Archery Summit Winery
Founded in 1993, Archery Summit produces some of the hghest rated Pinot noirs in Oregon from a 100 acre Estate vineyard and winery in the Red Hills of Dundee, Oregon. The four estate vineyards are densely planted, vertically trellised and sustainably farmed to ensure the greatest possible quality of fruit.
Archery Summit's Winemaker Anna Matzinger
By Cole Danehower
"We have a good system here," says Anna Matzinger, Archery Summit's newly appointed winemaker, "it's pretty dreamy, actually!" She should know, after all, her experience of winery work extends around the globe.
Anna began her winemaking career working as a lab technician for Beringer Vineyards in Napa Valley, California. Her experience also includes harvests and winemaking in Marlborough, New Zealand, Margaret River and Hunter Valley, Australia and Dry Creek, California. She joined Archery Summit in 1999, becoming Assistant Winemaker the next year-and now two years later she is helping lead Archery Summit into a new era as Winemaker.
"Anna has a great passion for the wines of Archery Summit," says Sean Carlton, Archery Summit's general manager. "When it became time to hire a new winemaker we did a pretty extensive search. We looked into Burgundy, we looked into California, but we decided that the uniqueness of Oregon really meant the next winemaker at Archery Summit had to come from Oregon. We soon realized that the core of Archery Summit was our 80 different vineyard blocks of Pinot noir in our four estate vineyards, and that no one knew better how they all worked in our program than Anna. The best winemaker for Archery Summit was already here!"
A quietly confident woman who seems to prefer letting her wines speak for themselves, Anna nevertheless admits to a "low level of anxiety" about her new position. She is conscious of being in the public eye, following two highly respected predecessors at one of the most prestigious wineries in the Pacific Northwest. "It is good to have been part of all this for the past few years," she says of her experience at Archery Summit, "and to have seen the evolution and understand the importance of the history."
Anna's 2001 Vintage
Anna was intimately involved in the making of Archery Summit's 2001 wines as assistant winemaker, and as we taste through her wines still in barrel, she expresses clear opinions about their characteristics. But also, we will taste today some of the first evidence of Anna's individual style: she is now responsible for the final blends of lots that will constitute the winery's five bottlings: Arcus, Estate, Red Hills, Renegade Ridge, and the Premier Cuvée. And today, we will taste her first independent blend.
Blending is one of the keys to Archery Summit's success: seventy percent of the winery's production comes from their Premier Cuvée label. This wine is comprised of lots from all of the estate vineyards, and represents the best overall expression of the vintage at Archery Summit. In past vintages, this wine has earned top scores from major wine publications, including being named as one of the 100 best wines of 1998 by The Wine Spectator.
But Anna's blending challenge doesn't stop there. Even the single vineyard wines require careful melding of individual lots from within the vineyard in order to achieve both a balanced wine, and one that best expresses the site and vintage. For the 2001 vintage, Anna has compiled the Arcus blend as her first independent expression. In the 2002 vintage, all the wines will reflect the combination of her personal palate, the Archery Summit style, and the individual site expression and vintage variation.
And in the wines we are about to taste, it is that vintage variability that stands out most prominently.
"2001 is different-very different-from the 2000s," says Anna. "In 2000 we had a lot of tannin to deal with. We had a lot of thick skins on the berries, so we had tremendous concentration. Within the second day of cold soak the tanks were inky black with color. In contrast, the 2001 vintage had thinner skins, so a higher juice to skin ratio, meaning we got less concentration overall. We had a lot of hand-wringing as we went through eight or nine, or even ten-day cold soaks waiting for the color to show in the tanks-it just didn't happen as readily."
Tasting last year's vintage in barrel just before this year's vintage is harvested can be a perilous proposition. In this case the Arcus sample that Anna had drawn has also just been racked (moved to barrel). "It's a little discombobulated," she apologized.
She needn't have. The wine I tasted showed sweet red fruit flavors mixed with a healthy dose of wood tannins, along with an aroma of dried flowers. "We haven't changed the 100 percent new French oak regime," explained Anna, "but this has a greater proportion of barrels from Daumier rather than our traditional Francois Freres cooper." The result, says Anna, is that the sweeter components in the wine show more readily. "The Daumier doesn't compete so much with the floral aromatics that we see a lot of in Arcus."
The next wine, Renegade Ridge, had been racked "just moments ago," said Anna as she slipped some into our glasses. "Renegade Ride is southeast facing," she explained. "It gets the morning sun, but less of the intense afternoon heat. Because of that it has a slightly different profile-more delicate, I believe."
I found the wine to have an interesting fresh aspect, with higher toned red fruit than the Arcus and an intriguing leathery character. It definitely showed less color than the Arcus, and an even more flowery aroma. Perhaps not as weighty in the mouth as the Arcus, it nevertheless carried the trademark Archery Summit depth.
Next up was the Premier Cuvée, which Anna pointed out had just been returned to barrel the day before. I could hardly tell. My most immediate reaction was to comment on how complete the wine felt. A bit fuller and broader than the Renegade Ridge, it had some of he intensity of the Arcus, but with additional earthiness. As the wine sat in my mouth, I couldn't help but notice that the Cuvée already seemed well balanced and integrated.
Anna nodded. "It seemed like this year in the cellar, the wines evolved faster than in previous years. Not only were they changing more rapidly toward their end point, they were changing more frequently, sometimes it seemed like weekly. They were busy evolving, more than in the 2000s, I think because they are more delicate wines than the 2000s."
Perhaps the 2001 wines are more delicate-and Anna's comment bears out my own experience with the vintage-but even so, the Estate sample she poured next showed a big and complex wine that left me searching for its more "delicate" parts. Full and rich, with lots of black fruit and spice, the Estate didn't seem quite as complete as the Premier Cuvée-it had more noticeable tannins and seemed a tad awkward-but definitely more dense and weighty.
Saving for last what was, for me, the best, Anna finally poured a sample of Red Hills. Even in this young and awkward state, the signature spice, earth, and toast notes stood out strongly, complementing a more subdued dark fruitiness. With hints of chocolate and tobacco, the Red Hills tasted delicious, and yet it was in a teasing frame of mind, holding back some of the power that is part of its terroir, awaiting further development.
All in all, the Archery Summit 2001 wines seemed to be exactly what you would expect: typical of the vintage (less concentrates, a bit fatter) and typical of their terroir (dark fruit, lots of earth and spice). And that is what put a smile on Anna's face!
Building for The Future
It is clear from the 2001 wines in barrel that Archery Summit continues to produce superb wines. And yet, over time, they are bound to evolve as Anna begins to put her personal stamp on them. But, it is unlikely that they will change dramatically: Anna has no visions of overhauling a successful formula. Rather, Anna will work to incrementally improve the wines each year, even as she reacts to each vintage's challenges.
For example, one change she's already begun is boosting the amount of wine that undergoes fermentation in wood. "We like what it does to the overall mouth feel," she explains. "It's almost as if-and we haven't measured this in any particular way-it's almost as if the species of tannin you get from a stainless steel fermentation are fairly homogeneous, verses the species of tannins you get from wood fermentation, which seem to be heterogeneous. It's like at a beach where you have grains of sand of all different sizes-if those were tannins, that's what we seem to get from the wood fermenters."
This added complexity Ana finds desirable. "Somehow the wood fermenters seem to stretch out and widen the palate. Instead of just one tannin expressing itself, with wood many more seem to come out. It makes the palate more complex. Yeah, we like that!"
These are the kinds of evolutionary changes Anna envisions. With a heritage of quality in her hands, the judgment it takes to improve, and the confidence that she can have an impact on Archery Summit, Anna is looking forward to taking Archery Summit wines to their next level of quality.
The vines at Arcus Estate Vineyard are planted on a very steep slope which makes farming difficult, but produces intensely flavored rich fruit which yielded only .77 tons per acre in 1998.
The Red Hills Estate vineyard has moderate slopes, shallow Jory soils, and a southern exposure, resulting in a vineyard that has produced many award winning wines.
Gravity Feed Winemaking
"Because thin-skinned pinot noir grapes easily bruise and break, we exercise extra caution in the vineyard with hand harvesting of grape clusters followed by hand sorting at the crush pad," explains Scott Krauger, vineyard manager.
"At the winery, clusters of fruit travel on an incline conveyor to the destemmer where they begin their gravity adventure by sliding down a chute into an open top stainless steel tank", says winemaker Sam Tannahill.
Primary fermentation begins after cold soaking the fruit to extract colors and flavors. Cellarmaster Todd Hamina determines when to gently push down the "cap" (grape skins that rise to the top of fermenting juices) so that it breaks apart and slowly folds invisibly into the dark juice. This is done one to three times a day for one to two weeks to optimize flavors and colors extraction from the skins.
After fermentation is complete, wine flows naturally by gravity to settling tanks spending from two hours to two days depending on the clarity of the "free run" (wine made without pressing).
At this point, wine travels in hoses by gravity to wooden barrels which are moved by hand into Archery Summit caves for a long extended period of rest. Upon completion of barrel fermentation and aging, the wine is ready for blending.
Only a simple means of siphoning is employed to move the wine from barrels to the blending tanks located in a substructure two stories lower than the cave. As soon as the blending tanks are filled and the winemakers are pleased with results, the blended wine descends by gravity again to another lower level to the bottling tank, which when filled weighs 7,200 pounds with 900 gallons of wine.
While other wineries use a system of pumps that harshly transport wine throughout the cellars and into bottling lines, Archery Summit solved this problem during the initial design stage of our facility. Three stories underground Archery Summit excavated a huge pit to hold a (7ft) bottling tank.
The most important feature of the ASrchery Summit facility is the ability for their bottling tank to move 36 feet upward to the bottling line. Through a system of lever and pulleys, a mechanical lift allows Archery Summit to ensure our wine never is pumped. This reflects traditional Burgundian methods that limit any unnecessary disturbances to the wine. Archery Summit wine isnÕt continually pumped and jostled from one area to the next in long hoses that expose the wine to oxygen and detract from its flavor. Every facet of movement in the winery is conducted with the least amount of trauma to the delicate wine.
Vineyard Technical Notes
Red Hills Estate Vineyard
Pinot Noir: 17 acres
Pinot Gris: 8 acres
Pinot Noir: 777, 115, Wädenswil, Pommard, 113, 114, LaTâche, Romanée-Conti, Musigny Comte de Vogüé
Pinot Gris: 152, 146
Pinot Noir: 101-14, 3309, 420A, Riperia Glorie
Pinot Gris: 3309, 101-14
Archery Summit Estate Vineyard
Pinot Noir: 26.8
Pinot Blanc: .4
Pinot Gris: 1.09
Pinot Noir: Pommard, Wädenswil, 113, 114, 115, 667, 777, LaT-âche, Romanée-Conti, Musigny Comte De Vogue
Chardonnay: 96, 75
Pinot Blanc: 8C25, HGV, 159
Pinot Gris: 152, 146
Pinot Beurot: 161
Pinot Noir: 3309, 420A, Riparia Glorie, 101-14, 161-49
Chardonnay: 5C; 101-14
Pinot Blanc: 3309, 101-14
Pinot Gris: 3309
Arcus Estate Vineyard
Pinot Noir: 30
Pinot Blanc: 1.21
Pinot Gris: 5.24
Pinot Noir: Pommard, 113, 114, 115, 667, 777, Wädenswil
Chardonnay: 76, 95, 96
Pinot Blanc: 8C25, HGV,
Pinot Gris: 146, 152, UCD#3
Pinot Noir: 3309, 420A, Riparia Glorie, 101-14
Chardonnay: 3309, 101-14, Riparia Glorie
Pinot Blanc: Riparia Glorie
Pinot Gris: 3309, 101-14