Raptor Ridge Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015
In each vintage year, Raptor Ridge produces about 1000 cases of wines using traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques. High quality is the focus, not higher quantities. Raptor Ridge shares a twelve-acre estate with families of Raptors (buteos and accipiters)- birds of prey such as Red Tail Hawks, Kestrels and Sharp-Shinned Hawks. We are nestled atop a heavily forested ridge in the Chehalem Mountains 25 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon. Our foggy ridge is ideally suited to a naturally cool winemaking regime important in capturing delicate aromas and flavors. Our wines age in French oak with racking in synchrony with the full moon. Our goal is to deliver in our wines all of the natural flavor, delicate aromas and beauty offered by Oregons Willamette Valley winegrowing region.
Our winemaking philosophy has two tenets: one committing the winemaker to deep personal involvement with the vines and every barrel of wine; the other balancing science with tradition. Our approach to winemaking focuses as much on the vineyard as it does the cellar. Winemaker Scott Shull is personally involved alongside growers and field hands in pruning, trellising, cluster counting, cluster thinning, leaf pulling, quality monitoring, and all harvest decisions. Uniquely- during harvest, Scott is in the field picking fruit alongside seasonal workers, and personally transports the wine grapes back to Raptor Ridge were he oversees the "crush." Family and friends are involved in processing the fruit into fermentation vats while Scott personally adjusts nutrients, inoculation, fermentation processes, and wine handling procedures. Its Scotts philosophy to intervene as little as possible in the miracle of wine, while employing a full knowledge of fermentation science only to avoid diminishment of quality or removal of flaws.
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.”