Wine critic Steven Baker follows the cool climate back roads of Oregon Pinot noir country and shares his journal. His business, Authentica Wines, is a membership based wine club.
~ March 2010
The story of Oracle Vineyard is remarkable, and a testament to the tenacity of vinifera wine grapes and to the owners of Westrey winery, David Autrey and Amy Wesselman.
Originally planted in 1977, Oracle Vineyard provided pinot noir, pinot gris and chardonnay fruit to some of the Dundee Hills top labels for 20 years until it was sold to a horse rancher in 1997.
Having no interest in wine grapes, the new owner tragically removed all the trellising, cut down the own-rooted grapevines and plowed the vineyard for pasture - thus destroying one of the Willamette Valley’s best vineyards - or so everyone thought.
In 2000 David, Amy and partners bought the property, thinking it unplanted but with the knowledge of its history as one of the top sites in the fabled Red Hills of Dundee.
In the following spring as they prepared the land for new planting, they noticed some bushes growing in suspiciously even rows. Upon closer inspection they discovered that the root systems of the original grape vines had survived, and after careful nursing for a couple of years, the old vines were coaxed back into production.
With the addition of 15 new acres planted since 2000, Oracle is now back to full strength. Primarily Jory soils with a streak of Nekia, Oracle is south facing and averages about 650 feet in elevation. The old root structures of the original planting gives the fruit a deep connection to the soil which brings forth expressive Red Hills character but with an element of firm minerality that is unique to the site.
This wine is full of dark cherry and berry fruit so common to the Red Hills but with an added dimension that contribute to its length and complexity. The blend for the 2007 is 24% 30 year-old Pommard clone pinot noir, 70% 777 clone and the remainder 115 clone pinot noir. It is fermented with indigenous yeasts in open top fermenters and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a classic Red Hills pinot noir. ~ Steve Baker
Oracle Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2007
Release Price: $28.00
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