In the northwest corner of Willamette Valley, low ridges create an AVA centered around the hamlets of Carlton and Yamhill in a distinct horseshoe shape. Home to some of Oregon’s most regarded Pinot Noir vineyards, the Yamhill-Carlton District is known for its coarse-grained, marine-sedimentary soils that are among the oldest in Willamette Valley. The appellation is situated on hillsides between 200 and 1,000 feet elevations, with the Yamhela Vineyard located at a sweet spot of 600 feet. This specific site is low enough to allow ideal ripening and receives more sunshine than the rest of the region, which is often under a rain shadow from the looming western Coast Range. The specific soil combined with the location encourages early ripening of Pinot Noir, which is particularly important in this region.
Willamette Valley is a growing region that tends to experience unpredictable heat spikes in the spring and summer and heavy rains during harvest. 2015 proved to have neither of these challenges, making it an ideal growing season and a very mild, moderate vintage overall. The days and nights did not get too hot or too cold, allowing the fruit to ripen evenly and slowly mature across the season. Everything was picked before the rain arrived in late September.