King Estate’s newest offering; Inscription Pinot Noir, is a vow of authenticity.
By Mark Gmur, CWE
King Estate’s latest release, Inscription Pinot Noir, is as what Ed King, King Estate’s founder describes as not necessarily a unique wine in itself, but he instead refers to Oregon Pinot Noir as being unique in the world of wine. As Ed says, Inscription is a vow to the authenticity of well-made Oregon Pinot Noir.
Ed King is being humble, because when you look closer at Inscription, this wine is indeed very special. Let’s start with the sourcing of the grapes. Situated at the southern tip of the Willamette Valley, King Estate is the largest Biodynamic® vineyard certified by Demeter in 2016. Biodynamic® farming is a natural and holistic method that traces its origins back to ancient, time-honored practices that are in harmony with the Earth. Their 1033-acre estate was also Certified organic in 2002, and thus treated as its own eco-system.
ED KING, CEO & CO-FOUNDER
About half the grapes that are used to produce Inscription come off of their vineyards at King Estate. So, you get it, there is some very special fruit going into this wine. But it gets even better! Before we examine where the other half of the grapes are sourced from, it is important to make special note of the strict vineyard selection that takes place. 57% of all Pinot Noir grapes produced at King Estate are not put into any King Estate Pinot Noir program – therefore you are only getting “the best of the best” grapes that are on offer at the Estate. The fruit coming off the Estate, that goes into Inscription, is supplemented with some of Willamette Valley’s most revered vineyards including Pfeiffer Vineyard, Bradshaw Vineyard, Nicholas Vineyard, Croft Vineyard, Temperance Hill Vineyard, Freedom Hill Vineyard and Tonalita Vineyard..
Head winemaker Brent Stone takes a very artisanal approach to making Inscription. All lots, blocks and clones are kept separate through the entire winemaking process before blending. This small-lot separation continues all the way through barrel aging. Small fermenters allow King Estate to be very precise with harvest dates because they can execute smaller picks and harvest only the blocks that are ready as opposed to trying to fill larger fermenters with fruit of uneven ripeness.
BRENT STONE, HEAD WINEMAKER
This allows them to maximize grape maturity and flavor development in every block. When I asked Brent why he did this, he chuckled and he quipped: “We don’t do this because it makes things easier! In fact, this approach results in over 400 fermentations annually across our Pinot programs. Each lot has to be managed individually; however, we this just enables us to maximize quality across our entire vineyard portfolio”.
100% Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, 100% made by Oregonians and 100% made at King Estate Winery.
Brent Stone tastes each individual lot during fermentation and barrel aging. After fermentation, every lot will be tasted at least once per month, and graded by the winemaking team on a 100-point scale. Anything that does not make the cut is sold to other producers.
Inscription is 100% barrel aged with about 30% new French Oak, resulting in a wine that showcases red fruit, raspberries, with subtle earthen notes, with structure – complemented by the pretty nuances of French Oak. Quintessential Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. And as authentic as it comes – 100% Willamette Valley, 100% made by Oregonians.