North of McMinnville, Oregon, in the Northern Willamette Valley, the land slowly rises to the hamlets of Carlton and Yamhill. Low ridges surround the two communities in a horseshoe shape. The free-flowing North Yamhill River courses through the center of a lush patchwork quilt of nurseries, grain fields and orchards. The neatly combed benchlands and hillsides of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, an AVA established in 2004, are home to some of the finest Pinot Noir vineyards in the world. Historically nourished by forestry and farming, this area is rapidly emerging as a global center of Pinot Noir production. This pastoral corner of Oregon’s northern Willamette Valley was the final destination for many of the early Oregon Trail pioneers. It is now being revitalized by a new wave of pioneers: committed, passionate winegrowers drawn to the area’s unique set of growing conditions. The Coast Range to the west soars to nearly 3500 feet (1200m), establishing a rain ‘shadow’ over the entire district. Additional protection is afforded by Chehalem Mountain to the north and the Dundee Hills to the east. The coarse-grained, ancient marine sediments native to the area are among the oldest soils in the Willamette Valley. These soils drain quickly, making them ideal for viticulture. Thus, the vines stop growing shoots and leaves earlier here than elsewhere, leading to more complete ripening, even in cooler growing seasons. This allows Pinot Noir to develop deep ruby colors and broad, silky tannins. The mouth-filling wines exude powerful fruit aromas of raspberry, blackberry and black cherries, framed by minerality reminiscent of pipe tobacco, espresso, clove and dark chocolate and accented by scents of rose, violet, lavender and sweet wood smoke. These are alluring, complex, supple gems of Pinot Noir to sip and savor.
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While world class Pinot Noir is predominantly grown by our 75+ members, you will also find Pinot Gris and an array of high quality small production varietals.