The Natasha Block is of an altitude of 600 feet and its soil is of dense clay and sand. The Jordan block is on an even steeper slope, 750 feet, and has soil of volcanic rock. Only twenty five miles from the ocean, the weather is influenced by patterns coming up the Van Duzer pass from the coast. The vineyard may just be one of the two most western sites in the valley where there is more precipitation, more sunny days, cooler diurnal temperatures, and cool coastal winds during the late afternoon and early evening.
The 2009 vintage dealt with extreme high and low temperatures during the early part of the growing season yet at the end, a long autumn with some rain at harvest yielded well balanced fruit.
**2009 Youngberg Hill Natasha Pinot Noir – Fruit aromas abounded in this wine and the spice and minerality on the palate were delicious. This wine can be kept for fifteen years and the balance between fruit, tannins, acidity, and alcohol (14.4%) will be even more wonderful. This wine was aged in 25% new oak for fifteen months. Cost is $40.00.
**2009 Youngberg Hill Vineyards Jordan Pinot Noir – With a deep burgundy color, dark red fruit and coffee with some floral aromas make you want to taste…more of the same! I found some minerality in this wine most likely due to the volcanic soil and the finish was full enough to suggest a dinner pairing of a juicy steak! The alcohol content is 13.8% and it, too, was aged in 25% new oak for fifteen months. Cost is $40.00.
2008 was a stellar year for Oregon Pinot Noir. Despite the ups and downs of the weather, a bit of hand wringing on the part of anyone involved in winemaking, a long and perfect October kept sugar levels on the right track and the rest is…excellent Pinot Noir!
**2008 Youngberg Hill Vineyards Natasha Pinot Noir – I loved this wine! It was smooth, elegant, fresh, and each facet was beautifully integrated and balanced. The black fruit flavors, some minerality, and just downright delicious taste and mouthfeel were a delight to enjoy! Aged in 20% new French white oak, the cost is $50.00.
**2008 Youngberg Hill Vineyards Jordan Pinot Noir – This wine was fuller bodied and more earthy than the Natasha. Tasting like a true Burgundian Pinot Noir, the aromas were of dark fruits including cherries and plums along with some black pepper and smoke. Yet I tasted some vegetal notes with cinnamon! With a satisfying and full finish, you can cellar this keeper for at least twelve years. The cost of this delicious wine is $40.00.
Getting to know Wayne Bailey, tasting the wines from Youngberg Hill, and appreciating his philosophies of winemaking, family, and life will remain a highlight for which I am thankful.
“I never have to get up and go to work – I get up and start living.” ~ Wayne BaileyPhotos: Youngberg Hill Winery