If you've missed our praise for Twill Cellars, either you are very new to our recommendations or you've been napping in a vineyard for a couple years! Seriously, Twill is our Oregon wine new discovery of the last two years; we’re huge fans of their understated style and based on the feedback we’ve received, we’re not alone.
We’ve been excited for the 2015 Stormy Morning release, given how much we loved the '15 Willamette Valley Pinot noir. To say the least, this gem has not let us down.
Following in the stps of the 2013 and 2014, this new release is intensely, fascinatingly complex on the nose. I always read winemaker Chris Dickson’s notes as I taste — it's become a running joke because his descriptions are so vivid and detailed that I warn him (jokingly) that I better smell/taste each thing! Let's see how he did with 2015...
Initial aromas of blood orange, rooibos tea, rose, and tar. Notes of raspberry, cinnamon, mushroom and cherry are present in the background. On the palate, the wine feels lithe and refined. A seamless sense of acidity is present throughout, holding the lines together ensuring a finish with lots of poise. Time and air yield more notes to include pomegranate, lemon, pine and rhubarb. Our 2015 Stormy Morning Pinot Noir shows a rich yet placid, and transparent character.
“Our wines spend 18-22 months in mostly neutral barrels with no added yeasts and minimal SO2 during aging. We believe this aids in a more complete polymerization of phenolic compounds and allows some of the forward fruit character in the young wines to decrease, allowing more land and season specific characteristics to emerge. We do not force cold soaks, extend maceration times, or add enzymes to increase extraction. In short, we hope to keep the wines taut, long living, and original to their provenance.
“Planted in 2001, the 10-acre Stormy Mountain Vineyard sits on ancient marine sedimentary soil with an iron-rich band approximately 6-7 feet below the surface. It is farmed organically.” Located in the Coastal Foothills northwest of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA where it experiences cooler conditions than the less exposed vineyards of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, it shares the rich profiles of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA wines but tends towards redder accents to the fruit, rather than the blue, almost purple flavors of the warmer sites of Yamhill-Carlton.
“We often contemplate whether it would be worth picking the vineyard in blocks to get more uniformity in ripeness. Forgoing the chance to be too meticulous, and in the crunch of the season, we harvest the fruit in the fogline at the same time that we pick the fruit perched above it, resulting in a harvest of fruit at differing levels of ripeness. Or as I like to think of it, this is not a gathering where we have an adults only and separate kids table, rather everybody, or in this case every cluster, is brought together in a transect highlighting differing times along their life’s journey.”
So, why Twill? Chris continues, “it’s a word that encompasses many of the things we are after in crafting wine here in Oregon. To name a few: fabric, process of assembly, tension and strength of material. It's not about us, the particular vineyard, bottle, barrel, or clone, it is rather the composition of everything coming together as something thoughtfully crafted and true to the character of each unique vintage. We are merely a part of this tapestry of many components, and twill cellars seems like a great title for our small project.”
We’ve known Chris for many years; he cut his teeth in Oregon working for several respected wineries. His first harvest was 2007 with Penner-Ash, then Evesham Wood for their 2010 harvest (August-December). He with Marcus at Goodfellow Family Cellars/Matello between 2011-2012, and full time between January-August of 2012 as his assistant.
In 2013, Chris signed on with Molly and Darrel Roby, proprietors of a small label called Ribera. “I was given the chance to put together a program and the best lineup of vineyards for the following vintage under a then unknown title. We knew an update to the labels/brand was essential and given the changes to the program (a focus solely on Oregon, a close look at three varietals) we decided this would be a new and separate project all together. With this in mind, Ribera Vineyards will still exist, although it will only be for a portion of the fruit grown on Molly's Vineyard, on Ribera Lane (hence the name). So, we’ll offer a small run of estate Rosé and Chardonnay from the site under Ribera Vineyards.
Molly and Darrel remain the proprietors of both Twill Cellars and Ribera. Molly runs accounting and tasting room hospitality, while Darrel oversees to the day-to-day at Molly's vineyard and he's brilliant when it comes to winery equipment (and fixing/building just about anything and everything). I handle all the winemaking (the decisions are entirely mine — style, pick dates, barrels, etc. — for better or worse!), branding, sales, and most other daily operations for the company.”
2013 vintage notes
Loaded with energy and aliveness, it is absolutely my kind of Oregon Pinot noir. Deeply aromatic and forward on the nose, dishing a fantastically red-fruited wonder complemented by chai accents on a finish that, at first, struck me as having the best qualities of freshly-squeezed blood orange juice -- sweet, bursting with flavor, the tiniest bit of pith. With more time open, the strands unfurled, the whole wine developed weight, the red fruits became creamy textured, the finish lengthened with sweet spices. Tasted over four days, I recommend giving it a little space and air to breathe, though I was thoroughly captivated by it from first swirl of the glass. Only 48 cases made. A Oregon Reserve Pinot Noir Club selection for May. - Marcus
From winemaker Chris Dickson: "Stormy Morning is a compelling site for me as part of it resides in the fogline and part of it rests above it. This inherently changes the ripening curve and characteristics in the fruit. Above the fogline, as we sample the fruit in the Fall, we get deeper red fruit qualities, and in the section that sits lower, we experience more citrus and tea qualities due in part to slower ripening.
As picking decisions loom, we often contemplate whether it would be worth picking the vineyard in blocks to get more uniformity in ripeness. Forgoing the chance to be too meticulous, and in the crunch of the season, we harvest the fruit in the fogline at the same time that we pick the fruit perched above it, resulting in a harvest of fruit at differing levels of ripeness. Or as I like to think of it, this is not a gathering where we have an adults only and separate kids table, rather everybody, or in this case every cluster, is brought together in a transect highlighting differing times along their life’s journey.
Upon opening, I find currently, that our 2013 shows a lot of exuberant blood orange, cherry and rose petal. On the palate, there is orange, spice and some underlying tea aspects. As the wine ages, and as noted in past vintages of Stormy Morning, I suspect the tea (Hibiscus, Earl grey), and citrus aspects will be more expressive alongside the red fruits currently being showcased.