2009 Estate Pinot Noir Tasting Notes


~ Silver Medal - Oregon Wine Awards ~

Growing Conditions

While the 2009 growing season here in Carlton, Oregon provided some challenges, they were relatively mild compared to what 2010 handed out (more on that later). 2009 ended on a bright note with high daytime temperatures during the final days of September. However, eerily similar to the 2007 vintage here in Oregon, weather prognosticators uniformly broadcasted dire forecasts for the first half of October, warning of heavy rains and falling temperatures. By September 30th, the Carlton Hill grapes were plenty ripe, reaching 25 brix. So I decided to hedge my bets, and elected to harvest 60% of the vineyard, picking the entire 777 block along with the first ten rows of the 115.

The rains did, in fact, come to the Willamette Valley and to Carlton Hill, but it was limited to two inches of rain, not the monsoons predicted. Warmer weather returned and we harvested the rest of the vineyard on October 10th, yielding grapes with lower levels of sugar and more developed fruit flavors. Nonetheless, as always is the case here in Oregon, there were some sleepless nights before we got the entire crop into the barn. When all was said and done, the vineyard yielded 2.25 tons to the acre.

Winemaking Notes

Regardless of the harvest date, this vintage was unique in that each cluster had some raisining as well as fruit that had just reached ripeness. Whole cluster ferments were limited to about 16% of the total juice, and again we kept our cold soaks to five days. As is the case for each Carlton Hill Estate Pinot Noir release, the wine was aged for 11 months in 25% new French oak.

In My Humble Opinion

As for the wine, it is ripe, bright and spicy with some floral notes as well as cedar and smoke on the nose. The Carlton Hill 2009 Estate Pinot Noir is far more evolved than either the 07 or 08 vintages were at this stage in the bottle. Yet, true to this vineyard, the vintage has good acidity, mouth feel and length. Red fruit flavors are most prevalent, notably red raspberry and current, with hints of cassis in the length at the end.

540 cases produced.

Buy the 2009 Carlton Hill Estate Pinot Noir

Full Case…$450      Half Case…$230     Bottle…$40


David C. Polite
Carlton Hill Wine Company