2011 Pinot Noir “The Morgster”
Three Angels Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon
pH: 3.30; TA: 7.4 g/l; alcohol: 13.3%
Three Angels Vineyard is named for my wife, Laureen, and our two daughters, Alex and Morgan. Our vineyard is planted to 3 acres of Pinot Noir and is situated on Walnut Hill at an elevation of 600–630 feet, near the northeast terminus of the Eola-Amity Hills. The southern half the property slopes to the southeast, while the northern half slopes to the east. The vineyard is divided into 3 one-acre blocks; Morgan’s east-facing block in the northern half was planted in 2004 to a clone of Pinot Noir that is referred to as the upright or “droit” clone. The scion material is said to have been smuggled into the USA from Burgundy’s Grand Cru “La Tache” vineyard. The vines have been grafted onto a mix of 101-14 and 3309 rootstocks. Morgan’s block is densely planted (2,437 vines per acre with vines 1 meter apart in each row and rows spaced 1.5 meters apart) and underlain by a rather deep (>6 feet), well-drained Jory soil derived from basalt and related volcanic activity.
Growing Season and Harvest
Spring through midsummer 2011 was cool and wet. Bloom was quite late, with pollination delayed until July. A warm October provided perfect conditions for ripening. The weather held to allow for the vines to produce beautifully tasting fruit with lower-than-average sugars. On November 4—our latest harvest date ever—just 2.04 tons of Pinot Noir grapes were hand-picked and delivered to the winery. The clusters were sorted by hand, de-stemmed, and placed into one 1.5-ton open top fermenter.
After a 3-day soak, the must characteristics were as follows: pH=3.16, TA=8.3 g/L, and total sugars= 222 g/L. The must was chapitalized. Ambient winery yeasts were responsible for fermenting the must, and the resulting cap was punched down by hand daily until fermentation proceeded to dryness. The resulting free-run wine was transferred directly to barrel and the skins were pressed on November 17 (for a total of 14 days of skin contact).
Barrels and Bottling
The wine was raised in a mixture of Hungarian (1, second use) and French (3, all on fourth use) oak barrels for a period of 9 months. The wine was bottled on August 10, 2012 and placed in cold storage for 14 months prior to release.
“The Morgster” has been recognized by LIVE as Sustainable and Salmon Safe.