The Wine: Pet Sounds Pet Nat 2018
Jess Miller Pet Sounds 2018 is a pet nat natural wine made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes farmed organically in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, Willamette Valley, Oregon. Light and lively with fine bubbles, notes of violet, wild strawberry, and tamarind for one of the best pet nats available in the United States right now.
The Producer: Jess Miller
Jess Miller is a young winemaker and vigneron working mainly as a vineyard manager. Jess farms twelve acres in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA in Oregon, spending her days working directly in the vineyard. In exchange for her work as a vigneron, Jess receives about a ton of fruit each vintage - organically farmed Pinot Noir from Eola-Amity Hills AVA. With these grapes Jess makes very little wine - for her first vintage, she made only our 225-liter barrels of wine. Jess's pet nat has been called by many in the industry one of the best Pinot Noir pet nats in the US (photo credits vomboden.com).
The Region: Willamette Valley
Willamette Valley AVA is located in western Oregon, stretching for about 120 miles south of Portland. The Willamette River runs through the entire region. Willamette Valley is famous primarily for its Pinot Noirs, and it’s become one of the world’s benchmark for this cold-climate grape varietal, in some cases rivaling Burgundy.
The development of viticulture and winemaking in Willamette Valley can be attributed to the curiosity of a handful of University of California Davis students. In the 1960s they explored the area’s potential for viticulture and found that Pinot Noir would have adapted the best, and the rest is history.
In 1979, a Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley took part in the Gault-Millau French Wine Olympiades, beating several Burgundy Pinot Noirs, which at the time were regarded as the best expression of this fascinating grape varietal. This put Oregon and especially Willamette Valley one the wine world map.
Willamette Valley has been its own AVA since 1984, but in 2002 a movement to differentiate the valley’s terroirs started. As a result, several new sub-AVAs have been established in the past fifteen years: Dundee Hills, McMinnville, Eola-Amity Hills, Yamhill-Carlton District, and Chehalem Mountains and Ribbon Ridge.
The Terroir of Willamette Valley
The climate of Willamette Valley is predominantly maritime with rainy winters and dry summers. Temperature variation between day and night can be substantial. Pinot Noir, a grape varietal which tends to ripen early and favors cool climates, has adapted perfectly to the region.
The characteristic soil formation of Willamette Valley is rich in iron and is called Jory. It can be found pretty much everywhere in the valley and it’s responsible for Willamette’s signature Pinot Noir profile.