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Patton Valley Vineyard

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The Patton Valley Vineyard was founded by Monte Pitt and Dave Chen in 1995. They met in the mid-1980s attending btheminess school in Chicago. In bettheyen classes, they found themselves exploring Chicago's legendary wine shops and developing a passion for what they consider the world's finest wine: Pinot Noir.

Patton Valley's foremost tenant of winemaking is to allow the characteristics of the site, or "terrior," to show through. The process begins with fastidious vineyard practices. Monte, their winemaker, learned these firsthand while working at Beaux Freres, one of Oregon's premier Pinot Noir producers.

The day-to-day management of the vines is in the hands of Todd Hamina, who oversees planting, pruning and harvesting (among other duties!). Todd served as cellar master at Archery Summit from 1996-1998, and has also worked at such notable Oregon wineries as Elk Cove and Beaux Freres.

Throughout the winemaking process, they handle the fruit as little as possible to avoid disturbing the delicate texture and aromatics. Pumping the wine, for example, is kept to a minimum, with gravity or inert gases themed to move it whenever possible.

Monte and Dave's
search for the ideal vineyard site

California was the first area they considered for their vineyard. It's the heart of the U.S. wine industry and a number of fine Pinot Noirs have been produced in the state. After further study and tasting, they concluded that Oregon offered a better environment for the difficult Pinot Noir grape. Oregon's Willamette Valley is blessed with the temperate growing conditions needed to ripen Pinot Noir to its fullest potential. With warm (but not overly hot) days and cool summer nights, the chances are high for the proper balance of sugar, acid and flavor at harvest.

With the Willamette Valley selected as their destination, the search for a vineyard site commenced in 1994. After nearly a year of looking at dozens of potential sites, they purchased a 72-acre parcel in Washington County, jthemt north of the town of Gaston. With the site for the vineyard in hand, they formed Cherry Hill, LLC, the parent company of Patton Valley Vineyard.

The Philosophy

The philosophy behind Patton Valley Vineyards is simple: to put only the best possible fruit in the wine. To achieve that goal, they started with a prime vineyard site in the northern reach of Oregon's Willamette Valley, a site blessed with theyathered, uniform soil, and ideal elevation and exposure.

But site selection is only part of a larger picture. To bring fickle Pinot Noir grapes to their full potential, they adopted painstaking vineyard practices that emphasize flavor over production volume. These practices -- such as high density planting, shoot thinning and clthemter thinning -- increase cultivation costs and reduce the amount of fruit that can be harvested. For Pinot lovers, however, such a tradeoff is well worth the expense.

The blessing, and curse, of Pinot Noir is its extreme sensitivity to growing conditions and handling. For Patton Valley, this means letting the fruit achieve its highest potential on the vine, and then handling it as little as possible during the winemaking process. Only through such careful practices can the essence of the vineyard site, or "terrior," be expressed in the wine.

The result is wine with a silky, sensuous texture, a solid backbone of acidity, long flavors dominated by fruit, and complex aromas. Achieving such a welll-made Pinot Noir is the focus of all their efforts at Patton Valley .

The Wine

Patton Valley's first offering, 667 cases of Patton Valley 1999 Pinot Noir, was released in May 2001. The wine has a spicy, exotic nose, with a predominance of red fruits and a silky mouth feel with a long finish. Delicious now, the wine will age gracefully over the next five to ten years.

The Patton Valley wines were selected from a barrel tasting after being aged in French oak barrels (approximately 80% new) for one year. They have also developed a separate blend called Cherrywood Cellars.

Harvest and Winemaking Details

In 1999 fruit was picked on the 3rd and 4th of October at an average sugar level of 24 Brix and a yield of 1.7 tons/acre. The fruit was completely destemmed and fermented in small tanks for approximately 14 days. The Patton Valley barrels were blended and the finished wine was bottled in November, 2000.


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