MetroWines hosted a tasting with Associate Winemaker Jon Tomaselli of Torii Mor Winery in Dundee, Oregon. First, Jon is of Sicilian heritage! I totally shared a "Ciao Asheville" calling card with him. His wine roots go deep and far back into Italy. And you know that made us happy to hear!
The Torii Mor Website says of the Italian Connection: "With three generations of Italian winemakers in his family, Jon Tomaselli began his love affair with wine at the age of 4 years old while assisting the elder Tomasellis in their viticultural endeavors. By the age of 8, Jon knew he had found his calling in life."
After growing up Italian!!, the Website says of his journey to winemaker: "In 1999, Jon graduated from Arizona State with a degree in small business management. After four long years in the trenches of corporate America, Jon went into business for himself brokering wine grapes from California and wine equipment. Upon moving to Oregon in 2006, Jon was offered a position at Torii Mor and in 2007, was promoted to Associate Winemaker under the direction of Winemaker Jacques Tardy.
Jacques brings his Burgundian heritage and his years of experience to Torii Mor and carefully produces wines of elegance, balance, and intention, utilizing our Olson Estate Vineyard and other prestigious vineyards in the Dundee Hills and other AVAs within the Willamette Valley."
Jon was informative, unpretentious and flat out fun. He escorted us through a tasting of six different versions of Pinot Noir. You might be asking how different can they be? With the different soils and the myriad of factors, including harvest date, fermentation temperature, skin contact, oak aging or not, all the way down to cork or screw cap, that can be adjusted and tweaked in the winemaking process, all six were distinct and very different. You can read all about his wines here: https://www.toriimorwinery.com/product-category/red-wine/
What we all really liked was his basic approach to explaining the process. Some of us finally GOT IT. Jon explained that the winemaker can control the weight of the wine. And this is of great importance to him. He is suitably unhappy with what has happened to most domestic versions of Pinot Noir. Too big. Unbalanced. Unstructured. Flabby. Just too much!
He likened the process of controlling body to dipping a tea bag in a cup of hot water. Every time you dip the bag, the tea becomes stronger. But imagine if you dip the bag in cold water. And then increasingly hot water, the difference in strength or weight of flavor in the tea. Same with wine!
Punch Down and Pump Over are the two main processes by which a winemaker can induce the juice to have contact with the grape skins. Wine Folly describes it this way:
Pumpovers Pumpovers can extract higher amounts of tannin in a wine depending on the frequency and force. Some pump over systems are basically wine sprinklers, offering a gentler extraction and some aggressively stir up the fermentation tank. For larger fermentation tanks in commercial operations, much needed oxygen comes through a pumpover device.
Punch Downs Punch downs, on the other hand, are a very delicate way of stirring a wine. Theykeep skins from getting too extracted and little to no amount of added oxygen in the fermentation. Punch downs are typically done by hand and are more popular with non-interventionist winemaking.
So, the more you punch down or pump over, the heavier the weight of the wine. And then there is temperature control. The cooler the temperature, the fruitier and fresher the wine. Within the varietal, Jon has great leeway to not only reflect the terroir but the all important weight he not only prefers but believes is appropriate for the grape. GOT IT!
Jon has agreed to SKYPE with us from his habitat in Dundee! Any Hale, Director of The Asheville School of Wine, is contacting him now! Stand by....