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Troon Vineyard

Harvest 2018 Photo Album - Troon Vineyard in Oregon's Applegate Valley

Mother Nature was very kind to us in 2018. Rain and cool weather are things you expect during harvest in Oregon, but not this year! All during harvest we were given warm, dry weather under beautiful blue skies. This perfect weather meant we could harvest each variety at the ideal moment. There was no pressure from the weather so our pace was almost leisurely compared to a normal vintage. It was a harvest to remember as will the wines!

Picking tinta roriz, this is our last vintage of this variety as these vines will be pulled and replanted next year.

Picking tinta roriz, this is our last vintage of this variety as these vines will be pulled and replanted next year.

Picking starts at dawn with the vines still in the shade of the Siskiyou Mountains, which are already brightly illuminated.

Picking starts at dawn with the vines still in the shade of the Siskiyou Mountains, which are already brightly illuminated.

Some picure-perfect vermentino.

Some picure-perfect vermentino.

Banele and Jesus picking malbec as dawn breaks.

Banele and Jesus picking malbec as dawn breaks.

The Applegate Valley during harvest.

The Applegate Valley during harvest.

In a biodynamic vineyard, the leaves are fully turned color and falling off when it is time to pick the fruit. This is the natural cycle of a vine.

In a biodynamic vineyard, the leaves are fully turned color and falling off when it is time to pick the fruit. This is the natural cycle of a vine.

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Vineyard manager Adan Cortes bundled up against the morning cold as he harvests vermentino.

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Associate winemaker and biodynamic team leader Nate Wall fills cow horns to make biodynamic preparation 500. They will buried until next spring. Making BD 500 is something you do during harvest in the fall.

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Banele, our harvest intern from South Africa, places the filled cow horns in pit to be buried until next spring. The BD 500 they will produce will be sprayed on our vineyards.

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Grape pomace, fresh from the press, is added to our compost pile. All the leftovers from harvest are added to our biodynamic compost piles and returned to the vineyard.

Varietal Vigilantes

In the United States we tend to think of wines being driven by a single variety. That there is somehow something purer about being made from one type of vine. The varietal vigilantes are always asking, “is this 100%?” Due to the heavy emphasis on varietal labeling they don’t realize is that historically wines made from a single variety were the exception, not the rule.

Some of the greatest names in the world of wine: Bordeaux, Châteauneuf du Pape, Côte Rôtie, Chianti, Rioja, Porto and Champagne are, and have always been blends of varieties. There are classic marriages like: cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot; marsanne and roussanne, syrah and viognier that have defined their wine regions. Without a doubt there are great mono-variety wines like Burgundy and Barolo, but many a classic wine region discovered over the centuries that blending produced not only the best wines for them, but a more consistently good wine vintage-to-vintage.

I believe that the Applegate Valley is one of those regions where blending creates the most complete and complex wines. In almost all of our wines at Troon Vineyard you’ll find more than one variety in the blend. We think deeply in making these choices looking for varieties that together create wines with greater nuance and personality than they could on their own. My goal in blending is to make the wines come alive and to craft wines that could only come from the Applegate Valley as making a wine of place is at the center of everything for me.

Blending is one thing, but I believe you need to go farther and actually co-ferment the varieties that you believe make will make your best blends. When you blend finished wines you can make wonderful wines, but when you can ferment the different varieties together they meld in a new an magical way that simple blending cannot reproduced. When fermenting together Mother Nature’s natural chemistry is amplified and a whole new wine emerges from the fermenter. When co-ferments are combined with natural yeasts and natural malolactic fermentations a unique purity of place and variety is expressed in your wine.

One of the better examples of this magic is our Troon Vineyard Longue Carabine, conceived by winemaker Steve Hall, which is created by blending several different co-fermented lots. The characteristics of each variety in the 2014 blend (38.5% vermentino, 33% viognier, 33% marsanne, 1.5% roussanne) shows their distinctive highlights in the expansive aromatics and rich texture. Longue Carabine is a one-of-a-kind wine totally unique to the Applegate Valley, Troon Vineyard and Oregon.

Being able to create wines like this is one of the inspirations that led me from Napa to the Applegate Valley in southern Oregon. The freedom to constantly experiment and push your wines forward is truly exciting - and truly fun!

2014 Troon Blue Label Longue Carabine, Applegate Valley