I STRIVE TO MAKE WINES THAT REFLECT A SENSE OF PLACE.
For me, PLACE consists of a handful of simple yet intricately interconnected components:
Soil — Bedrock — Climate of the Site — Climate Around the Vine
Each of the above components are harmonically considered through timely farming decisions in the vineyard.
As a winemaker, the PLACE is what I want people to experience when they sniff, sip, slurp and gulp our wine.
DISCOVERING WHAT A PLACE TASTES LIKE
Discovering what a place tastes like and what it expresses can sometimes take a lifetime to define. As a comparatively young wine industry, it is often argued that Oregon is still defining its sense of PLACE. Yet, as a winemaker with experience both in Oregon and abroad, I’ve never been more excited to work with these particular vineyards here in the Willamette Valley. The opportunity to work with the historic Maresh Vineyard and the burgeoning Azana Vineyard is exciting and a huge honor.
AS SOME OF THE OLDEST VINEYARDS IN THE VALLEY, THE VINES HAVE GREAT EXPRESSION AND A BEAUTIFUL SENSE OF PLACE.
My years spent working with my mentor, Dominque Lafon, have taught me that the expressiveness of these unique sites is a direct result of… yes – Soil, Bedrock and Climate. But also, expressiveness is a direct result of thoughtful, purposeful practices in the vineyard.
At Scott Paul, we take particular care with our biodynamic preparations and sprays to ensure that we breed healthy soil microbial activity and produce vine equilibrium.
As a result, the Scott Paul vineyard sites are beds of life – free of chemicals, unencumbered and nurtured to express their true character in their fruit.
With such beautiful and expressive vineyards,
We take a purposefully simple approach to our winemaking. During fermentation, we gently work the wine by pumping it over the top of its skins. This ensures a gentle extraction of tannin and gives an element of length and an almost granular structure. We couple this practice with a soft punch down with the feet or with a small plunger-like tool (this limits the amount of extraction).
Knowing that Mother Nature gives us a new set of challenges each year, we’re always open to adjusting our winemaking technique to ensure that we have the purest expression from the vineyard and accurately portray the vintage in our wine. Each vintage is different. The same winemaking recipe doesn’t work for every single year or fruit source.
Each harvest, we purposefully pick fruit to maintain a fresh, lively quality to our wines. And as needed, we adjust the temperature or sulfur levels on any given fermentation. Yet, as constants, we always strive to keep the tannins and alcohols low to ensure that the subtle nuances of each vineyard site shines purely through.
I am convinced that Pinot Noir and Chardonnay reflect a sense of PLACE more than any other varietal. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are beautifully transparent. It’s our job to showcase these grapes and these sites as transparently as possible. Just as poor decision-making in the vineyard can hinder the site’s expressiveness, there are many things that can muffle the vineyard’s “voice” in the winery: too much oak, large yields, over-extraction, etc. Thus, thoughtful and purposeful decisions must be made in the winery.