Dusky Goose Winemaker Lynn Penner Ash
Reserve Pinot noir Club for September 2007
Lynn Penner-Ash's involvement with Dusky Goose began in 1988 when she began working with the fruit of what was then called the Dundee Hills Vineyard, making wine from the vineyard for Rex Hill. She was approached by Neil Goldschmidt, who purchased the vineyard in 1992, to make a wine for him and his partners John and Linda Carter.
A great deal of attention and thought was put into the vineyard by Lynn and the winery partners. "When Neil approached me about making the wines for Dusky Goose," recalls Penner-Ash, "we walked through Goldschmidt Vineyard and talked about the style of wine they wanted to produce. We talked about what each block might bring to the wine, and we picked out what we thought were the best blocks for their style."
Lynn made wine for what became Dusky Goose through the late 90's and continues as the winemaker for Dusky Goose today, working closely with John and Linda, and with longtime vineyard manager Andy Humphreys.
While Lynn initially made wine for Dusky Goose from grapes exclusively from the Goldschmidt Vineyard, now renamed Winderlea Vineyard (Goldschmidt sold the vineyard in 2006 and the new owners changed the name), Lynn now also works with the grapes of Rambouillet Vineyard, owned by John and Linda Carter. She has made several single vineyard designate wines from the Rambouillet Vineyard, the first of which may be released in 2008.
About Lynn Penner-Ash
Lynn Penner-Ash is an Oregon wine industry icon. Active in Oregon winemaking and Oregon wine industry promotion since 1988, Lynn combines awesome winemaking abilities with a deep knowledge of Oregon's vineyards.
Lynn trained at UC Davis, changing majors from Botany to Viticulture to Enology. After working as Stags Leap Wine Cellars' enologist for four years, she joined Rex Hill Winery in 1988. During her tenure at Rex Hill, she made a long string of highly rated and sought after wines, concurrently serving as President and COO of Rex Hill from 1993 until 2003.
Lynn and husband Ron Penner-Ash started Penner-Ash Wine Cellars in 1988 and left Rex Hill to devote her time to Penner-Ash Wine Cellars in 2002. Today, Penner-Ash Wine Cellars makes about 5000 cases of highly sought after wine a year.
Winemaking - A High "Yumm Factor"
"I am always very gentle with the fruit," says Penner-Ash describing her approach to making wines from Winderlea Vineyard, whether for Dusky Goose or for her own label. "I pretty much let it do its own thing."
She focuses on small, indigenous yeast ferments, and she carefully manages fermentation temperatures. She's also found that the vineyard's fruit seems to have an affinity for barrels from France's Cadus cooper.
"Sometimes the red fruit is so high in fruitiness that it tends to dominate the aromatics," she says. "To mitigate that the barrels add just the right amount of spice to complement the fruit."
Even so, Penner-Ash is careful to let the Winderlea Vineyard speak for itself in the wines. "I want to support the lushness of the vineyard, and not overshadow it." It is that lushness that seems to shine through in all the wines from Winderlea Vineyard.
"There is an incredible dried cherry quality that is unique to that site," she says. "The fruit smells like dried cherry tea, and then moves into a ripe red pear mouth feel. The fruit has a creamy textural feel when it is ready to pick, and in the winery it produces a very focused red fruited wine that is incredibly rich and sweet."
"People put the (Dusky Goose) wine in their mouth and they say 'Oh my God!' Somehow this site produces wines with an incredibly sweet and rich mid mouth feel-It has a high yumm factor," exclaims Penner-Ash, "I don't know how else to describe it!"