Location, location, location! From the onset we felt that Lenné was destined to be a great site. In the Northern Willamette Valley, great sites are characterized by well drained, low vigor sedimentary and volcanic soils. They also tend to be steep hillsides between 300 and 600 degrees elevation, with a southerly aspect. It doesn’t mean that great wine can’t come from other sites in certain years, but consistently great Pinot Noir in this part of the world comes from steep sites with shallow soils at the right elevation and orientation.
We really didn’t really chose Lenné it chose us. After eight months of looking for properties a friend told us about a property friends of hers were thinking about selling. They were descendants of one of the original Yamhill county families, the Laughlins, and the property was part of a huge dairy farm at one point. An hour after setting foot on the property in April of 2000, the eight month search ended. This steep south facing slope fit all the criteria for making great wine. We also liked the neighborhood and this specific ridge which includes Willakenzie Estate, Deux Vert, Shea, Solena, Roots and Penner-Ash. Soter and Beau Freres are close by.
After purchasing the property we started to do some initial ground work and in the spring of 2001 layed out the first 11 acres and planted. The 11 acres was laid out into three blocks made up of Pommard, 777 and 115. The grapes were planted on 7x3 spacing without irrigation. The site proved to be diﬃcult from the beginning, stressing the young vines and produced a high mortality, with nearly 35% of plants dying the first year. The steep slope also proved diﬃcult to work safely and destruction from deer impeded young vine growth.
In the third year, you would normally expect the vines to reach the fruiting wire and even set a small amount of fruit but we could see the vines were still struggling to develop enough roots to sustain growth. These vines were still not producing fruit in 2003 and an additional 2.5 acre block of Pommard was planted behind what is now the tasting room. The block succumbed to the record 2003 heat and all but a handful of plants were lost. In 2004, the block was replanted along with an additional 2.5 acre block of 667 and 114.
Finally in 2004, the vineyard produced a minuscule amount of fruit but it wasn’t until 2006 that we managed to get enough fruit from each block to vinify each clone separately. In 2007, we produced our first normal fruit set, seven years after planting. Now the vineyard has matured and the vines have sent roots into the subsoil finding water and nutrients capable of sustaining them. The vineyard is healthy but the poor soil does its work in limiting canopy growth and produces exceptionally small clusters. The soil produces the mocha aromatic and the distinct mid-palate texture which are the two signatures of Lennés terroir.
Planted 2001 3.5 acres to 115 3.5 acres to Pommard
1.0 acres to 114
2.5 acres to 777
Planted 2003 2.5 acres Pommard Planted 2004 2.5 acres split between 114&677
South with both Southwest 375-575 feet
and Southeast rolls.
Primarily PEAVINE with 7x3, single guyot
some Willakenzie 2084 vines per acre
All steel with four fixed wires. .
Location: On Laughlin Road oﬀ of Highway 240, east of Willakenzie Estate Winery and the town of Yamhill