It’s no secret that Pinot noir is one of the hardest grapes to grow; it’s temperature-sensitive, has a fickle temperament and is very particular about the weather. The fact that it grows so well in Oregon is a blessing, but not without its headaches. Cardiac Hill of Kramer Vineyards is one such testament to the struggle of vineyard owners and winemakers.
Cardiac Hill, planted in the 1980s, was named for the steep geography and long-awaited first single bottling in 2005. Initially planted with Gewurztraminer, the vines didn’t take and the fruit set was never quite right, so they were replaced with Pinot Noir in 1995.
“It continued to under-perform for years, due to a combination of factors–poor fruit set, vine stress, and that the south end of the block is on a tree line, making it vulnerable to pest damage. The deer especially loved the new shoot growth in the spring, and it wasn’t until we finished our deer fence in time for the 2005 vintage that we finally had a large enough yield to justify a single bottling from there. So yes, Cardiac Hill is named for the steepness of the hillside, but it’s also a nod to the stress experienced by the vines, and by us.” – Kim Kramer, Winemaker
According to Clive Pursehouse from the Northwest Wine Anthem, the Cardiac Hill Pinot Noirs show “minerality over fruit and an overall elegance to the wines in terms of their structure and texture.”
Try the Cardiac Hill Pinot Noir at Kramer Vineyards’ downtown Carlton tasting room or the vineyard and winery tasting room in Gaston, OR. Get directions at kramervineyards.com. Learn more about Cardiac Hill and the Pinot Noir it produces at the Northwest Wine Anthem.