From barrels selected blind under the aspects of inter alia density, dark fruit, and florality, the Antica Terra 2011 Pinot Noir Botanica ended up being sourced nearly half from Shea Vineyard (the core of previous Botanica bottlings, too) along with Old School Vineyard (a cool site in the extreme South Willamette) and Antica Terra itself. Cranberry and red currant combine with wild ginger, sassafras and iris root for a mouth-shaking Pinot of pungently penetrating intensity, cut and energy, its tart-edged bright juiciness picking up cyanic and smoky piquancy reminiscent of the corresponding “Ceras” bottling in a finish of ringing clarity.
Maggie Harrison – for much more about whose background and Antica Terra vineyard consult my Issue 202 introduction – found herself utilizing very little whole cluster and stems in 2011 (but then for lots that found their way into her flagship estate bottling), a decision based not just on her assessment of and intuitions about the vintage, but also on the result of separate triage to which she subjects any clusters she is contemplating leaving whole. She continues to favor fermentation (and eventually also elevage) in very small lots. “If I cared about efficiency, I’d do things on a bigger scale and put six tons into a six ton fermenter. But I favor extreme inefficiency, and six tons could turn into 6-10 vessels,” Harrison explains, “so that I can feel connected to it,” especially in working the cap, but also for the sake of experimentation, close attention and flexibility. I got considerable mileage over the past year – beginning with the general introduction to my inaugural Issue 2020 Oregon report – out of Harrison’s impassioned and (for me, anyway) inspiring plea for an adventurous spirit in matching non-Pinot vines to the Willamette, a plea she uttered in connection with the decision of her team – after extensive research, travel and tasting – to plant Godello. I’d be remiss not to follow up with the news that the Pinot in this impressively rocky and commanding as well as geologically mysterious Eola-Amity Hills site will soon also have some Altesse and Chenin keeping it company!