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Most people start their New Year’s resolution after Jan 1st, but I start mine after the Not Your Mamma’s Chocolate event at Youngberg Hill. We have been sacrificing our waist line to pair wonderful chocolates with our library wines. We can’t wait to have you enjoy what we have put together.
Join us for the the one of a kind treats on Saturday, Feb 12th, just in time for Valentine’s day. Or make it Valentine’s WEEK, stay with us the weekend after Valentine’s Day and enjoy our fabulous winemaker’s dinner on Saturday, Feb 19th.
We are very excited about our special dinner at Youngberg Hill tomorrow night featuring John Eisenhart, Executive Chef of Pazzo restaurant in Portland. It will be a six course meal paired with several vintages of Youngberg Hill wines. John has some specialties planned for us that I’m sure will be stupendous.
We are pleased to announce that the 2008 Youngberg Hill Pinot Noir Jordan received a Silver Medal at this years Pinot Noir Shootout in California. We are very excited as this year’s competition had over 350 entries and it is held on California’s home turf.
The Jordan Block sits on 4 estate acres facing South East at a steeper slope than the Natasha and getting more benefit from the coastal breeze each afternoon. A wine with burgundian character and substance, the fruit from this block is especially age worthy. This wine will be at its best from 2011 to 2025.
Dark cherry, blackberries, currant and blue plum along with brown sugar, cassis, and hints of black pepper and smoke lead s to an elegant and opulent palate with flavors of rich blueberries fresh and mineral notes. The finish is lush with a full and round texture.
A fuller bodied Pinot with nicely balanced acidity and tannins makes this wine very food friendly going magically with any red meat and wild mushroom dishes.
Well, 2010 in now behind us. What a season it was; a challenging growing season, great wines brewing in the cellar, increased tourism, and the signs that wine sales are on their way back.
Growing grapes – As you know, our winemaking philosophy is based on growing the best possible fruit. Mother Nature had different ideas this last year. She put us through an intensified graduate course in vineyard management. It was said that everything that could happen, did. Everything was predicated on the weather. The weather was cool and wet through June. This caused bud break and bloom to be 3 to 4 weeks behind normal (if there is any such thing). The late bloom and cool, wet weather during that time had three negative results; a long period for bloom and fruit set, botrytis in the blooms and fruit set that was incomplete. That in turn caused three issues; diseased fruit that would not ripen, fruit clusters with varied grape sizes, and irregular size and shape of clusters.
As the weather continued to be unseasonably cool throughout the summer we did not receive enough heat spikes to catch up on the growth cycle and conditions were right for powdery mildew. Going into veraison, we were still behind three weeks, and felt to get the fruit to ripen, we needed to reduce the amount of fruit the vines had to ripen. So we dropped approximately 25% of the fruit. That along with the fight against mildew and botrytis meant that we spent more time and money in the vineyard.
Because we were still three weeks behind, when the migratory birds arrived, most of us still had all our fruit on the vine. The birds were in heaven. But we weren’t. Some have called this the year of the shotgun. The traditional ways of staving off the birds were not being effective, so everyone was out in the vineyard doing anything and everything they could to keep the birds at bay. Even with those efforts, most of us lost up wards of 25% to 30% of our crop. So on average, our crop yield was less than half of the “normal” two ton per acre we strive for.
But now for the good news. The fruit flavors came in ahead of the sugars (late September) and continued to develop until harvest. We also got a break in the weather, with major rain holding off until November, allowing us to harvest on the 28th of October, getting sugars closer to where they needed to be. What resulted was beautiful fruit with complex flavors, balance of fruit and earth, and balance of sugar and acids. The wines are looking very pretty in the barrel.
2008 Wine – The 2008s were released in November. The 2008 vintage has been tagged as being one of the best for Oregon Pinot Noir. Youngberg Hill is no exception. These wines have tasted great since they were first in the barrel and have only gotten better. Even though they are very drinkable now, they are just getting started and are going to be very age worthy wines. They are being very well received in the market place and tasting room.
The 2009 vintage may be Youngberg Hill’s best vintage ever. These wines, like the 2008s, benefited from a beautiful October and going into the barrel were already more luscious and accessible than the ‘08s. We will be bottling the 2009s sometime in April or May, but probably will not release until sometime in 2012 to let them benefit from a little more time in the bottle.
We released the 2009 Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc in April of last year and got rave reviews. The Pinot Gris went so well that we are already sold out except for a couple of cases of half bottles. The Pinot Blanc is a restaurant favorite because it pairs with food so well.
The Hill – The Inn and tasting room continue to be busier than ever. More and more people are learning about Oregon Wine Country, The Willamette Valley, and more specifically Yamhill Valley. Guests from all over the world are stopping by or staying to explore the valley and enjoy our great wines. It is also rewarding when someone stops by or makes a reservation and tells us they were told by someone else that they had to come to Oregon and had to come to Youngberg Hill. That always makes our day.
Here’s to 2011. Cheers!
Work is beginning in Oregon Wine Country at Youngberg Hill. We will shortly begin pruning the vines for this upcoming season. We are continuing to farm organically and practice sustainable farming. We will also begin to incorporate some biodynamic practices into the process. The vineyard has continued to mature healthier and producing higher quality fruit as a result of these practices.
We will also begin building the new trellising for the Camelot Block, putting in the end posts and fruiting wire. That will take us a couple of weeks.
We will then start fixing all the broken wires, posts, vines, etc. from last season and get everything back in working order.
Month one of ten months of the growing cycle in Oregon Wine Country.
We had a great time hosting the Vocation Vacation 360 weekend in the wine industry. We had 9 individuals participate who were interested in different aspects of the wine industry from growing grapes (as one had already bought vineyard property) to importing wines. They were mentored by 8 professionals in the wine industry sharing their own experiences in how they got into the industry and what they loved about it (and maybe some of the things that were not quite as appealing). It is an exercise in pulling back the curtain and looking beyond the rose colored glasses when looking at the industry through a wine glass.
Along with the sessions came wine tasting and a wonderful winemaker’s dinner prepared by Chef Davis. It was another culinary delight.
These were some great people who I hope will be successful in their goals and who we hope to continue to have a relationship with as they progress.
We are excited bout the guests we have this weekend for the Vocation Vacation 360 on the wine industry. We have guests coming from all over the country to learn from our experts in the industry what it takes to be successful in this industry and if it is the right fit for them. The weather is nice, the food is good, and the wines are great. A great way to spend the weekend.
A wonderful time of year!
Want To Get Into The Wine Business?
For more information on retaining VocationVacations’ founder, Brian Kurth, as a speaker, workshop leader or spokesperson/endorser, please contact:
The classic pairing of chocolates and Youngberg Hill wines featuring a unique pairing for library wines with distinct and delicious chocolate creations. We have been working on this for months, tasting each amazing option. This event was so successful we are thrilled to have everyone back.
11-5pm / $15 per person / Free to Wine Club Members
Visit our calendar of events page for more details