Yamhill Valley is at the center of fifteen million years of flavor, revealed in vintages created through sustainable, biodynamic viticulture.
The date on a bottle of vibrant, elegant Yamhill Valley pinot noir might be 2010 or 1998. But it could just as well be 15,000,000 B.C. That marks the origins of the unique soils that build the terroir of the valley, the source of the grapes that become some of the world’s best pinot noirs and pinot gris.
It’s when the land began to rise from the Pacific Ocean, bringing a maritime richness that would be deepened by lava flows from the Cascades to the east and soils carried from the Missoula floods from prehistoric Montana.
With soil this rich and fertile, winemakers want to get the most out of it. That’s why, as wine writer Katherine Cole says, “Oregon is ground zero for biodynamic viticulture in the U.S.,” using natural fertilizing of the vines and the land, treating a vineyard as an ecosystem and respecting other plants and wildlife. The approach enriches the land with ingredients such as naturally aged silica instead of chemical laboratory creations, and brings winemakers out into the fields for the closest connection with their grapes.
A guiding principle is sustainability, a cherished value for Oregon, especially when the perspective covers millions of years. Yamhill Valley has six distinct viticultural areas, regions with their own hillside or valley microclimates, each with distinct soil identities. It creates some wines that carry hints of the iron in their soil, and others that offer a taste of the afternoon shade of their hills.
Together with a climate cooler than most winemaking areas, and a winemaking style designed to bring out the terroir’s flavors rather than manipulate them, the winemaking style of Yamhill Valley produces pinots of subtle elegance and deep intensity, with undertones carrying all the richness of the land where they grew.
For the discerning palate, it is Yamhill Valley that offers fifteen million years of flavor in the making; 15,000,000 B.C. was a great year for pinot noir.