Breaking Ground Pinot Noir 2016
While single-vineyard wines can be straight-forward affairs, wines tasked with expressing an entire appellation require tough decisions — and, above all, a point of view. Breaking Ground is Adelsheim’s tribute to the Chehalem Mountains, the AVA that the winery pioneered back in the 1970s. This adds a certain pressure for the winemaker, and Gina, who shares David Adelsheim’s individualist spirit, rises to the challenge, offering an illuminating depiction of the winery’s home turf. The grapes are sourced from 11 separate hillside sites, most of which the winery owns and farms organically. gently transferred into stainless steel tanks for 2-3 weeks of fermentation. The wine was aged for 11 months in French oak barrels (29% were new). Just over 5000 cases produced. 13.5% abv.
In 1972, David and Ginny Adelsheim purchased 19 acres along Quarter Mile Lane in the Chehalem Mountains — the Willamette’s northern most sub zone. Back then the Valley had far more rolling pastures than vineyards. “Oregon wine” was not yet a thing. Fifty years later, Adelsheim’s legacy of community and compassion runs as deep as the region itself. But Adelsheim’s contributions as a Willamette Valley pioneer are far from over. While it continues to set the pace for innovation within the Chehalem Mountains AVA — where its six estate vineyards are located — far more important is its increasing leadership on sustainability and social responsibility. A female-owned company that employees more women than men, Adelsheim has pushed for on-site equality, like fair wages and healthcare for vineyard workers. They now partner with Salud! to provide on-site medical care for seasonal workers and their families, including mobile dental trucks and COVID-19 testing. With her mix of humility and individualism, winemaker Gina Hennen is the right kind of visionary to carry on the legacy. For a mid-sized winery, she takes a notably low intervention approach in the cellar. Thus many of her stylistic decisions begin in the vineyard, where she and Vineyard Manager Kelli Gregory work collaboratively to explore the relationship between farming — from pruning methods to canopy management — and flavor.