Atavus is one of the Columbia Gorge’s iconic, historic sites. It was planted in the 1960’s at 1800 feet, at the end of a ridge overlooking Mt. Hood and the Columbia River. This is the second bottling from a solera of late-picked, skin fermented Gewürztraminer and Pinot Noir. The grapes are picked late, just as botrytis is setting in and the skins begin to thin, dry and turn purple. They are placed whole cluster in open top bins and allowed to macerate from between four to eight days. When the juice reaches a peak of intensity and concentration it is placed in a basket press, where it is slowly pressed directly into barrel. Once the wine completes fermentation, usually late in the spring it is racked together with the previous vintages of the wine. A small amount is bottled at this time, while the rest is returned to barrel to continue its maturation.
It doesn’t really taste and smell of Gewürztraminer and has more in common texturally and aromatically with Savagnin (the yellow and green berried version of the same grape) or late-picked Wachau versions of its genetic descendent Gruner Veltliner. Its hard to say why? Perhaps its because a portion of the berries are mutating back to Savagnin and present as yellow and high in acidity. More likely it has to do with the site. This high elevation, volcanic vineyard produces wines with length, finesse, and levity. The exotic Gewürztraminer is brought into compelling focus by the land.