Ken Wright Cellars Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Over 40 years of wine making has taught Ken a simple truth: source is everything. Located, in rural Carlton, Oregon, Ken Wright Cellars is devoted to producing wine that showcase the inherent quality of world class vineyard sites. With a clarity and breadth that is unequaled, Pinot noir is the ultimate vehicle for conveying the aroma, flavor and texture of the location in which it is grown.
In 1986, with family, belongings and 10 barrels in tow, Ken moved to McMinnville and started Panther Creek Cellars. His concept of focusing on vineyard-designate bottling began during those years at Panther Creek and this was cemented as a core philosophy in 1994 when Ken Wright Cellars was founded. Ken Wright Cellars now produces a single vineyard Pinot Noir from 13 different vineyard sites in the Northern Willamette Valley.
Their approach to the craft of wine growing is one of stewardship rather than manipulation. We use organic certified practices as a base and expand upon that with advanced nutrition-based farming. By analyzing both their soil profile and vines, maintaining proper crop levels, personally sampling each vineyard, and hand-sorting each cluster, we ensure that the inherent character in the fruit is revealed in the finished wine. Minimal handling of wine is essential to preserve what it is; a gift of nature.
Yamhill-Carlton, characterized by pastoral, rolling hills composed of shallow, quick-draining, ancient marine soil, is ideal for Pinot noir and other cool-climate-loving varieties. It is in the rain shadow of the Coast Range to its west, whose highest point climbs to an altitude of 3,500 feet. Yamhill-Carlton is actually surrounded by mountains on three sides: Chehalem Mountains to the north, the Dundee Hills to the east and the western Coast Range to its west, which, when it lets Pacific air through, serves to cool the region.
Vineyards grow on the ridges surrounding the two small communities of Yamhill and Carlton and cover about 1,200 acres of this 60,000 acre region, which roughly makes a horse-shoe shape on a map.
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.”