The Merlot grapes for our 2019 Rosé were sourced from Thistlecroft Vineyard in Ashland, Oregon. Thistlecroft Vineyard was planted in 1994 by Laurel Banke. Laurel and her partner Steve maintain the vineyard together with Brian Jordaan, the proprietor of Eliana Wines (the source of excellent Bordeaux-style wines in our area.)
We love that Thistlecroft Vineyard has older vines relative to other vineyards in our area. As vines age, the yields and ripening come into balance and vigor eases up.
The vineyard is farmed expertly and sustainably by Brian Jordaan – Laurel and Steve are mindful of what is sprayed in their backyard, which they also use to support the threatened population of western Monarch butterflies. Milkweed grows under the vines for the butterflies, and Laurel and Steve raise, tag and release butterflies from the vineyard each year.
The 2019 growing season was marked by a dry and moderately warm summer followed by unusually cool and unsettled weather starting in September. As rainstorms rolled in and out of the Rogue Valley during September, we were so grateful to be working with a small-scale vineyard that had the flexibility to pick our grapes at exactly the right moment. The Merlot for Rosé was picked on October 1st, which is late compared with other recent vintages. We were pleased to have longer “hang time” for the grapes this year because this allows for more phenological (i.e., flavor) development as sugar levels rise. At the same time we were able to pick the fruit at low sugar levels, which allowed us to make a Rosé that is low alcohol (11.9% ABV) without sacrificing flavor.