One 12-bottle mixed case of Bethel Heights Vineyard Library ¡Salud! Cuvée Pinot Noir:
A mixed case of five past vintages of ¡Salud! Cuvée Pinot Noir wines. All the wines come from our estate vineyard established in 1977 in the Eola-Amity Hills. Each wine is a unique cuvée, a special selection just for the ¡Salud! auction.
The 1996 cuvée was made by founding winemaker, Terry Casteel, one of the founders of the ¡Salud! Auction. The four later vintages were made by second generation winemaker, Terry’s son, Ben Casteel.
1996 is often called a “classic” Oregon vintage: a long growing season, relatively cool and dry through September. At Bethel Heights we harvested in October between intermittent rains that did not interfere with quality. The style of the vintage leans toward delicacy and balance over power, with relatively low alcohols below 13.5%.
2009 was warm and sometimes hot during the summer, with a couple of extraordinary heat spikes. September was atypically sunny and warm. October continued dry, but cool enough to extend hang time without losing balance in the fruit. The grapes were harvested during the first three weeks of October, with great acidity and flavor development and alcohols below 14%.
2017 was quite warm and dry throughout the growing season, punctuated by a couple of significant hot spells in August and early September, but September cooled down mercifully, with a few brief rain events that helped maintain freshness in the vineyard through the final ripening phase. The fruit was able to ripen on the vines for a generous 110 days after bloom in most blocks, with harvest beginning on September 27 and ending on October 15. Final alcohols were around 13.5%
2018 was defined by a hot and extremely dry summer, but our reliable Aeolian winds kept night-time temperatures cool throughout July and August, preserving acidity in the fruit as it ripened. September finally brought a couple of welcome rain events that refreshed the vines and kept them active through the final ripening period. Harvest began in the last week of September and was over by the 10th of October. The fruit came in with the natural concentration of flavor and acidity that one would expect from a hot dry season, but alcohol levels remained under 14%.
2019 was cooler, damper and later than recent vintages, causing higher anxiety levels among growers and winemakers through the season. The crop was very small, with small berries and lots of intensity. The cool season allowed us to outperform on hang time; instead of the normal 100 days, we were able to leave the fruit on the vines for 110 to 120 days without excess sugar accumulation, giving us enhanced intensity and complexity in balanced wines with moderate alcohols around 13.3%
Our winemaking philosophy has remained quite constant through two generations and three decades of vintage variations, always striving for transparency in producing wines that reflect the unique character of our estate vineyard. Gnarly old vines, geologically complex hillside soils, and direct impact from Æolian winds – all conspire to create highly energized wines with firm backbones, depth of character, and distinctive personalities.
For all our wines we practice non-intrusive vinification and restraint in the amount of new oak for barrel aging, usually around eleven months in French oak, and about 30% new barrels.
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