It’s that time of year again. The harvest is almost over for most west coast  growers and many of the wines are being made from what was a challenging vintage.  Here in Willamette Valley, particularly Chehalem Mountain AVA, we can describe our thoughts on the results of this harvest first hand because we picked Pinot Noir this week.

The fruit was beautiful. Cluster size varied and brix were low despite the excellent flavor and balance from the samples of fruit we tasted. Tightly knit, focused concentrated wines will most likely be the phrases posed by wine writers and reviewers when referring to 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.

As always, in less than ideal harvest conditions there will be many winemakers who will say  “I’ve been waiting for this type harvest, low yields and concentrated fruit.” Harvest conditions are seldom remembered by anyone other than freaks like us who attempt to write about wine, vineyard managers and winemakers.  What goes on now on the wine production side is something we as consumers will contend with next year or the year after, so let’s focus on the here and now.

For now, enjoy the harvest slide show which took place at the Chehalem Mountains AVA just outside of Newberg, OR at the Nicholas Estates Vineyard. A big thanks goes out to Nick and Sheila from Anam Cara for inviting us to get down and dirty with the crew! Just in case you are wondering, picking is not a walk in the park!

..and to testify just how hard vineyard workers kick butt during harvest, check out the 4AM harvest of Jordan Merlot: Garden Creek Ranch, Alexander Valley. They also put our slide show to shame!