Hibiscus Flower, Laurelwood Soil, Strawberry Rhubarb
The Muirfield block was the first planted on our property in the eighties. This type of self-rooted Pinot Noir is disappearing due to Phylloxora disease in the Willamette Valley, and we are fortunate to have some original plantings of Pinot that still produce this quality of wine, particularly as we see more Oregon vineyards of this type being replaced by root stock plantings. This wine remains the finest example of what our vineyard can do in any given year when everything goes right.
The 2017 vintage began cold and rainy during flowering in our estate blocks. This rain reduced the size and number of clusters at fruit set. The reliably dry summer months finished with heat extremes in August that shut the vines down once temperatures rose above 90 degrees and caused some grape dehydration. Harvest however began under ideal conditions in late September with grapes for Sparkling Rose, White Pinot, and the Pinot gris, followed by receiving Pinot noir for red wine production over the next two weeks. The end of October saw the last fruit of the season at perfect ripeness. In the cellar as the Pinot Noirs emerged from fermentation, bright cherry and floral notes were prevalent from the older blocks and intense blackberry notes from the younger Dijon clones.
When I started working at Hawks View in the Summer of 2017, I was most excited by the blend of wine from the oldest vines on the site planted in 1986 to the Wädenswil clone of Pinot noir called the Muirfield Block. The aromatic rose and hibiscus aromatic notes were similar to other Laurelwood sites that I had worked with in the Chehalem Mountains before, but this block gave the wine a concentration and intensity that was new to me for a Laurelwood soil Pinot. I was delighted to find out that this superior Pinot noir block was historically bottled separately as a reserve, but nervous to know if we would get this unique aromatic expression every vintage.
The highlight of my 2017 harvest came as I swung open the door and began to dig out the Muirfield tank. The wave of mixed floral potpourri filling the room was immediately reassuring. I was relieved to find out that the block had done it again! The wine in barrel after pressing was very promising with more age worthy tannin than other vintages that I had tasted in the library. The wine aged perfectly in the bottle and has now maybe even surpassed the 2016 in terms of its silky texture and lingering floral notes.
I really love to make wines like this. It's like pulling off a magic trick that you still don't fully understand how it works. And then somehow doing it again the next year. I guess that in the end, I hope this limited reserve bottling of our oldest and dearest block of Pinot noir will bring you some of the mysterious delight that it continues to bring to us here at Hawks View. - Winemaker, Don Crank III