COMMENTARY

Say What?

What’s your favorite vintage you’ve produced? Why?

“No doubt, 2005 was one of the best. Good spring rain left nice soil moisture at the start of growing season. Hot summer with June, July, August and early September requiring irrigation followed by a nice September and October producing total Growing Degree Days of 2,952 Fahrenheit. All varieties ripened nicely in dry, cool autumn days with an acid-sparing, large diurnal temperature swing. Fruit was beautiful with great numbers. All red wines still drinking nicely with some not on plateau yet. The 2005 Albariño, the first that received screw caps, is drinking unbelievably well for a white. Made our first Gran Reserva Tempranillo “Paramour” that year, and it is more than a baby; perhaps, I should call it a ‘toddler’ as I write this.”
—Earl Jones, Abacela Winery

“By far, 1999. Fabulous wines, resulting in large part from a ‘miracle finish’ to the growing season. It was also our first vintage producing wine. The wines still show beautifully.”
—Bill Holloran, Holloran Vineyards

“My favorite vintage was 2014. The growing season was perfect for our Pinot Noir. Warm, dry days and a longer summer than usual allowed us to let the fruit hang longer, and cool nights helped develop incredible natural acidity. The combination made for a great flavor and color.”
—Leo Gabica, Sweet Cheeks Winery

“Located in the northern reaches of the Umpqua Valley, our vineyard produces fruit more typical of a northern Rhône location. The 2002 harvest was just the second one from our vineyard; it was a warm harvest with perfect ripeness and intense flavors. All of the 2002 wines show great richness and intense fruit. The few bottles remaining from 2002 show that this was, indeed, a dream vintage. It was also a great triumph for someone who had recently moved from Washington, D.C., to begin a new life in the Oregon wine industry.”
—Greg Cramer, MarshAnne Landing

“My favorite vintage would be 2010. Perfectly balanced and simply gorgeous. “
—Todd Hamina, Biggio-Hamina Cellars

“That’s a tough question, as each has its special charm and unique characteristics. For my personal taste, 2005 and 2010 stand out on my palate as very Burgundian. Both vintages have excellent balance, rich savory flavors and refined tannins. Although, 2015 is shaping up to be one of my favorites.”
—Wayne Bailey, Youngberg Hill

“One of my favorite vintages is 2010.  This was a classic growing season that ended with a very cool and long ripening period, unencumbered by any significant inclement weather or disease pressure. These are the conditions that produce very expressive wines that retain the subtle and complex aromas we all like in a Pinot Noir (typical of a cool vintage), while also delivering a round, full body wine with good concentration (typical of a warmer vintage).”
—Tom Fitzpatrick, Alloro Vineyard

“I always love a challenge. Fortunately, what people in the industry refer to as challenging vintages are the ones which push the ripening limit even further in our ‘marginal climate’ for growing vinifera. That said, my most recent favorite is 2011. At Iris, the vines were pushed beyond the limit due to the high-elevation, cool site. Most of our Pinot that year was picked for sparkling wine and not until the first part of November. We did manage to make some still Pinot Noir wine that year; which, after some aging, is drinking quite beautifully.  These cool vintage wines are too often under-appreciated by the press and thus by consumers. The Pinot Noirs made from cool Oregon vintages do need some time to mature before they show their best. Going back a little, if you have the opportunity, you will find that 2004, 1997 and 1995 Oregon Pinot Noirs are still showing well.”
—Aaron Lieberman, Iris Vineyards

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