In our opinion, you could not have asked for a better growing season than during the 2018 vintage. In July and early August, a long stretch of dry and hot weather helped the vines grow, but the heat wave broke right before véraison, giving the grapes milder daytime temperatures and cool nights to promote flavor development and preserve the bright acidity that we love. Rainfall was also ideal, where there was enough hydration to keep these dry-farmed vineyards hydrated without sacrificing concentration. That weather held through harvest, and the resulting fruit was some of the best we’ve seen in years.
2018 marks the second year of “Lutte”, our Willamette Valley AVA Blend of Gamay Noir. “ We believe that “Lutte” fits perfectly with our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay “Un” Bottlings -- serious wines that are still approachable and enjoyable. The name of this cuvée, “Lutte”, is a french word that means “fight to overcome”, alluding to the struggles of Gamay Noir in France to be understood as a serious wine of character, as well as our early struggles in promoting Gamay Noir in the land of Pinot Noir.
The “Lutte” bottling of Gamay is crafted to be a step up in structure, finesse and longevity to our more fruity and carbonic influenced Division-Villages “Les Petits Fers”, and as such we select plots from our best Willamette Valley Gamay sites to make this cuvée. The minerally intense Gamay from Methven Family Vineyards has clearly stood out to us over the years and so it made perfect sense to anchor the “Lutte” with the younger Gamay vines grafted over from Pinot Noir there in 2016. To complete the wine, we blended in components from the original 1993 Biodynamically farmed block from Brick House Vineyard in the Ribbon Ridge and a bit each from Eola-Amity Hills neighbors Redford Wetle Vineyard and Bjornson Vineyard. Each of these lots were fermented with a semi-carbonic approach, which allows some structure, but still keeps the juiciness and red fruit characteristics.
The 2018 Gamay Noir “Lutte” is very much a forward progression from the first vintage of this bottling from 2017. We learned a lot about the young grafted block from Methven for a drinkable Gamay that balances fruit and funk like the best of Brouilly or Morgon. Spicy, plush, floral, and bright, the 2018 “Lutte” has an enjoyable pininess with more herbaceousness from clove and dried orange peel. Lutte also has a lovely gaminess reminiscent of sugar cured meats Despite a bit of mid-palate weight, “Lutte” is airy and light on the finish, a combination we greatly enjoy!