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Aug 16, 2008 09:00 AM

2007 Oregon Pinot Noir, colored water?

Perhaps some here can enlighten us.

From what I understand in 2007 near the harvest the rain was really heavy and it resulted in bloated grapes that were taken in.

While some winemakers have a machine that helps in evaporation, many do not, making much of the 2007 vintage very thin and lacking in structure.

Some people I've spoken with suggest the evaporation machine is a poor subsitute for a good grape, essentially that while it helps in a year like 2007 the wine is still considerably sub-par.


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  1. I don't know for sure that this link will work but it leads to a day by day report of the 07 Oregon harvest from the Squires Board at

    Almost a year later there are certainly more concrete reports available, but this info certainly suggested that the 07 vintage will be reasonably good or better, depending on when picked and how it was handled.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Midlife

      Thanks Midlife. Interesting read on the Parker board, (the link works) I read much of the four pages and it seems there is/was some concern about the vintage. The general consensus it appears is that initally people were down on 07 and now it's not as bad as it seemed. Good but not great.

      Certainly not colored water, but nothing really memorable.

      Though there are arguments there that refute that and suggest that it's the press that frowns on vintages that have heavy harvest rains. And actually rainy vintages are good even though the public does not buy them.

      I don't know, I'm happy to enjoy some 07 noir even if it's lighter than usual, I only hope it's tasty.

    2. I was in beautiful Dundee last week picking up some vino from Dick Shea. His winemaker was there and wanted to know if I would like to barrel taste the 2007 Homer. Of course I accepted! Nice big fruit flavors, similar to the 06 Homer, heavy tannins it appeared, it seemed the 07 was a wine that could lay down for 10-15 years. More tannin than the 06 and more structure. I also tasted "Block 33", very nice, not as big as the Homer but I will buy some as soon as they release it.

      Everything I hear, from folks smarter than I, tells me that 07 will be a year that the good winemakers will make great wine, some of the newer growers may have chickened out and picked early. It will be a year to taste before buying or rely on someone you respect for good tasting notes. I know that I will be buying some more 2007 Shea Homer and Block 33.

      1 Reply
      1. re: duck833

        Good to know.

        Speaking of Shea, I have absolutley loved the Ken Wright Shea, the Shea Vinyards Shea and some other Shea I can't recall. I've not had the Homer or the "Block 33" but from your description intend on doing some research and heading out to Dundee.


      2. Forgive me, Mallory, but this is going to sound very harsh. I don't intend it so. Your comment is very silly. 2007 will be a perfect vintage for those who like classically structured, Burgundian wines -- in other words, what Oregon does best.. If you're really into hedonistic fruit bombs, California's your place.

        12 Replies
        1. re: wildtrout

          I was about to say the same thing there trout......thanks for saying it first and also i gotta agree, the winemakers who consistently make the PN Oregon is beloved for will more than likely be putting their best foot forward with the '07 for a "evaporator", like my gramps always said.."you cant polish a turd"..and also great wine IS made in the vineyard......had a Magnum of the '05 Ken Wright Shea with Thanksgiving dinner this year..WOW

          1. re: Big Cicada

            Well, if the grapes were otherwise perfectly ripe but got rained on, you have mainly a problem of dilution. Vinovation's reverse osmosis machine is now widely used throughout napa and sonoma counties...and probably many other places now too. Perhaps the original purpose was to remove volatile acidity (increasingly a problem due to the use of cold soaks before fermentation), but it can also be used to reduce the amount of water and alcohol in the wine, concentrating the flavor. Many wineries even have their own vinovation machines that they keep in a back room under wraps, lest the romance going on in the tasting room be interrupted.

            1. re: SteveG

              Dilution is not a problem for those who don't irrigate and therefore have deep root systems. Google "Deep Roots Coalition."

              1. re: wildtrout

                Deep roots don't help you if it rains and you decide you have to get the grapes in, wet or not. That's when the reverse osmosis machines can reduce a lot of stress--instead of farmers trying to decide if they should gamble on the weather drying out so the grapes will be dry at harvest, hoping the weather turns before the grapes begin to mold and get botrytis, they can simply pick and take the water out later. Also probably a bit more sustainable than the possibly apocryphal stories of helicopters being used to dry the grapes for the Hospice de Beaune Grand Cru vineyards.

                1. re: SteveG

                  Deep roots allow you to wait out the rain, Steve.

                  1. re: wildtrout

                    This is only true if the fruit has not started to rot.

                    Once rot starts, deep roots cannot save you.

                    1. re: Erniep

                      Thanks. Amazing you only had 100 pounds of grapes with botrytis in '07, Ernie. Love what you're doing. Amalie Robert wines are highly recommended to my fellow Chowhounds.

                      1. re: wildtrout

                        Thank you.

                        Bottom line is ths: Farmning your own wine has its advaqntages.

                    2. re: wildtrout

                      I'm sorry, but I just don't think you understand what I'm saying. I grew up on a vineyard that dry farmed. I know about deep roots. I also know about late-season rain, when the plants are stressed for water, which is especially common for dry-farmed vines with deep roots. The rain gets absorbed very quickly in the leaves, which can reinflate grapes a bit, and the clusters themselves will hold moisture. I know of specific examples of winemakers using vinovation machines to concentrate a wine by 2 or 3%, turning a wine without much focus into a delightfully concentrated, balanced, focused wine.

                      Some farmers, worried about rain, will cut their losses and harvest before they are satisfied with the ripeness. Some farmers are gamblers, and will leave the grapes out, hoping that the rain passes and dry weather returns to dry things back out. Modern winegrowers have another tool to use, they just won't admit it.

                    3. re: SteveG

                      People use helicopters to dry out vineyards in California; why not in the Côte d'Or?

              2. re: wildtrout

                I was there in April and enjoyed several 07's which were anything but watery. Notably, Brick House and Eyrie.

                Excellent winemakers generally make excellent wines. In challenging years, there are just -- well, more challenges..

              3. The 07 Patty Green Wines are impressive for the vintage.

                1. Some 07's are quite good and some not so good. Depends on the winemaker. Lower end wines that source everywhere should be tasted if possible or else depend on a trusted reviewer.

                  I backed up the truck on the 06's and limited my 07's to Ken Wright, Shea and a few others.

                  The 08 year however was wonderful weather, great indian summer, nice tempertures etc. Will need to keep consumption up so I have room to buy as many as possible next fall.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: duck833

                    Hi from Portland. Fully agree with duck.
                    I am stoked for 08. The cold spring, extended summer into fall will mean some great stuff.

                    1. re: Leonardo

                      That's good to know and thanks for the heads up.

                      JW in Puyallup

                      1. re: Johnny West

                        My wine of the year this year was the 2007 St. Innocent White Rose and the Shea was also amazing.

                        Bottom line on 07 was that good producers made really good wine that will be more drinkable over the next five years than the 08 which will need some cellaring.

                        There are some good deals to be had thanks to the bad vintage report from WS. Thanks guys as I picked up some great wines.