93pts Vinuous (if you aren’t familiar, that’s Antonio Galloni, who at one point was slated to take over for Robert Parker, but had a falling out of sorts with the new ownership of Wine Advocate, only to create his own imminently helpful online property).
I can’t move forward without noting the major story here:Patricia Green, or Patty as literally everyone called her, passed away at the beginning of November, after I had planned to ship this wine. She lived in an isolated cabin and there aren’t many explanations for her tragic death at 62, other than the fact that it doesn’t seem to be related to foul play. To her family and friends: I’m sorry for your loss.
Ok, so some more information about what’s in your glass and how a winery moves forward when their namesake passes on: The winery carries her name, but it’ll continue because it really was a joint project between Patty and winemaker Jim Anderson.
The winery owns 52 acres in the Rabbit Ridge Appelation. The Rabbit Ridge AVA is totally contained within the Chehalem Mountains AVA. Yes, the Chehalem Mountain AVA is also completely contained within the Willamette Valley AVA.
What makes Rabbit Ridge different than its neighbors? To start, the AVA is basically defined by the placing of old ocean flow on the mountaintop. Secondly, there’s some elevation at play as well.
I think the main and most interesting part of the story in this case, is the Durant Vineyard. David Lett was affectionately titled Papa Pinot. Only a few years after Lett planted up on Rabbit Ridge, the Durant family did the same. You can tell that it was a simpler time by one main difference in the Durant Vineyard from any new vineyard. It’s planted facing south. These days, everyone plants facing west. Facing west, as many folks near the coast can tell you, gets you every last few bits of sunlight. South is probably second best, but it says something about the Durant’s that they were willing to even take the risk given that back in the 70’s (they planted in 73) nobody was quite sure if Oregon would ripen Pinot Noir. Heck, they wondered if Sonoma could east of the freeway as well.
In many ways, though the Durant Vineyard is like 2 vineyards in one. First, you have their Bishop’s Block which is the original plantings from back in 1973. There was an addition planted back in 2000, which creates an entirely different type of wine. They used clone 115 for that one-showing again that Oregon and it’s clone wars are never ending.
What’s in your glass is a combination of the two. Last, this is going into our red wine club shipments this month.