Click Here for Original Article by Harvey Steiman for Wine Spectator, 10/20/2016
A warm—but not hot—growing season has produced the third straight year of potentially outstanding wines. Oregon vintners usually spend their harvest time looking at rain clouds gathering in the sky, threatening to disrupt their picking. Not this year. Winemakers across the Willamette Valley are feeling relaxed and happy. By the first week of October, many had already finished picking.
Most of their wines were already in barrel, having completed fermentations weeks before. Flowering came early this spring too, so the growing season was as long as or longer than usual, for some as much as 110 days. It could be the crowning touch in a series of three outstanding vintages. There were bigger riper berries in 2014, which yielded opulent wines. This encouraged the blue component in the color and flavor. The grapes were smaller in 2015 and there was more heat at harvest, which made for more black fruit flavors. 2016 also had small berries, quite similar to 2015. However, during the fermentations, the 2016 vintage showed more aromatic lift and less tannins. This translates into more elegant wines.