The Short Story
We began looking for Willamette Valley property in 1996 and a year later found an uncultivated 28-acre parcel on the south slope of Parrett Mountain, just a few miles east of Newberg, OR, part of the Chehalem Mountains AVA. The first ten acres of vineyard land were cleared during the summer of ’97 and eleven additional acres a year later – an incredible view south to Salem and the Eola hills emerged! We burnt slash piles the size of small houses, and removed the large rock from the vineyard. In the Fall of 1998, we began building our 900-square foot home which was finished in the summer of 1999.
In the Spring of 1999, we planted our first 6-acres of Pinot noir. The initial plantings of Pinot noir included roughly 1.75-acres each of Pommard and Dijon clones 667 and 777. In addition, just north of the driveway we planted a ¾-acre mixed-clone block consisting of Mariafeld (a Swiss Pinot Noir clone), Pommard, and Dijon clones 777, 113, and 115. Subsequent plantings of additional Pommard clone and assorted Pinot noir “heritage clones” from California have increased the size of the vineyard to its current 16-acres.
When we planted our Pinot noir vines, it was impossible to project an outcome because there were no other nearby Oregon vineyards as reference points. I knew that Pinot noir grapes liked rocks and our climate was comparable to other sites (despite our relatively high 700’ elevation). But ultimately, there’s only one way to know what the wine will be like, and that’s to make it and taste it. From the beginning, the character of Le Cadeau Vineyard was apparent – the aromatics were fresh and intense; the fruit flavors were pure and deep; there were hints of Asian spices mingled with an earthiness that is often not found in young Pinot noir wines. Those core characteristics remain, regardless of the vintage or the winemaking.
We’ve had the good fortune to work with truly extraordinary winemakers from Oregon and beyond. All have made excellent wines from our fruit. But increasingly we’ve come to believe in the addage: Great Pinot noir is made in the vineyard. New Pinot noir clones and rootstocks have been added while we push our farming practices to ever-higher standards. As we move into our second decade of winegrowing in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, we’re confident that our best wines are yet to come!
Le Cadeau Pinot Noir is all about a very special and unique vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. We showcase various attributes of the vineyard – clones, soils, and “aspect” – by bottling small production cuvees from different sections of the vineyard. We hope that you find our wines to be exciting and enjoyable.