Springtime brings the beginnings of the hustle and bustle of the year here at the winery and vineyard. Jacques's once again writes us a letter about the happenings in the vineyard and the winery this spring.
The deluge is slowing down… we are starting to see some sunshine, after one of the wettest winters. Wettest February and third wettest March on record for close to 20 inches of rain in 2 months… after all that snow, then rain, what’s next? Sunshine?
The new vines will be planted next week, they spent the winter in the barrel cellar to avoid freeze damage, the crew couldn’t get in the field earlier because it was way too wet, and they had to finish pruning and tying other vineyards too.
We just received the new Pinot Noir vines from Knights Nursery in California, UCD clone 95.
A clone brought to UC Davis, from Burgundy’s famous Clos de Vougeot, by Dick Erath in the late 70’s, to be cleaned from viruses and propagated by the University of California at Davis.
In 2002 (or is it 2001?) Dick got a call from UC Davis letting him know that his clone was ready… a quarter of a century later. He had kind of forgotten about it.
Dick has planted some acreage and made wine from this clone; Don and I tasted the 2015 vintage with him on January 16 of this year, and found the wine of dark color, forward aromas, with really rich and unctuous flavors, sweet, dark fruit notes, and a rich structure, a lot like the Pommard clone planted throughout Oregon wine country. Don called it the new “grand Cru” of Oregon Pinot Noir… we have added 129 vines to this year’s planting.
The Chardonnay vines are pushing their buds in the wool, but the Pinot Noir is barely moving. We are looking at a more “normal” start of the growing season, with a mid to later April bud break…
In the winery, we are getting ready to start racking the 2016 Pinot Noir barrels next week and prepping the 2015 Olson and Yamhill-Carlton Select for bottling at the end of the month.
Jacques Tardy, winemaker
Each year, our Rosé is met with glee and anticipation. Regardless of how you enjoy your Rosé, one thing is for sure: it never lasts long.
But what is the process behind this much-loved wine? Today we're taking you behind the scenes to explore exactly how the 2016 Rosé came to be, starting from grape selection all the way to bottling day.
There are generally two ways Rosé is made: specially selecting grapes for the pink wine or using extra juice in a process called saignée. We selected the grapes for our pink wine from two vineyards: Varga Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills and Kraemer Vineyard in the Willamette Valley. The grapes from the Varga Vineyard are in a more shaded area of the vineyard.
Jacques let the juice soak on the skins for about 20 hours. This imparts the beautiful salmon color of the wine.
Due to popular demand and selling out every year, we upped the case production this year. We produced 500 cases total. The wine is bottled with a screw cap closure, as are all our white wines. This allows for easy opening at summer time picnics and beach bonfires.
Once the Rosé is bottled it ends up at your dinner table, brunch buffet, your Thanksgiving feast. Rosé is perfect for numerous occasions and pairs well with most foods, making it a stunningly versatile wine to have in your collection.
Be sure to order your bottles before we run out! This wine is always our most popular wine each year and is gone faster than we can blink!
Valentine's Day is just around the corner and here at Torii Mor, we have the perfect gift for your sweetheart. Whether you want to keep it simple or go all out, here's our list of the best gift ideas. Pick and choose as you like!
Port and Chocolate Bundle: Includes one bottle of our 2011 Syrah Port and a box of six specialty chocolates from the Bard Confectionary.
Sweets for Your Sweetheart: Includes one bottle each of our 2011 Syrah Port and our 2015 Late Harvest Viognier.
Valentine's Dinner at Home Bundle: Includes one bottle each of our 2014 Olson Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir and our 2014 Chardonnay.
The Sweetheart Experience for Two: The Sweetheart Experience provides both a gift for Valentine's Day and a special date for two in the future.
And don't miss out on two great Valentine's Weekend events!
Join us in Dundee for our blending event on February 11th! Treat your sweetheart to a date at Torii Mor where you'll learn blending techniques from our winemaker and blend up your very own bottle of wine to take home, complete with a personalized label, hand drawn by local artist Terry Christopherson. More details here!
Or, join us in Woodinville for the Chocolate and Wine Walk at Apple Farm Village on February 11! Enjoy tastings from six wineries with chocolate all along the way. More info here!
Winter can be a slow season, but while the vineyard sleeps, the winery is still churning out deliciousness for you! Jacques detailed some of the goings-on in the winery this winter in our most recent newsletter, but here he details one more exciting project: the start of our grappa production! If you missed the newsletter, sign up here by scrolling down to the bottom of the page!
We have survived several snow events already in 2017, starting in early December. Not quite winter by the calendar, but it sure looked and felt like winter here. The temperatures went down to the low teens and even single digits as we were starting to get into the New Year. We also experienced a nice layer of snow - three to four inches in the Dundee Hills and over a foot in Portland and surrounding areas. And as if the compacted snow wasn’t enough, freezing rain was in the forecast. Four wheel drive and studded tires were the only way to go for a while to get to work in the hills.
The snow acted as a blanket to the vines so I am not expecting to see any vine or bud damage. I have checked buds on the canes and everything is nice and green.
The vines didn’t suffer damage because they are dormant in winter. The snow delayed the start of pruning, which usually starts in early January here. We have another two months, at worst, before we will see any awakening of the vines. Bud break usually happens in the first 2 weeks of April, but in the past 3 years, it has been closer to the end of March. Yet in 2011 it was early May!
This spring we will re-plant the one acre of Pinot Noir we pulled out last year. t had weakened because of the Phylloxera bug feeding on the roots. We already have the grafted plants and are waiting for some dryer weather to get in the field. The news plants are all grafted Pinot Noir, including Pommard, Dijon 114 and Dijon 777 clones, and possibly a new clone from Erath Vineyard.
The 2016 Pinot Noir in the cellar has completed the Malo-Lactic fermentation already. The wines follow the same fruity-sweet-rich style of Pinot we had in 2014 and 2015.
We are preparing the 2016 Pinot Gris and Rose’ for a bottling on February 10, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
If you want to store wine for several years to see how it ages or hold on to the bottle for a special event like an anniversary or a first child, it's important to do everything you can to ensure the bottle ages well. Nothing compares to the experience of opening a perfectly preserved bottle to share for a special occasion.
There are three ways to help your wine age as best it can: consistent temperature, darkness, and position.
The best range to store your wine is somewhere between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Some people say that 55 degrees is as close to perfect as you can get, but really, the most important thing is more the consistency of the temperature, rather than the number itself. Fluctuations in temperature can cause more harm than a too high or too low temperature, so even if you store your wine closer to 45 degrees or closer to 65 degrees, the real clincher is whether or not the temperature stays consistent over a long period of time.
While it's natural for temperatures to fluctuate a little bit, if your wine is subject to drastic temperature changes, the chances of damaging your wine is very high. Keep an eye on the temperature of the area you store your wine and perhaps get a thermometer to track the consistency of the temperature.
Harsh light can damage wine (especially if it's in clear or more transparent bottles). However there is an easy solution for this conundrum: store your wine in a closet, a basement, or a wine fridge. The amount of light affecting your wine will be limited and your wine will stay undamaged.
If the wine you're saving has a screw cap closure, their position doesn't matter; store those bottles in whatever way they best fit your space. If your bottles have cork closures, be sure to store them on their sides. If you store cork-closed bottles upright, the corks can dry out, allowing oxygen into the bottle and causing the wine to oxidize. Storing your cork-closed bottles on their sides allows the corks to stay full and allow just the right amount of oxygen into the bottle.
Social Media and Marketing Assistant
Whether you're new to Torii Mor or been drinking our wine for ages, here are the top 10 things you probably didn't know about us!
Social Media and Marketing
2016 went by so quickly and we can hardly believe it's time for our yearly review! We had a whirlwind of a year full of good things.
This year we released our 2015 Late Harvest Viognier, the second dessert wine in our lineup, to rave reviews. We never thought a wine could usurp our beloved Port, but this Late Harvest definitely presents some competition! We also released out 2014 Chardonnay which quickly became a cult-favorite.
This summer we also threw our White Party again (click here for info on 2017's White Party!), complete with an oyster roast, plenty of white wine, and good company, as well as a vineyard luncheon featuring a tour with our winemaker Jacques and your very own Pinot Noir vine!
Here on the blog, we posted a variety of useful and fun blogs. These are the top 10 blog posts of 2016 from the Torii Mor blog!
Harvest in 2016 was a busy affair, with a great harvest crew and lots of exciting grapes. We're all excited to taste the 2016 vintage in a few years!
Social Media and Marketing Assistant
New Year's Eve is the day where we set resolutions for the new year. Normally these resolutions are related to losing weight, working out more, eating healthy, making more money, etc. However, it always helps to add in a few fun, easily achievable resolutions so come February, you don't feel quite so bad about not being at your goal weight.
And what better fun resolutions to add to your list than a wine themed one?
Here's a list of some wine themed New Year's Resolutions to get your creative, goal-creating juices flowing.
Social Media and Marketing Assistant
Christmas in the Willamette Valley is a truly beautiful time of year. Driving through the hills (especially the Dundee Hills!) is a treat as most vineyards and wineries get into the spirit of the season. You'll see Christmas lights, Christmas trees, and special Christmas promotions!
Another special event in the Willamette Valley is the Willamette Cares Food Share during the months of November and December. Until the end of the year, participating wineries (including Torii Mor!) are accepting food and monetary donations to support food banks in the area that help people in need. We'd love to have you participate!