Colene Clemens Dopp Creek Pinot Noir 2015
#7 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2018
Dopp Creek represents the broadest combined expression of our Estate vineyard, and embodies our most approachable and versatile wine. Bright red fruits and lifted aromas of baking spice dominate the nose of the wine and carries through on the palate with juicy, supple structure supporting it through a clean finish. This wine drinks beautifully now, and holding onto a few bottles for the next four to six years will also prove delicious.
Located in the western end of Dopp Road where the Chehalem Mountains converge with Ribbon Ridge, this 122-acre property was acquired in 2005 and first planted in 2006. Starting at 350ft of elevation and rising to 650ft, this rocky south facing hillside is a mix sedimentary and volcanic soils, predominantly Wellsdale and Witzel. Current plantings now total 40 acres divided up among 5 different clones of Pinot Noir, 3 Dijon as well as Pommard and Wadensvil.
Colene Clemens farming practices can best be described as sustainable, utilizing organic methods whenever possible. They put a heavy influence on soil work and incorporate a lot of “green” manure as well as the production and application of their own compost. Colene Clemens is a firm believer in low yields and as such have practiced extreme crop reduction through both conservative, short pruning and green harvesting. All fruit is hand harvested at optimal physiological ripeness and picked into quarter-ton macrobins for transport up to the winery.
The Chehalem Mountains is a northwest-southeast span of several distinct mountains, ridges and peaks in the northern part of the Willamette Valley. Of all of Willamette Valley's smaller AVAs, it is closest to the city of Portland. Its highest summit, Bald Peak at an elevation of 1,633 feet, serves to generate cooler air for the rest of the AVA and its hillside vineyards. The region covers 70,000 acres but only 1,600 acres are planted to vines; soils of the Chehalem Mountains are a mix of basalt, ocean sediment and loess.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”