Archive for September, 2015

“Stump Farm” Pinot noir is in!

We harvested our fruit today! Esper Pinot noir is now officially off the vine and waiting it’s turn in the processing line.  We couldn’t be happier with the 2015 growing season – the berries are safe, HUGE and beautiful!  If we had to complain, it would only be for a very small amount of shrivel that came from heat spikes with little water – but this is very easy to spot and sort out before the berries make it to the destemmer.  We are very thankful for another abundant crop of clean juicy fruit, chock full of interesting stories and flavors.  This year we were fortunate to get our hands on  fruit from Stermer Vineyard, in the Yamhill Carlton Appellation. Eric Lemelson planted Stermer with Armando Martinez starting in 1997 with mixed clone Pinot noir (Wadensvil, Pommard, 777, 115, 667) on silty clay loam, Willakenzie soils. The acclaimed vineyard is now in it’s 18th leaf and has been showing rich and robust flavors for over a decade now. Many expect this site to be one of the region’s most coveted in years to come. Stermer has always been one of my favorite Lemelson single vineyard bottlings. It’s farmed organically from start to finish, and sits on the hill just above the winery – you can see it in plain view looking west from the tasting room patio on Stag Hollow Road.

George and Barbara Stermer farmed this site starting in the 1950s. It sits between 250-450 feet in elevation, and faces nearly every aspect possible across its 30-planted acres. The Stermers were successful farmers, raising cattle on the low lands and planting orchard fruits on the gentle slopes above.  They called their operation “Stump Farm” and when they sold the 100+ acre parcel to Eric, he adopted their family name to pay tribute to their hard work and dedication as stewards of the land.

Stermer Vineyard fruit consistently shows a lot of backbone, with pithy tannins tending quite hefty in youth, but integrating nicely over 5-10 years in bottle. Aromas often lend themselves to unsweetened bitter chocolate and espresso, with black pepper, stone mineral and dusty red plums, like those the Stermers once grew on the property. I can’t wait to see what the heat of this vintage will give us – structure is a near guarantee, but with larger cluster and berry size it may not be as burly as I would have predicted back in August, before the rain.

Happy harvest to all ~ May your tables delight in the bounty of a season come to close!