Ken Wright Cellars Canary Hill Pinot Noir
WHY WE LOVE IT
- Canary Hill Vineyard is located in the AVA of Eola-Amity Hills. Originally planted in 1983, its sits at 450-550 ft of elevation on an east facing slope dominated by volcanic soils.
- 2017 was a throwback to the classic vintages we have experienced over 30 plus years in the Willamette Valley. Bud break (first green tissue) happened at the time we normally expect. Bloom (flowering of each individual grape) was also when we normally expect this phenomenon, mid-June. This summer, we experienced one of the longest dry periods in our history through July and August. No precipitation for 56 days. When we first checked sugar levels they were abnormally high.With more whole berries, the resulting wines had beautiful high-toned aromatics. The whole berries also helped to slow down fermentation allowing for greater extraction of aroma and flavor.
Varietal Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Elaboration: Each vineyard, further separated by clones, is hand sorted, fermented in small 1 1/4 ton open vat fermenters until dryness, then pressed and aged separately. The wine is aged in 100% French oak barrels for about 1 year. Each single vineyard designated Pinot noir is made with the same approach so the consumer can truly taste the place in which it was grown.
Tasting Notes: Fruit focused. Light tannins and bright acidity. Red and blue fruit- juicy red plum, pie cherry, and marionberry.
2015 – 91 Wine Spectator | 94 Wine Enthusiast
2016 – 91 James Suckling | 93 Wine Spectator | 93 Wine Enthusiast
2017 – 94 Wine Spectator
2018 – 92 Wine Spectator
The seed for a career in wine was planted squarely in Bourbon country of Lexington, Kentucky. While waiting tables to put himself through school, Ken was exposed to fine wines from regions around the world. The passion became avocation when Ken left the Bluegrass State to attend enology and viticulture classes at UC-Davis. Eight years were spent winemaking for Ventana Vineyards, Chalone and Talbott Vineyards in Monterey County of California’s central coast.
Friends from the Willamette Valley piqued Ken’s interest in the region when they would visit, and a trip to the Dundee Hills in 1976 convinced him that this was where the finest Pinot noir in North America was being grown. In 1986, with family, belongings and 10 barrels in tow, Ken moved to McMinnville and started Panther Creek Cellars.
His concept of focusing on vineyard-designate bottling began during those years at Panther Creek and was cemented as a core philosophy in 1994 when Ken Wright Cellars was founded in historic downtown Carlton. Ken now makes a single vineyard bottling from 13 vineyard sites in the Northern Willamette Valley. Given his appreciation of sense of place, it was a given that Ken would contribute to the locations and industry near and dear to his heart. Instrumental in organizing the six new American Viticultural Area (AVA)’s in the Northern Willamette Valley that define in detail the distinct growing areas within the region, he wrote the proposition for the Yamhill-Carlton AVA and served as the association’s first President.