Notes from Eyrie:
Eyrie founder David Lett was convinced that the climate of the Willamette Valley was potentially perfect for growing Pinot noir. At the tender age of 24, with a degree in viticulture, another in philosophy, and eight months of intensive research in European wine regions behind him, David Lett headed for Oregon. He left California with little more than 3000 grape cuttings and a firm conviction that Oregon’s Willamette Valley would be the best home for Pinot noir and Chardonnay outside of Burgundy.
On February 22 1965, David established the modern era of winegrowing in the Willamette Valley when he planted his first vines. David was soon joined by his new wife Diana, and together they planted and expanded their estate on a former orchard in the Dundee Hills. Their plantings focused on the first Pinot noir and Chardonnay in the Willamette Valley, but also the first Pinot gris commercially planted outside of Europe, and other cool climate varieties.
This vineyard is named for the underlying outcrop of rock ridging perpendicularly to the hillside. Outcrop overlooks our original vineyard. The five acres of Pinot here were planted to Wadenswil clone between 1982 and 2000. The elevation runs from 280’ up to 360’ and faces north north-east. In spite of the northern exposure, reflected heat from the Original Vines planting warms the site.
In 2017, record breaking precipitation fell in February followed by heavier than normal rain through the spring. The summer was dry and quite warm; fortunately, our deeply rooted vines weathered it well, drawing on the spring rains soaked deep in the soil. Of some worry was late-summer smoke from forest fires in the Columbia Gorge many miles away, but a burst of rain two weeks before harvest washed the vines and refreshed them - and put out the fires in the Gorge. At the end of September, harvest began as moderate temperatures moved in. This vintage was closest to “normal” of the last five years, starting just before our historical average of October 5.