Distinct & Delicious: Temperance Hill Pinots

One of our favorite vineyards in all of the Willamette Valley, and one of the most distinctive is Temperance Hill. Perfectly poised high in the Eola-Amity Hills, exposed to the cool Pacific Ocean air, it creates wildly exciting, invigorating wines in the hands of every winemaker who is fortunate enough to access its grapes.

Certified organically farmed by true vineyard whisperer, Dai Crisp, Temperance Hill's signature profile–each and every vintage–is unlike any other Willamette Valley vineyard we've experienced. Ask any of the winemakers who work with the fruit and they all say the same thing: Temperance Hill is one-of-a-kind.

First planted in 1981, the combination of high elevation and location at the mouth of the Van Duzer Corridor (a break in the Coast Range which acts as a funnel for cool marine air–as Dai said, "you could paint a bullseye on Temperance for the Van Duzer winds") means that harvest is always later, which translates to longer "hang time" for flavor development but lower alcohols and more freshness. 

Temperance Hills’ terroir–its true sense of place–is best expressed in years of more moderate growing conditions. In our esteem, 2017 is nearly perfect for that and as such, we’ve selected two brilliant Temperance Hill Pinots to share with you: Vincent and Goodfellow. The pair comprises our May Oregon Reserve Pinot Noir Club selections; we love them both!

$40.45 in any 12 bottled or Build a Case order ($44.95 regular)

"There it is!" is what I wrote first upon tasting this beautiful Pinot noir. The finest wine I've tasted from Vincent, it is super-pretty, simply gorgeous Oregon Pinot. Showing the outstanding floral/cedar forest/resinous herb and tobacco-laced aromatic profile of Temperance, backed by fresh strawberry and raspberry. Silky, totally sexy. Only 82 cases made. - Marcus

Vincent Fritzsche, THE Vincent on having access to Temperance Hill fruit: "I honestly was drawn to the vineyard because the modern legends work(ed) with it. I wanted a chance, too, and with the old vines, if possible. So flat block, 1983 plantings, never considered a great part of the vineyard but I'll fight people if they say it to my face."

$35.95 in any 12 bottled or Build a Case order ($39.95 regular)

2017 is the first vintage Marcus Goodfellow had access to Temperance Hill and wow, did he stick the landing! We’ve long said that Marcus could make any grape/wine from anywhere taste good, from white Zin to Norton to Pinotage, so of course he’d take one of our favorite vineyards and make magic. Marcus is a master-practitioner of whole cluster fermentation–using whole grape bunches instead of removing the stems before fermentation–and his technique plays beautifully with the vineyard’s signatures, adding an electric current of ethereal spice and orange zest to the wonderful rainbow of red fruits. Only 160 cases made.

Goodfellow's tasting note cannot be beat: “An elegant nose of fresh tobacco, smoke, strawberries and red apple skin, with sea air, stoney ground, iris root, roses, asian spice, orange peel, and cedar cigar box. There are wines that leap at you and wines that beckon you into the glass–this is the latter. The cedar note is a classic expression of Temperance Hill terroir, and I was happy to see it in this wine. The palate on opening is bright, with red berries, currants, pie cherries, rhubarb, strawberry tea and hints of citrus peel. Juicy and refreshing, with tartly balanced acids and fine tannins."