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Cottonwood Winery

Cottonwood Winery

Cottonwood Winery is Aaron Lieberman and his father Phil. Aaron brings fifteen years of experience making wine to the business (including a stint as assistant winemaker at Owen Roe,) and Phil has twenty two years of farming to anchor the team. They make wine from their two acre vineyard in the Willamette Valley and from a few sites in Oregon and Washington. The winery and vineyard are named for a historic cottonwood grove on the property. The grove is sustained by a spring used by Native Americans and early settlers.


Cottonwood Marina Piper Pinot noir 2012

This Pinot noir absolutely blew our minds. We first tasted it a couple weeks back and thought it was incre...



$19.95 Regular

More About Cottonwood Winery

Cottonwood Pinot noir

Asked about the dense, black, complex, Pinot noirs he is just releasing, Aaron says:

"I want to marry new world pinot noir with burgundy. Ideally the wines I make will be approachable as soon as I put them in the bottle, but will cellar gracefully as well. Burgundians are not so worried about fruitiness in their Pinot Noir. They are concerned that the wine has an excellent balance and great vinous quality which improves with age. New world consumers and by necessity winemakers are obsessed with fruit flavors. Taken to an extreme wine making techniques that enhance fruitiness can compromise varietal character and the ability to cellar the wine. "

Tell us about the oak you use, and why the tannins in this wine are so fine grained and well integrated, yet very much a part of the whole of this big wine...

Aaron: "As for the oak; new wood on the Marina Piper Pinot noir 02 was somewhere between 20 and25%, mostly François Freres d'Oregon. The Brigette Katherine was closer to 33% new oak, with one new barrel from Tonnellerie Cadus (Burgundy)and the other from François Freres (St. Romain, Côte d'Or)."

"For Pinot Noir I like to use only three-year air dried wood and medium to medium minus toast. The rough staves are cut and then stacked outside, exposed to the weather for three years. This treatment leeches out most of the harshest oak tannins leaving behind what you perceive as " fine grained" tannins."

" Staying away from heavy toasting limits the amount of sweet vanilla and caramel notes that, in my opinion,are not appropriate for Pinot Noir. But this is not the complete story of tannins."

"As far as controlling tannins are concerned, cold soaking is a vital factor. Cold soaking accomplishes two major objectives. First, the total time the juice is in contact with the skins is extended. This allows for more extraction of skin tannins (smoother than seed tannins) and anthocyanins (color). Whole berries are important here to limit juice contact with seeds."

"Second, it lowers the initial temperature of the fermentation. Peak fermentation temperature is very important to the style of the wine. Temperatures under 90°F limit there lease of harsh tannins from the seeds."

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