Oak Knoll Pinot Noir 1997
Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
The size, shape, and design of our Pinot Noir fermentors contribute to maximizing the extraction of aroma and flavor components from the grapes without sacrificing delicacy and finesse. The warm fermentation temperatures we strive for are easier to obtain and control in a closed top system. Prolonged skin contact is utilized since carbon dioxide naturally blankets the must in this controlled environment with the goal being to soften grape tannins and enhance the wine's texture and overall sense of balance.
Oak Knoll Winery
All four vineyards are located in the northern Willamette Valley to the west and southwest of Portland. Ellis Vineyard is situated on the southern slope of the Chehalem Mountain ridge in Yamhill County. Five Mountains Vineyard and Gemini Vineyard are located in the Chehalem foothills north of Ellis in Washington County. Echo Hill Vineyard is located on Pumpkin Ridge near Helvetia at the most northerly edge of the Willamette Valley appellation.
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About Willamette Valley
Named for the river that runs through the valley from Portland to Eugene, Willamette Valley is home to some of the best Pinot Noir vineyards in the Northwest. While along the same north/south line as Seattle, the Willamette Valley is protected from Pacific rains by the Coast Range on the western border and the Cascade Ranges to the east. Though sunshine is typically plentiful, rainfall can occasionally be tricky, and the wines here vary vintage to vintage. Within the Willamette Valley are are number of sub-regions, including McMinnville, Dundee and Yamhill.
The valley is known for its Pinots – Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. With a climate similar to Burgundy – in rainfall, sunlight hours and other climate factors – Pinot Noir has flourished here. Pinot Noir in Oregon produces wines that are fruit forward, yet complex, some with good agebility.
Other than Pinot Noir, many wineries grow Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. Pinot Gris from Oregon is delightful in its texture and food friendliness. Chardonnay in the valley adapts well to the cool climate and produces lean, elegant wines.
Oregon has long been an agricultural state, producing everything from hazelnuts to cattle. The Willamette Valley
in particular is a fertile basin for all sorts of produce. Not quite pegged as a wine state, in 1965, a UC Davis graduate named David Lett decided that the Willamette's climate mirrored that of Burgundy in France. With that in mind, he decided to plant some Pinot Noir
clones to see how they did. And a good gamble it was. The Willamette is now one of the only regions in the world to focus solely on Pinot Noir as its red variety. Also known for Chardonnay
and Pinot Gris
. The southern part of Oregon has been slower in delving into the world wine market, but has been making excellent strides with their Rhone style varietals, like Syrah
. There are also coastal regions producing promising wines.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.