Panther Creek Cellars has been producing
top quality wines (primarily Pinot Noir) since 1986. Built inside McMinnville's
former power plant, Panther Creek Cellars sits in the heart of Oregon's fertile
Philosophically, we at Panther Creek are minimal interventionists. We work hard
in the vineyards to obtain the best fruit, then expend our best efforts to coax
from the fruit all it can give, without resorting to filtering, fining or additives.
Since 1994, winemaking has been under the direction of Mark Vlossak and assistant
winemaker Michael Stevenson. In November 1999, Michael Stevenson was named Panther
Creek’s winemaker; Mark Vlossak continues as consulting winemaker.
Normal production is 7000-7500 cases, although the spectacular 1998 vintage will
come in closer to 5000 cases. We returned to normal production with the 1999 harvest,
estimated at 7,300 cases.
At the winery we hand sort every cluster on a sorting conveyor to remove second
crop, leaves, botrytis, etc. The fruit is gently crushed in a Rauch destemmer-crusher
and pumped into refrigerated stainless steel tanks, where it is cold-macerated
for 5-8 days. After cold maceration the tanks are inoculated with up to four different
strains of yeast (all slow acting to protract extraction) and fermented for an
average of 10 days. We usually do a post-fermentation maceration with argon gas
for 2-4 days. The must is pressed in a Willmes membrane press, and racked into
tanks to settle for 10 days or so. The wine is then racked by into French oak
barrels, where it will age for 10-18 months, depending on the wine.
The wine is generally racked only once, and is not fined or filtered (we view
fining and filtration as remedial measures to be avoided absent compelling circumstances).
The percentage of new French oak varies from 25-80% in the Pinot noir, and from
5-30% in the Melon and Chardonnay. The wines are hand bottled using a 12-head
rotary filler, after double gas sparging, and corked with a vacuum corker. The
corks we use are 2" top grade peroxide sterilized, so the chances of "corked"
wine are negligible. The Reserve, Winemaker's Cuvée and Vineyard Designated wines
are packed in lay-down containers separated with three molded wine trays.
Robert Parker has said that our wines "which are Oregon's most beautifully packaged
(stylish label, heavy glass bottles), are also among the most concentrated and
ageworthy wines now being made in Oregon... Panther Creek has established itself
as one of the most consistent, high quality Oregon wineries."
Panther Creek Cellars / 455 N. Irvine / McMinnville, OR 97128 / 503-472-8080