The Brittan Vineyard lies just 12 miles southwest of McMinnville, tucked into the foothills of the Coastal Range. The original 18 acres were planted in 2001, but due to the challenging nature of this site and limited topsoil, only eight acres survived. Since 2004 when Robert and Ellen Brittan purchased the vineyard, it has been an ongoing rehabilitation project: replating, retraining and learning the unique landscape that has become the Brittan Vineyard. The three acre, southeast facing Cygnus Block was planted in 2008 to Swan selection, a selection of Pinot noir they believe was brought in from Burgundy around the 1880s and planted in California.
Winter in 2014 was non-existent, resulting in an earlier than normal bud break. Ideal ocnditions during bloom led to a large fruit set for the Willamette Valley. Luckily, the weather during the season cooperated and the vines could handle a slightly larger crop load, which for Brittan Vineyard, meant about two tons per acre. The mornings were quick to heat up and the nights slow to cool down. It is quite rare to have a vintage with both quality and quantity, but 2014 turned out to be exactly that. These rich wines show the finesse, restraint and buoyancy of great winemaking in a great year.
The 2014 Basalt Block Pinot noir shows the density of a warm vintage, but with more finesse bounding across the palate from the windy vineyard site. The nose is heavy with red fruits and exotic cardamom, star anise and Asian five spice aromas. It has a thread of pure fruit that flows from the front to the back of the palate.