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Youngberg Hill Vineyards & Inn

Youngberg Hill Vineyards & Inn consists of 21 acres of vineyards on a 50-acre hilltop property with panoramic views of the Willamette Valley. Located in the McMinnville AVA, the first 12 acres of Pinot Noir were planted in 1989 on two distinct blocks of southeast facing slopes. The vines are own rooted Pommard and Wädenswil clones. 4 additional acres of clone 777 was planted on 101-14 rootstock in 2008. There are also 5 acres of Pinot Gris planted in 2006.

The 6.6-acre Natasha Block is located at about 600-675 feet elevation on Willakenzie soil (sedimentary). The 4.5-acre Jordan Block is higher at 750-800 feet and steeper, and is planted on Steiwer (volcanic) soil. This block is benefits more from coastal breezes, is cooler, and harvested later. The Natasha and Jordan Blocks were planted in 1989 and already in production when the Bailey family bought the property. The Camelot Block, planted in 2008 by the Bailey family, is dedicated to Dijon clone 777. It is located between the Natasha and Jordan Blocks and is a blend of the two soils.

The Youngberg Hill Vineyard is located in the western reaches of the McMinnville AVA, only 25 miles inland from the Pacific Coast as the crow flies. The weather is most heavily influenced by the maritime influence from the Van Duzer Corridor. The vineyard receives more precipitation than most of the Willamette Valley, more sunny days, and cooler temperatures both day and night. Cool, coastal winds gently blow in the late afternoon and early evening reducing disease pressure.

The vineyard is farmed organically and is LIVE and Salmon Safe certified, with some biodynamic practices in place. The vines are not irrigated.

The Bailey family acquired Youngberg Hill in 2003 and renovated and upgraded the entire estate, with improved vineyard management and winemaking, expansion of the Inn, a new tasting room in the inn, and markedly improved hospitality. The house features 8 modernized guest rooms.

Proprietor Wayne Bailey was a mechanical engineer who initially pursued a career in the food and beverage industry as a consultant. He became enamored with wine and turned his career eventually to the wine industry. He went to France on a short term consulting job for a domaine in Burgundy that wanted to export wine to the United States. He fell in love with Pinot Noir, became friends with many of the local vignerons, decided to stay in Burgundy, and worked two vintages.

After his stint in Burgundy, he knew he wanted to grow Pinot Noir in a cool climate and Oregon was a natural choice. He bought Youngberg Hill and beginning in 2003 worked with the late winemaker Jimi Brooks who was the winemaker and vineyard manager at nearby Maysara Vineyards at the time. Brooks helped Bailey institute organic and later biodynamic farming at Youngberg Hill Vineyard.

The wines are crafted in a shared facility by Youngberg Hill owner and winemaker Wayne Bailey, along with noted winemaker Robert Brittan acting as the consulting winemaker. Grapes are 100% de-stemmed, undergo a 3 to 5-day cold soak, are fermented with natural and proprietary yeasts, and aged typically 14-16 months in 28-30% new French oak barrels.

The informative website at offers the wines for sale. The tasting room in the inn is open 10:00-4:00 daily. The best idea is to check into the Inn for a few days and taste the authentic wines while you enjoy the ambiance. The Bailey family is posed below.

2010 Youngberg Hill Barrel Select McMinnville Oregon Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., 92 cases, $60. Released May 2014. 4 barrels from Jordan Block. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Highly aromatic with attention getting aromas of cherry, spice, nutmeg and other exotic spices. Very smooth and polished on the palate with refined tannins, offering a delicious core of cherry and plum fruit accented with brown spice and a hint of tobacco. An aged wine at the peak of its charms. Score: 93

2011 Youngberg Hill Cuvée Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

12.2% alc., pH 3.6, 218 cases, $30, screwcap. Sedimentary and volcanic soils. Estate Pommard, Wädenswil and 777 clones. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, cranberry, spice and balsam lead to a lighter weight wine with bright flavors of red cherry and cranberry accented with a hint of herbs. The tannins are supple and the finish is cherry-driven. Score: 89

2011 Youngberg Hill Natasha McMinnville Oregon Pinot Noir

11.5% alc., pH 3.70, 327 cases, $40, screwcap. 40% Wädenswil and 60% Pommard, 23-year-old vines. Harvest Brix 21.8º. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas and flavors are driven by red cherry and raspberry fruits with savory herbs in the background. Light in concentration, with the balance tilted toward firm tannins which stick out a bit on the dry finish. Score: 88

2011 Youngberg Hill Jordan McMinnville Oregon Pinot Noir

12.0% alc., pH 3.60, 297 cases, $40, screwcap. 60% Pommard and 40% Wädenswil, 23-year-old vines. Harvest Brix 21.9º. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with bright aromas of cherries, spice box, incense and peat. Light to mid weight flavors of fresh cherry with a streak of herbs in the background. Juicy and vivid with a riff of flinty minerality running through and impressive intensity in this vintage. Score: 92

2012 Youngberg Hill Cuvée McMinnville Oregon Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 298 cases, $35, screwcap. Some 777 clone fruit sourced from Bjornson (Eola-Amity Hills) and Hyland (McMinnville) vineyards as well as Youngberg Estate Camelot Block. 100% 777 clone. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Appealing aromas of black cherry and raspberry with a hint of chocolate. Discreetly concentrated core of tasty black cherry and black raspberry fruits with a touch of spice. Nicely balanced tannins and bright acidity with a lengthy, sappy finish. Score: 91

2012 Youngberg Hill Natasha McMinnville Oregon Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 137 cases, $45, screwcap. Pommard and Wädenswil clones. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Very charming with an earth-kissed black cherry core. Plenty of spice livens the palate. Mid to full-bodied with a firm backbone of tannin and a long finish of impressive intensity. Score: 92

2012 Youngberg Hill Jordan McMinnville Oregon Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., 300 cases, $45, screwcap. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. This is an inviting wine that has plenty of structure to last. Aromas of black cherry, rose petal and nutty oak lead to a full-bodied palate of spicy black cherry and dark raspberry fruits. A little earthy undertone adds interest. Very intensely flavored, yet vibrant due to a lively cut of underlying acidity. The black cherry goodness seems to last forever on the finish. Score: 93

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