2016 was yet another vintage characterized by extraordinary warmth, but more in the early part of the growing season. The warmth and light arrived in full force in the early spring after a very dry winter that is rare in the Willamette Valley. Unlike 2014 and 2015, though, the year had some wild fluctuations and erratic patterns. There were some record-breaking hot days in June, but there were also plenty of cooler, overcast days. But August was warmer than it was in the record-breaking 2015 vintage. Once September and October arrived, the weather settled down and became more moderate, but picking for me was entirely in the month of September.
Bud break in my blocks at both Maresh and Momtazi Vineyard occurred in the last week of March, about two weeks ahead the of Willamette Valley average. Flowering, too, was about two weeks ahead of their average. The set was very low to moderate at best in my Maresh blocks, while the set in my Momtazi blocks was just shy of moderate. The cluster weights and berry sizes were significantly smaller than the previous few years in both vineyards, and the overall perfume and concentration of the wines are higher than I have seen in years. Picking was two to three weeks earlier than my longtime average (in response to the earlier flowering), but the acidity and alcohols were ideal. I see no overripe or hot vintage character in these wines. My 2014’s had more ripeness than my 2016’s do.
Except for the Maresh Vineyard Pinot Gris at 12.5%, all of my other Pinot bottlings were 13.0% or slightly below.
The growing season was clean, and the fruit was lovely to behold. I was very sad to have such little fruit from Maresh this year as beautiful as everything was. I loved the wines I did have even more for this. All of my wines this year were fermented 100% whole cluster.