Named after the marine sedimentary soil that defines it, WillaKenzie Estate is one of Oregon’s top flight wine producers: a small, family-owned winery making wonderfully intense but balanced wines exclusively from the Pinot family of grapes from their own estate vineyards. Here there is a profound respect for the character of the soil and its effect on the wines made from the vines which grow there, with different bottlings from different single vineyards.
WillaKenzie Estate has eighteen acres of Pinot Gris, planted in 1992, 1993, and 1995. The vines are planted at 1200 vines/acre, running north to south, to allow for maximum sun exposure. All the vineyards are planted on Willakenzie soil, known for its excellent drainage. The clones used are Pinot Gris clones from the Alsace region of France, grafted onto phylloxera-resistant rootstocks and trained into an upright, double guyot trellising system.
Harvest was timed on taste and physiological maturity. The goal is to let the vines fully express the fruit qualities that are characteristic of the varietal. In their gravity-fed winery this Pinot Gris is made in a rich and complex Alsatian style. They pressed whole clusters, and after cold settling of the juice, inoculated with yeast from the Alsace region, chosen to enhance the fruit’s aromatics. They fermented in stainless steel tanks slowly and at low temperatures to optimize the freshness and subtlety of the fruit.