Roots Pinot Noir – Leroy Vineyard
Leroy Vineyard was established in 1971 south of Hillsboro, in Chehalem Mountains AVA, at an elevation of 300 feet. Is it owned by Leroy Nelson. The Pinot Noir vines (self-rooted Pommard, Wadenswil and Upright clones) are planted on Laurelwood soils classified as silt loam on the surface with underlying clay soil. Chris Berg has been organically farming this vineyard since taking over its management in 2006.
2014 vintage notes: from bud break through harvest, growers and winemakers throughout the state experienced an almost ideal growing season in 2014 that delivered a record amount of exceptional, balanced fruit. The vintage’s milestones averaged two weeks early from bud break through harvest. Growing conditions were mostly dry and warmer than normal throughout the spring, providing a great environment for flowering and fruit set; the result was large clusters that ripened evenly over the course of the warm, dry summer. The 2014 vintage broke the previous record for heat accumulation during the growing season, set in 2006. This record was broken not by the daytime highs but rather the overnight lows being higher than normal for most of the year. This allowed the grapes to continue ripening through véraison without putting heat stress on the vines. Harvest began around mid-September, roughly two weeks earlier than normal. Conditions remained mostly dry through September with some rain at the end of the month. However, the rains this year were viewed as more of a nuisance than an actual problem or challenge, and ultimately helped to reduce pH levels and lower the rapidly rising sugar accumulation. Growers were able to harvest fruit in almost pristine conditions with no signs of disease and minimal fear of pest or bird effects.
Fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged for 18 months in barrels – 40% neutral. 13.5% alcohol. 74 cases produced.
About the Producer
Born in Racine, Wisc., and raised in Idaho, Pennsylvania and Illinois, winemaker and winegrower Chris Berg didn't always know he wanted to make wine. In fact, when he graduated from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, with a bachelor's in English, he wasn't sure what his future held, as far as a career. Meanwhile his parents, Chuck and Dian Berg, had decided to relocate to Oregon from Illinois with the purchase of a manufacturing company in Tualatin, Ore. Chris soon followed and helped his parents at the plant, as well as the other reason for the big move: planting a small vineyard.
In 1999, the Bergs planted seven acres of mostly Pinot Noir on the 20-acre property near Yamhill in the Yamhill-Carlton District of the Willamette Valley. Chuck and Dian built a small house on the vineyard, and Chris lived in Portland with his wife, Hilary, also a Jayhawk. The manufacturing business closed its doors in 2000, and the Bergs found themselves full-time winery folk. In 2001, Chuck and Dian moved to the sunny locale of Wickenburg, Ariz., to be near Dian's parents. Chris and Hilary were then given the opportunity to move to the vineyard from Portland. In 2002, the Bergs picked their first harvest of a whopping three tons, which were made into 72 cases of Pinot Noir.
Today, Roots produces approximately 5,000 cases annually. Wines include the flagship estate Pinot Noir, as well as eight single vineyard-designate Pinot Noirs, sourced mostly from neighboring vineyards in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Other wines include a Grenache, Pinot Gris, Melon de Bourgogne, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and a Méthode Traditionnelle sparkling named after their son, Theo. All these wines are made in small lots and handcrafted using indigenous yeasts. Roots' reserve Pinot Noir label, Racine, honors the town in which Chris was born. (The name means "root" in French).
In homage to one of Chris' favorite artists, Roots' second label, Klee (named after Paul Klee), makes up the largest portion of the case production with 2,000 cases made annually. The artwork is their own adaptation of a Klee painting. Roots' other second label, Sheboygandy — a play on words combining Sheboygan (another Wisconsin town) and Burgundy, the ultimate Pinot Noir region. Both Klee and Sheboygandy are made from premium Pinot Noir fruit.
Farming/winemaking practices: organic. Indigenous yeasts only. The wines are not fined (except the whites, with bentonite) and are vegan.
Roots Wine Company
The Extract: Chris Berg of Roots Wine Co: Ep. 75 - June 2015