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Happenings & Musing from the Eola-Amity Hills.

Evening Land Vineyards ELV
August 23, 2019

Fans of Evening Land know we are proud to farm roughly 10% of all the Gamay planted in the Willamette Valley. From our old-vines Gamay, planted in 1988 to our 'young vines' planted in 2003, the Gamay comprises a small portion of our acreage yet looms large in the hearts of our customers. 

After the 2017 vintage, our 1.1 acres of heavily phylloxerated old-vines Gamay needed to be removed. With decreasing yields and diminishing vine health, the time had finally come to bid farewell to these stalwarts of Seven Springs. Knowing this day would eventually come, we wisely saved cuttings from our winter pruning in 2017 and shipped them to Martinez Orchards, a nursery in the Sacramento Delta of California, for grafting and propagation. 

Winemaker Ben DiCristina personally ventured down to California's central valley to bring our Gamay seedlings back home and as we planted these new, healthy plants which came from our historic old vines, we ushered in the next chapter of Gamay here in the Eola-Amity Hills. Ben also shared his photo journal of the voyage with us. Enjoy!

CLICK HERE to purchase our 2018 Gamay Noir

 

 

 

 

Aug 23, 2019 at 8:43 AM
Evening Land Vineyards ELV

By far, the number one question all of us at Evening Land get asked is some version of “We’re visiting Oregon! Any recommendations on where we should stay/eat/visit?”

And we do have recommendations…TONS of them. But it always gets clunky when we say “Absolutely, here’s my card, email me and I’ll send you a list” or even worse “Do you have a pen? Let me write down some places for you”…invariably on the back of an envelope or something likely to get lost.

We all wanted an elegant solution to our clunky responses and a better way to share our favorite places in Portland and in the Willamette Valley. And with a little help from our friend and illustrator, Blake Suárez, we now have our own little City Mouse and Country Mouse to help you navigate our team’s favorite places.

Next time you run into anyone from Evening Land, whether in our tasting room or in some far-flung locale and you mention you’re headed to Oregon…well, we’ll be ready with our favorites.

DISCLAIMER - Not all our favorites could fit on this card, but it's a solid start to a great visit.

Jun 12, 2019 at 9:14 AM
Evening Land Vineyards ELV

Great Wine is Made in the Vineyard

This is a maxim one hears so often in the world of fine wine. But what does it mean to you, the wine drinker, with a glass of Evening Land Pinot Noir in-hand? Our historic Seven Springs Estate Vineyard is cared for and farmed by an exceptionally talented farmer named Jessica Cortell. Jessica, along with a host of other talented farmers is featured in this month's Oregon Wine Press profiling a remarkable group of women turning a male-dominated industry on its heels.  


photo by Kathryn Elsesser

We asked Evening Land winemaker Ben DiCristina 'How does Jessica's work in Seven Springs show up in a glass of Evening Land wine?'

"She is most concerned with the health of the vines and works diligently to make sure each vine achieves optimum health. She does this so that the shoots and flowers are strong and the fruit sets well. Throughout the growing season, she works hard to keep disease at bay and has really dialed this in over the past few vintages, despite many of our neighbors suffering great losses year after year. Towards harvest, she wants the canopy (the shoots and leaves on the vine) to remain strong so that ripening is not delayed. Jessica leaves no stone unturned to maintain the health of the vine"

Jessica likes to say "Don't just grow a vine, grow wine". This simple, seven-word sentiment holds within it a great truth that many lifelong grape growers never realize. We partner with Jessica and trust her to nurture and farm Seven Springs because she understands and enjoys the challenge of growing great wine, not just a vine. So next time you open a bottle of Evening Land, take a moment to appreciate the passionate and thoughtful vine-by-vine approach Jessica brings to every glass of our wine. 

Click HERE to read the great feature in Oregon Wine Press and HERE to visit Jessica's website. 

 

Jun 4, 2019 at 6:04 AM
Evening Land Vineyards ELV

 

Look to the Future

Energy, vitality, tension, and freshness. How do these traits manifest in wine? How do they enhance our enjoyment of wine when young? How do they presage age-worthiness and promote a slow, compelling evolution in bottle? We spend a lot of time thinking about these traits and asking ourselves these questions. With the launch of our sparkling wine program at Evening Land, we take another important step in deepening our understanding of these traits and of the Seven Springs Vineyard.

Seeing Seven Springs, presented through the prism of traditionally-crafted sparkling wine, demonstrates these traits in a way that is all at once new, promising, and thrilling. 

Add Evening Land's first ever Sparkling Blanc de Noirs to your cellar!
 

la Fôret - The Energetic Core of Seven Springs

At the summit of Seven Springs sits a minuscule and stunningly picturesque field of Pinot Noir we call ‘la Fôret’ (The Forest). Here, the vibrant green leaves of Pinot Noir vines are held in relief against the dark green needles of towering Douglas fir. Even in warm vintages - with which we’ve been blessed of many as of late - the vines on the edge of la Fôret struggle to ripen satisfactorily for a still Pinot Noir because they are shaded for parts of the day. In the 2015 vintage, we began the tedious work of hand-harvesting those shaded edges of la Fôret intentionally early and we embarked on serious and long-term sparkling wine program at Evening Land.

Crafting a compelling sparkling wine is a remarkably difficult endeavor. Harvest for sparkling wine usually happens 12 to 18 days before the harvest for still wines. Therefore you must begin with fruit that demonstrates compelling flavors and the capacity for great complexity at a very early point in the ripening process. In la Fôret, where the ripening process is slow and gradual, the fruit possesses these traits which become the essential building blocks of a promising sparkling wine.
 

The Craft - Patience and Expertise

The patience and expertise required to complete the laborious processes of tirage and disgorgement are rare but essential in the pursuit of great sparkling wine. We are aided in this effort by our friendship with Michael Cruse. His dedication to finishing sparkling wines is second-to-none. We first began working with Michael in the 2012 vintage at Sandhi and the resulting wines gave us the confidence to pursue this project at Evening Land in partnership with him.

 

The Wine - 2015 Seven Springs Blanc de Noirs

The 2015 Seven Springs Blanc de Noirs is energetic and focused, with bright-fruited aromas and notes of Alpine berries and botanicals. The refined mousse glosses the palate with richness and carries through flavors of citrus, toasted hazelnut skin, and ripe berries to a lively finish.

Hand-harvested Pinot Noir was gently pressed into neutral barrels. After fermentation, the wine was bottled sur lie and aged in bottle (under crown cap) for 3 full years before being disgorged by hand this past winter. The wine is classified as 'Brut Nature' or 'naturally dry' as there is no sugar added in the dosage before the bottle is closed with cork and cage. 

 

The Label

Our rocky, volcanic soils imbue all of our Seven Springs wines with character and minerality. We felt it appropriate to give that special soil center stage and emblazon our sparkling wine labels with a microscopic image of our soils. Seen in deep detail, the crystal formations of silica tetrahedrons show our weathering and decomposing volcanic soils here in the Eola-Amity Hills. 

 

 

 

Apr 30, 2019 at 5:00 AM
Evening Land Vineyards ELV

What other wine region gets up off the couch and brings a contingent all the way across the continent for your enjoyment? We're hitting the road along with many of our Willamette Valley neighbors in celebration of Oregon Wine Month. 



BOSTON - May 2nd

Pinot in the City comes to Boston for the very first time! Evening Land is part of a cohort of 50 wineries descending on the commonwealth to pour our wines for consumers. Join us at The Castle at Park Plaza on Thursday, May 2nd for an evening of terrific Oregon wine. 

GET TICKETS


WASHINGTON, D.C. - May 7th

Nothing elicits bipartisan joy better than a room full of terrific Oregon wine. We are excited to partner with Zachys in Washington D.C. to host an intimate evening with some tremendous wines. We'll be joined by our neighbors at Bethel Heights, Cristom, St. Innocent, Argyle, Brooks, and Elk Cove!

GET TICKETS

Apr 15, 2019 at 5:44 AM
Julian Elam
March 5, 2019

Whale Watching

While large cetaceans may not be among the first things that come to mind when planning a wine tasting trip, the Oregon Coast happens to be one of the best places in the world to spot whales. Every spring, 20,000 gray whales migrate north from Baja, Mexico to Alaska, passing the Oregon coast along the way. The deep waters of Depoe Bay are a particularly reliable whale-watching hub, located just an hour and 15 minutes southwest of the heart of wine country. On your way to the ocean, you’ll drive straight through the Van Duzer Corridor, a coastal valley crucial to the diurnal rhythms that help generate the distinctive acidity of the wines at Seven Springs Vineyard.

 

Skiing

Spring is the ideal time of year to take a detour to the volcanic peaks of the Cascade Range, where late-season storms can deposit feet of powder before dissipating into bluebird skies that make for conditions straight out of a skier’s rêverie. Mt. Hood boasts the longest ski season in North America, with operations continuing through Memorial Day thanks to the stubborn snow of the Palmer Glacier on the 11,245-foot stratovolcano’s south flank. Meanwhile, Mt. Bachelor offers a cornucopia of dry powder and sunny days in Central Oregon’s high desert. The city of Bend, OR - only minutes away from the mountain - also offers a stimulating après-ski scene, replete with craft breweries, restaurants, and art galleries.   

 

Wildflowers

The two colors visitors associate most prominently with Oregon tend to be green (for the state’s plentiful Douglas firs) and grey (for the wet weather). However, as winter begins to loosen its grip, a majestic abundance of hues blossoms everywhere from the alpine meadows of the Cascade Range to the urban parks of Portland. For a slightly off-the-beaten-path experience, visit Camassia Natural Area in West Linn, where glades of brilliant blue-violet common camas illuminate a rocky plateau. Further afield, the Mosier Plateau east of Hood River offers a stunning palate of yellow balsamroot and purple lupine blooms amidst golden grasses overlooking the Columbia River Gorge.

 

Eating

Even though spring in Portland can be quite wet, a few raindrops never get in the way of gastronomic indulgences. Luckily, the city has one of the most impressive concentrations of quality restaurants in the United States, and March happens to be Portland Dining Month. Throughout the month, chefs all over the city celebrate Portland’s culinary delights by offering unique 3-course meals for $33. This year, Evening Land favorites Davenport and Jacqueline are participating, along with a host of other top establishments. It’s a great opportunity to sample the cutting edge of Portland’s food scene on the cheap.  

 

Waterfalls

Spring’s higher temperatures cause snow to melt high up in the mountains, feeding the Northwest’s numerous waterfalls, which surge and roar spectacularly at this time of year. Panther Creek Falls, located on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge, is a less-traveled, complex waterfall cascading 136 feet over two mossy tiers and easily accessible via a 1-mile hike. Hug Point Falls, located five miles south of Cannon Beach, is another hidden wonder. Though decidedly small at only 15 feet, this waterfall drops directly onto a wild and picturesque cliff-lined beach. Be sure to visit at low tide otherwise, you’ll find the beach covered by the frigid Pacific. 

Mar 5, 2019 at 8:03 AM
Julian Elam
February 28, 2019

The 2011 vintage began forebodingly but finished with panache. Referred to as a
“miracle” by many in the Willamette Valley, 2011 was a precariously late vintage by
many measures, yet Evening Land’s wines still blossomed into singular specimens with
great freshness and complexity.

Following an unusually cold winter, spring conditions finally arrived in June, and bloom did not occur until July. However, a warm September turned what could have been a catastrophic harvest into one of the most unique vintages we’ve seen here in the Eola-Amity Hills. Revisiting these wines eight
years later is a fascinating study in what makes our Seven Springs vineyard so special, for even in a
challenging year, the quality of place persisted and prevailed against all odds to produce a
delicate vision of our extraordinary vineyard.


2011 SSV Estate Chardonnay

Hailing in part from young vines, this bottling’s refinement belies the age of its source
material. Proffering a pale gold robe and a nose hinting at lemon, Evening Land’s 2011
Estate Chardonnay still courses with vitality in the mouth; citrus notes, brisk acid, and
saline pome fruit zip through a creamy texture and land on a long finish laced with
suggestions of chalk and minerals. Drink now.


2011 SSV Estate Pinot Noir

The 2011 Estate Pinot Noir is a wonderfully elegant cross-section of Seven Springs’
distinctive terroir that encompasses plantings from all over the vineyard. Derived
predominantly from old-vine, own-rooted Pommard and a blend of three other clones,
this wine has retained its freshness while developing a sophisticated complexity in its
maturity. In the glass, the cuvée’s rich red color has earned a subtle brick patina from its years in bottle. Opening expressively with some earthiness followed by cherry and spice on the nose, this wine demonstrates restrained and balanced vigor on the palate. Succulent acidity and salt work in concert with distinct traces of herbs, exceptionally smooth texture, and a lovely weight to attain a remarkable equilibrium of beguiling depth, energy, and purity. Drink now or revisit in another 2-5 years.

Feb 28, 2019 at 11:15 AM
Julian Elam
February 15, 2019

COFFEE

The only thing more synonymous with Portland than rain is coffee! We are as serious about great coffee as we are about great wine. 

Heart



What sets Heart apart from dozens of other Portland roasters is the meticulous and
unbending care lavished upon every detail at all stages of the coffee production process.
This devotion to the craft produces technical roasts of wonderful complexity and balance,
traits that are on full display in the café’s pour-overs and espresso drinks. The downtown
location’s
outside tables are also a great spot for people watching.


Cloudforest



Fastidiously designed and sparsely furnished with pastel accents, Cloudforest is equal
parts art installation, chocolate factory, and coffee shop. Through a window near the
shop entrance, visitors can glimpse virtually the entire chocolate making process, from
roasting to packaging. At the bar, ask the barista for a luscious, umami-laden maple
drinking chocolate topped with sea salt and served in cheerfully colored ceramics sourced
from local artists. Indulge even further with a sumptuous house-made cookie, featuring
single origin chocolate from founder Sebastian Cisneros’ native Ecuador.

Feb 15, 2019 at 7:41 AM
Evening Land Vineyards ELV
February 13, 2019

HISTORY IN YOUR GLASS

It is impossible to set foot in Seven Springs Vineyard and not feel a deep connection to Oregon’s rich history. Vines planted at the outset of the 1980s stand as proud reminders of the vineyard’s role in making the Eola-Amity Hills a world-class winegrowing region. We know each time we harvest these vines, we are just a small chapter in the story of this great vineyard.

For its first 24 vintages, grapes from Seven Springs were sold to many important Oregon wineries. 

INAUGURAL VINTAGES

Pinot Noir from the old vines at Seven Springs played an important role in the inaugural vintages of 2 seminal Oregon producers. Before Evesham Wood founder Russ Raney planted his now famous Le Puits Sec estate vineyard in 1989, he bottled his first vintage of Pinot Noir with fruit purchased from Seven Springs in 1986. Evesham Wood would go on to bottle Seven Springs vineyard designate Pinot Noir for much of the 1990s and early 2000s.

The 1992 vintage marked the beginning of what would become one of Oregon’s most recognizable wineries. Cristom bottled both a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and Reserve Pinot Noir in the 1992 vintage with fruit from the old vines at Seven Springs. Winemaker Steve Doerner’s thoughtful notes from Cristom’s earliest vintages can still be accessed online. They offer a fascinating time capsule of many classic Oregon vintages.

VINEYARD DESIGNATION

To the best of our knowledge, 1990 marked the first vintage the name ‘Seven Springs Vineyard’ was designated on a wine label. Both Adelsheim and St. Innocent bottled Seven Springs Vineyard-designate Pinot Noir in the 1990 vintage. 

These two bottlings began an uninterrupted stretch of vintages that continues today, prominently placing the name Seven Springs on the front label of every bottle of wine.

THE WINE TODAY

These same old vines now form Evening Land’s Seven Springs Pinot Noir. Our 2016 vintage is a sublime and brilliant Pinot Noir. The signature smokiness of our volcanic soils hovers over a fine balance of bright red fruits and subtle savory aromas. The old vines imbue the wine with complexity and subtlety impossible to achieve from younger vines.

It is a privilege to farm and make wine from these old vines. Our responsibility as stewards of this site feels greater with each passing vintage and with each new chapter of the vineyard we discover. We thank you for making a place for our wines in your cellar and we invite you to visit us on your next trip to Oregon’s Eola-Amity Hills.

Feb 13, 2019 at 11:50 AM
Evening Land Vineyards ELV
January 28, 2019

Evening Land's very first sparkling wine has arrived! Today (1/29/19) we release our 2015 Seven Springs Blanc de Blancs to our mailing list. The wine will be poured in our tasting room beginning in March. Read on to learn the backstory behind the incredible process that goes into making classic, méthode champenois sparkling wine. 

The Wine


THE BASE WINE

All sparkling wine begins with a 'base wine' or a 'still wine', The 2015 Seven Springs Blanc de Blancs is composed of 100% Chardonnay from block 9 of our estate vineyard, Seven Springs. 
 
We harvest fruit for sparkling wine much earlier than we would for still wines. We harvested this Chardonnay at 17 brix, which is about 2 weeks before we would have picked it for regular, still wine. As a point of reference, the brix level for grapes destined to be bottled as still Chardonnay are harvested in the range of 22-23 brix. Another way to consider the difference in the maturity of these grapes is to understand that we harvest the Chardonnay for sparkling wine 10-14 days before we harvest Chardonnay for still wine.

The grapes are gently pressed into neutral barrels where the Chardonnay juice undergoes a natural and spontaneous fermentation. The wine remained in barrel for 7 months before we sent it to our good friend Michael Cruse in Petaluma, California for the laborious process of TIRAGE and DISGORGEMENT.


TIRAGE

Step 1: Bottle the base wine and seal with a crown cap (like the metal tops on soda bottles). This bottling is done immediately upon receipt of the base wine without any settling or clarifying. We want those lees (yeast cells) to live in each bottle, undergoing a slow, enzymatic self-destruction that builds long and luscious flavor protein chains...the building block of the wine's texture.

Step 2: Prepare the bottles for disgorgement and corking. Riddling is the time-intensive process here. It involves slowly twisting the and angling the bottles downwards towards the neck so the solids fall to opening of the bottle. Below, Michael is in the midst of riddling racks checking to see where the sediment sits in the bottle.



Step 3: Disgorgement and corking under the traditional mushroom cork and cage we're all familiar with. The necks of each bottle are frozen and the crown cap is popped off, jettisoning the tiny frozen bits of lees and solids that have been dutifully riddled to the top of the bottle. This would normally be the moment where dosage is added, but this wine is 'non-dosage' meaning totally dry. 


ENJOYMENT

Now the wine is ready to enjoyed or cellared. Sparkling wines crafted in this traditional method are at their most effervescent immediately after bottling. With time the bubbles slowly decrease in size and intensity. If you are a regular drinker of Grower Champagnes you know that through careful sleuthing you can glean the vintage or vintages of the base wine and subtract it from the disgorgement date to deduce the time the wine spent on the lees. You can also subtract the disgorgement date from the date you pop the cork to determine how fine or effusive the bubbles may be. If you're on the hunt for a rich, nutty, and biscuity bottle of bubbly, look for a late disgorgement date. If you're desperately in need of something bright, bracing, and zippy, seek out a bottle who's vintage and disgorgement are both very recent. 

  


THE LABEL

Our label is a microscopic photograph of silica tetrahedrons. This is the parent rock of our weathering, volcanic clay soils here in the Eola-Amity Hills. These volcanic soils imbue all our Chardonnay, both sparkling and still, with energy and an exciting thread of minerality that makes the wines come alive in your glass. 

Jan 28, 2019 at 12:11 PM
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