Time again to update everyone on the 2008 Vintage. What a wonderful vintage it is shaping up to be. First, the growing season; it was a cold spring that caused bud break to be almost a month late. It didn’t warm up through May so bloom was also a month late. That left us concerned whether the fruit would ever mature and ripen before the winter rains hit.
Fortunately, the summer months were almost ideal as temperatures stayed moderate with a couple of short heat spells. It was also dry and perfect growing conditions. By the first of September, we had made up two to three weeks and veraison was only a week or so late.
The fruit was maturing well and fruit was starting to come in. September continued to be a beautiful month and the fruit was looking great. We were still a little concerned about ripening time though. Come the first of October, everyone got nervous. The first rains of the season were on their way and it looked like we might get some prolonged rainfall. Not a good sign. As a precaution we harvested about three tons of fruit just for insurance in case things went from bad to worse and we were not able to get any more fruit out clean.
Here is where Mother Nature decided to bless us. That first rain was short and insignificant, and the next rain looked to be a week or so away. During that dry spell, many chose to get fruit out of the vineyard and do with it the best they could. The fruit was good with good flavor if not quite ripe. With a certain amount of consternation, we chose to let the fruit hang. The next front did not materialize and we breathed a sigh of relief.
Then we were really blessed. We did not get any rain for the rest of October. We had both sunshine to ripen the fruit and cool temperatures to keep the fruit from developing too much sugar. The best of both worlds. We harvested the latest ever on the hill and brought clean healthy fruit into the winery.
The result is fruit that was full of a whole range of flavors, low sugars, still good acidity, and softer tannins. The wines reflect wonderful balance across the entire palate with rich flavors that will last for years. The 2008 Vintage may well be the new benchmark for Oregon Pinot noir surpassing the still luscious 2002.