchmark sites.

For the diligent wine sleuth among you, there can still be found bottles of Anden Vineyard Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and even Gamay from the 2002 through 2006 vintages. St. Innocent, Torii Mor, Patricia Green and Amity all produced Anden vineyard-designate bottlings.

Evening Land's Anden Pinot Noir

Our Anden Pinot Noir celebrates the history of Seven Springs', focusing on the oldest corner of the vineyard as it slowly succumbs to the ravages of phylloxera. Here, at mid-slope, the first Pinot Noir vines planted at Seven Springs still produce a delicate and savory wine. We hand-harvest the smallest and most beautiful clusters from the oldest and most disease-stricken vines then ferment them on the stems. We raise the wine in 100% new Ermitage barrels and bottle the wine without filtration. The resulting wine is delicate, fragile, and transfixing: a subdued and timeless interpretation of Pinot Noir that contrasts well with the more forthright and taut La Source bottling.

 

TASTING NOTES

Opening with a lightly smoky, match-strike reductive nose that continues into the palate, this wine transforms with air into meaty, savoury notes with hints of graphite that are delicious. At its core are dark berries with fresh-cut bramble and loads of sapidity. The tannins are fine and resolved alongside glittering acidity and plenty of length. This wine continues to evolve and drink well, long into day five after opening, which speaks very well to its ageing potential. While still well balanced with fruit, this is the most savoury of the Evening Land Vineyard Pinots in a way that is very pleasing. Carries the oak seamlessly.
 
I am impressed with this wine.
-Elaine Chukan Brown  
JancisRobinson.com

Jun 15, 2017 at 11:03 AM
Evening Land Vineyards ELV

Gamay is not the first grape variety that springs to mind when someone says 'Oregon.' Our region has spent the better part of the last four decades making itself synonymous with Pinot Noir. But our volcanic soils and increasingly warm growing seasons lend themselves beautifully to the supple and quaffable Gamay grape.

The Old Vines

Planted 1986

It is a great privilege to farm some of the oldest Gamay vines; not just in Oregon, but in all of North America. Our old-vine, own- rooted Gamay comprises a miniscule portion of our planted acreage at
Seven Springs, but the resulting wine never fails to surprise and delight. These old vines contribute a deft structure and long finish to our final blend.

The Young Vines

Planted 2003

Across the vegetable garden and just beyond our biodynamic compost
windrows sits 2 acres of Gamay planted in 2003. These 'young vines.' sit on a gentle upslope and face back to the west. These grafted vines contribute that quaff-ability, fruitiness, and freshness so often associated with the Gamay grape.

May 5, 2017 at 10:49 AM
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