Oregon Wine Country, an extraordinary place sculpted by the floods of the last ice age, is a series of valleys much like Burgundy. The Yamhill Carlton AVA, located in the northern Willamette Valley, consists of ancient marine sedimentary-based soils, Mediterranean weather patterns and neatly combed benchlands. Gran Moraine embodies the confluence of these elements, creating a perfect setting to craft classic Burgundian varieties - Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Gran Moraine takes its name from cataclysmic floods that occurred in the northern Willamette Valley of Oregon during the last ice age. As the glaciers receded they released a torrent of water from the once giant Lake Missoula. These famous Missoula Floods traveled across the Columbia basin helping to carve out the Columbia Gorge.
The Willamette Valley became an extremely large temporary lake and was left with huge deposits of silt as well as giant boulders with origins in current British Columbia and Idaho. These are known by geologists as erratic rocks. These erratic rock outcroppings boldly manifest themselves throughout our vineyard. They were once part of the giant glacial dam’s moraine – what we refer to as the "Gran Moraine."
The Yamhill-Carlton AVA status was granted in 2004 to distinguish fruit grown in the oldest marine sedimentary-based soils in the greater Willamette Valley. These soils and the growing conditions create wine with a profile that is distinct from that of wine from the surrounding AVAs in several significant ways. More specifically, the Pinot Noirs lean to black fruit, minerality, and floral—rose and violet—elements.
In addition, the AVA is located primarily on hillsides between 200 and 500 feet in elevation, the sweet spot for distinctive, age-worthy Pinot Noir. Although the spring can often be wet and cool, it is normal for this AVA to enjoy a more Mediterranean weather pattern from July through mid-October, as the Coast Range protects the northern parts of the Willamette Valley.