Carabella Vineyard General Partner and Winemaker Mike Hallock began searching for an exceptional vineyard site on which to base Carabella wines in the early 1980s. Initially it involved sampling many vintages of pinot noir sourced from single vineyards in the Willamette Valley. (An exhausting job, but someone has to do it!)
Through good vintage years and bad, several vineyards emerged as consistent producers of superior wines, even if the grapes were sold to different winemakers. Hallock's background in geology and climatology convinced him that there were common factors involving soils, slope, exposure, elevation and climate contributing to this quality. He searched for these qualities on regional maps to pin down the "perfect" vineyard site, finally choosing an area on the southeast flank of Parrett Mountain called Ladd Hill.
Carabella Vineyard produces dry-farmed Pinot noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot gris high on the southeast flank of Parrett Mountain in the northern Willamette Valley.
The 49 acre site is densely planted to French clonal blocks of foru to six acres. Each takes advantage of the subtle soil and climatic variations of the site. The vines are pruned guyot style and managed to promote lowyields with intense, well balanced fruit.
Carabella Vineyard produces estate grown pinot noir, pinot gris and chardonnay. The vineyard is located on the southeast side of Parrett Mountain in Oregon's Willamette Valley. The sunny southeast facing slopes, gravelly soils and unique microclimate have so far been ideal, allowing full ripening of the grapes. The densely planted vineyard is divided into nine blocks, each carefully planned to match a particular clone to its ideal soil type and exposure. The second crop off the vineyard has now been harvested. The grapes were contracted to two premium wineries in the Willamette Valley, Rex Hill and Ken Wright Cellars. Also, Mike Hallock, Carabella's general partner and winemaker, made pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot gris under the Carabella label.
The well-drained soils at the Carabella Vineyard are classifed as Nekia, Saum and some Jory. The first two are thin, silty, stony clay-based soils developed over weathered and fractured basalt. These are the soils best suited for pinot noir and chardonnay. The Jory soils are stony loam--a bit deeper and more fertile, ideal for pinot gris.
The slope of the vineyard ranges from 5-12%, allowing drainage in the root zone as well as good movement of cold air away from the vines. The stony soils of the south and east facing slopes are planted to pinot noir and to some chardonnay. (They also have the best view of Mt. Hood.) The early sun drives the moisture from the grape clusters, reducing mildew and botrytis problems. This is also the exposure of the great vineyards of the Cote d'Or in Burgandy. The cooler southwest facing slopes are designated for pinot gris.
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