2015 was yet another vintage characterized by extraordinary warmth in the Willamette Valley. This time, the attributed source of the ongoing heat was a lingering, very large patch of unusually warm water in the northern Pacific Ocean called “the Blob”. Winter was mild, spring was warm, and summer was very warm in general and alleviated by scattered rain showers mostly in August (this also is unusual).

Bud break in my blocks at Maresh and Momtazi Vineyards occurred mostly in early April, about two weeks ahead of the Willamette Valley average. Flowering, too, was about two weeks ahead of their average. My blocks at Maresh from bud break onward were in a laughable frenzy of growth. Suckers (the canes that grow directly from the trunks where they meet the surface of the ground), long and vigorous ones, needed to be removed not once, but three times during the growing season. There were almost double the shoots, leaves and laterals were everywhere, and the fruit set was horn-of-plenty abundant. I listened to these wise, old vines and let them set. This beautiful and joyful abundance of fruit seemed a perfect, natural response of the vines to the heat of the vintage.

In my blocks at Momtazi Vineyard, the growth was far more restrained (i.e., fairly consistent with the growth of previous years), and the set was less than or close to two tons to the acre. The compact clusters were not large at all. I knew that the wines from these would be precise and in excellent balance simply from the feeling and the energy in these blocks, and found it exciting. I can offer no explanation for this balance at Momtazi other than the wild place itself and the biodynamic farming. In fact, the alcohols of the wines for both vineyards ranged between 12.5 and 13.0%.

The growing season was clean despite the bouts of humidity from the periodic showers, but some extra leaf-pulling was required in my blocks at Maresh. Picking here was partly in the third week of September and mostly at the end of September. At Momtazi, my blocks were picked mostly on 15/16 September and in the third week. The fruit across the board was in excellent, lovely condition, and I chose to ferment all of my wines 100% whole cluster.