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Wine Spectator 92 Point

Sleek, vivid and expressive, with juicy cherry, raspberry, mint and cream flavors twirling easily through the elegant finish. Stylish, refined and destined to develop with cellaring. Drink now through 2020.- H.S

2009 Vintage

Velvety and deep, the huckleberry and black plum flavors flecked with juicy dark cherries. Even with its robust, dark, savory character, this stays bright and lively. This is nicely structured for aging but damn if it isn't just delicious right now. Tasted next to the 09 Reserve (Wine Spectator 93 points and Highly Recommended) I preferred the Meredith Mitchell.

Meredith Mitchell Vineyard's Pinot noir was planted in 1988, all Pommard clone. While Ken Wright may have helped launch Meredith Mitchell as a world-class vineyard site, Raptor Ridge actually introduced Ken to the vineyard. That relationship produced a mutually beneficial vineyard "swap," whereby Ken Wright helped Raptor Ridge gain access to the coveted Shea Vineyard Pinot noir. It's that helping-hand philosophy that characterizes Oregon's wine industry.

Black cherry fruit aromas jump out of the glass with hints of rose petals, earth, and dusty cherry, vanilla, and wood smoke. Tightly compacted, concentrated Framoise, with raspberry-rhubarb pie. Rich ripe tannins and briars finishing with lively acidity.

Deep, dark and alluring. Cherry fruit jumps from the glass with vanilla and crushed rose petals. Nice acidity that will allow this wine to age for a long time.

2008 Vintage Notes

The Vintage 2008 was a miraculous year, unlike any other experienced in our 20 years of making wine in Oregon. To be certain, the wines from this vintage will be very good. To be sure, the weather was a gift of nature. As a cool spring delayed bud break by at least 3 weeks, there was considerable angst among Willamette Valley winegrowers who were sure they would be harvesting in the heavy October rains. The belly of the summer delivered ample heat units to almost ripen the vintage by early October. Yet, we still were worried about October rains and the ensuing rot and the fruit wasn't quite ripe.

Miraculously, late October 2008 had gentle daytime temperatures in the high 70's and cold nighttime temps in the 30's. Our fruit ripened fully and deeply, but very slowly without developing high sugars (that would result in hot tasting alcohols). In short- perfect finishing conditions all the way through Oct. 29th when our last vineyards were picked. And, no dry ice was needed to chill our incoming fruit for the fermenters, as morning fruit temps were in the low 30's already.

In The Vineyard

Since the year 2000, we have sourced fruit from Frank Mitchell and Susan Meredith and their eponymous vineyard. Always, we've worked with fruit sourced from the "hogsback" of the vineyard- the knife edge inflection point where the south facing slope switches its easterly tilt toward a westerly slope. Here, the soils are the thinnest and rockiest with the greatest outcropping of broken basalt at the surface. A harsh, rocky site!

In 2008 Grapes were harvested on two separate dates: Martha's Block (the lower reach of the vineyard) on Oct. 25th and Alta Block (the highest part of the vineyard) on Oct. 29th. This is the latest date on which we have ever harvested fruit! Harvest Chemistry for Martha's Block was 24.6 Brix (glu/fru), 3.23 pH, and 6.6 TA. Harvest Chemistry for Alta Block was 25.8 (glu/fru), 3.17 pH, and 7.4 TA. Fermentation and Elevage: All grapes were hand-sorted and de-stemmed with ~70% whole berries into each tank. No additions of acid or enzymes were employed.

After four days of cold soak, the fermenters were warmed to 74F and inoculated with an interesting duo of commercial yeasts: BRL 97, and BM45. A quick, hot fermentation with peak tank temperatures of ~90F ensued, and wines were pressed off the skins on Nov.12th- a total of ~14 days (including cold soak). Wines were aged for 10 months in French Oak barrels, 61% of which were new, 23% were thrice filled, and the remainder of which were 7.7% twice filled, 7.8% were neutral. A range of quality cooperage was employed: Remond, Ermitage, Francois Frere, and Billion.

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