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Royer Vineyard has a singular focus to do one thing and do it great - grow Oregon’s best white grapes - namely Chardonnay and Riesling. In 2016, Mark Royer was fortunate to find an amazing piece of land in the Eola-Amity Hills and three years later the first harvest came to fruition. While most of the grapes were sold to some amazing winemakers, a small amount was kept back for this special bottling.


Terroir


Royer Vineyard sits on the southwest facing ridge of the Eola Hills, named after Aeolus the Greek God of Wind. The vineyard currently has 15 acres planted - roughly 13 acres of which are Chardonnay. The clones include Dijon 76, 95, and 548 as well as Heritage 5 (108), 15, 27, 66, 72, 84, and 87. Rootstocks include 3309, 101-14, RG, SO4, 101R, 420A and Schwartzmann. Mark believes this random mix will create a healthy environment and lead to a more complex wine.

Elevation on the site ranges from 600-700′ (relatively high for Oregon) and the soils are mix of Ritner, Witzel, Nekia, and Jory of volcanic origin. The row orientation of NE-SW takes full advantage of the Van Duzer Corridor winds coming through a cut in the coastal mountain range. These winds act to thicken grape skins as well as reduce disease and pest pressure. The site experiences wide diurnal swings helping the grapes recover from the day’s heat and build beautiful acidity.
 
The vineyard is home for many native Oregon oaks and is part of the Willamette Valley Oak Accord. Further, in 2019, one acre of truffle inoculated Hazelnut trees were planted which should provide many decades of yummy treats. 

Mark believes the sum total of site (elevation, aspect, soil), climate, clones and farming practices will proudly show what the Eola-Amity Hills can do with Chardonnay and Riesling.

The farming is managed by Mark with the heavy lifting being done by a professional vineyard management crew. All farming is in accord with organic practices and some bio-dynamic principals. They work to best sustain the land which means no synthetic applications and minimal soil compaction. Extensive work has been done to understand cover crops as a means to save and protect the soil.
 In 2020, they implemented a no-till policy to better encourage the micro-biome, improve carbon sequestration, increase water retention, and create a healthy self-sustaining environment rich with beneficial insects, birds, and fungi.
 

Vintage


The 2019 vintage was a return to normal, meaning cooler and wetter, yet not overly so. There were very few heat spikes to speak of. There was significant rain fall in June and July creating some mildew pressure which was manageable. Again in September several inches of rain fell in the second half of the month which challenged harvesting decisions. Fortunately, a few nice days in the low 70s served to dry off the fruit and the grapes were hand picked on Sept 27th at 21.5 brix. Such a vintage lends to long ripening and the retention of natural acidity interspersed with beautiful Chardonnay flavors.


Winemaking


The winemaking was handled by the highly talented Luke Wylde from Statera Cellars at the newly constructed Abbey Road Farm facility. The grapes were whole cluster pressed without sulfur for about four hours. This long press cycle allows for maximum extraction of flavors from the berries and stems but is gentle enough to leave seeds intact. The juice is brown and opaque and is allowed to settle in tank overnight, before being racked off of gross lees by gravity into neutral French oak barriques. The wine then ferments and lives mostly untouched, save for bi-weekly topping, until going to bottle.
 
The native yeast fermentation was long and slow and the wine did not see sulfur until both primary and secondary fermentations were complete. The wine remains in barrel and on fermentation lees for about 16 months prior to bottling, most of that time is spent without any sulfur allowing for a rich and textural age worthy wine. Early in March 2021 the wine will be racked off to a stainless tank to gently settle for a few days before bottling on March 11 - a flower day for you Biodynamic folks.
 

And Corks


It bears mentioning that many a great Chardonnay has been ruined by something as simple as a 50 cent cork. Pre-mature oxidation and cork taint are the twin pillars of Chardonnay torment. As such, much time was spent researching corks to understand how oxygen transfers and impacts a wine.
Further research was undertaken to understand how the cork producers were pro-actively managing their processes to eliminate cork taint. Ultimately it was decided to experiment with both the DIAM 10 technical cork and the Aquitaine Liege natural cork. For those buying multiple bottles, some of each type of cork will be included so you can decide for yourself which is preferred.

Enough rambling,  you are invited to buy a few bottles (or get the sweet case deal) and let us know what you think.

Royer Vineyard Chardonnay 2019 (only two barrels made, 12.9% Alc)
Aromas of apple, lemon, nectarine, orange rind, acacia blossom, and a hint of hazelnuts. The palette delivers yellow apple, citrus, stone fruits, and a bit of chamomile. This rich medium-bodied wine possesses broad volume, minerality, laser precise acidity, salinity, and a long energetic finish. While excellent right now, it will continue to evolve over the next decade or more.

42 cases of 750 ml - $55 each or $600 for a case
6 cases of 1.5L - $120 each or $650 for a case


As a dangling carrot, those who buy a case will get first dibs on the very small 2020 release - 24 cases only.  The 2020 release comes from a very special section of the vineyard. Although it is still a baby in the barrel, is it showing some magic.
 

Rather than Montrachet, try Mont-Royer

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