Meet our new producer: Phelps Creek

We proudly announce our newest exclusive addition to Davy’s portfolio: Phelps Creek Vineyards Estate – a small boutique winery located in Hood River (Columbia Gorge, Oregon) with sustainable agricultural practices making limited production of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

The owner Bob Morus was raised in California where he experienced wine first hand. He served in the U.S Airforce before commercially flying Boeing 777’s for Delta Airlines. In 1989, married with Lynette, they started looking for a place to move and start their family and the dream of having a vineyard. Looking for a place near his work base in Portland where he could juggle working as a pilot and working in the vineyards, he and his wife set out to explore Oregon’s wine districts.

Afraid of Oregon’s humidity, they began exploring further east to Columbia Gorge. At that time, four wineries spread throughout the area (Hood River Vineyards, Three Rivers, Mont Elise and Hooper Family) joined by several other vineyards. It was the town of Hood River that impressed them the most. There they found a 60-acre site perfect for grapevines with a steep southern slope and a magnificent view of the Hood River Valley.

The winery focuses on estate grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varietals, annually producing 5,000 cases. Intensive vineyard care combined with the Burgundian winemaking talents of Alexandrine Roy, a fourth-generation winemaker from Gevrey-Chambertin produces stunning results.

The Vineyards

The name of the winery is derived from a tributary of the Columbia River that runs a path just below the Phelps Creek vineyards. The creek is named after Phelps who was a cooper, building barrels using a small mill along the lower portion of the creek.

The estate vineyards consist of 12 hectares of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with the Pinot Noir vines dating to 1990 and Dijon clone Chardonnay from 1992. From the initial 2.8ha, planting has increased, and today there are 10ha of Pinot Noir (Pommard, Dijon 777 and 115), 1.8ha of Chardonnay (mostly Dijon 75 and 76 and 200 plants from cuttings of Celilo Vineyard’s Wente clone), and 0.2ha of Pinot Gris. Elevation ranges from 290m to 360m and soils are ancient volcanic called Oak Grove Loam.

Since 2021, Phelps Creek became LIVE certified for sustainable wine-growing.

The Wines

Phelps Creek Underwood Mountain Vineyard Riesling 2021
The noted aviator Jack Brady planted Riesling on a superb Underwood Mountain eastern slope many years ago. Phelp’s Creek winemaker Bill Swain first moved to the Gorge some 40 years past with the passion to make great Riesling. They jumped at the opportunity to purchase fruit from Jack that would allow Bill to emulate his favourite wine’s from Germany’s Mosel River.
“I am enthralled by fine quality German Rieslings. The best of these Rieslings are the most exciting of all white wines. Our 2019 vintage from the Underwood Vineyard is equivalent to classic wines from the Mosel and Nahe River regions of Germany.“ – Bill Swain
Phelps Creek Gorge Crest Gewürztraminer 2019
Gorge Crest sits stunningly on Washington’s Underwood Mountain, just 4.5 miles north of Phelps Creek estate. Their crew crosses the Columbia River to tend the vines. Modest south slope grants full sun throughout the day. Breezes from the west provide rapid diurnal cooling. The end result is a perfect place to capture Gewürztraminer’s enchanting qualities. Floral notes of carnations and fresh cut ginger. The extended skin contact imparts beautiful mouth texture.
Phelps Creek Chardonnay 2019
Chardonnay grapes from both Phelps’ estate in Oregon and the Jones property on Underwood Mountain in Washington. The high altitude growing of the Jones estate brings bright acidity, while the Phelps Creek estate fruit layers spice and depth. Aged in both French and Hungarian oak barrels. Phelps Creek Chardonnay is a combination of Dijon, Wente and Davis clones. Harvesting first from their own estate, the fruit is full cluster gentle pressed, then élevage in 10% new French Oak barrels to enhance texture. The second picking is slightly later as the high elevation fruit is slower to ripen. In barrel, the wine undergoes bâtonnage and malolactic conversion to approximately 50%
Phelps Creek Lynette Chardonnay 2018
All started with an experiment in 2016 ageing Chardonnay in extra large barrels, also know as Puncheons. With 2018 vintage, they have honed the skills to include 3 puncheons of Chardonnay for the newly enhanced Lynette Chardonnay. The extended “élevage” classically enhances the “mid-palate” of the wine and adds complexity. Aged for 20 months in French “Puncheon” barrels. Lynette Chardonnay is their reserve wine named after Robert’s wife (the owners) as an engagement present and composed dominantly of estate grapes grown at 900’ elevation, plus some fruit originating from the “South Hill” vineyard grown on Underwood Mountain at 2000’, four miles north of the estate.
Phelps Creek Pinot Noir 2019
The season began slightly early and transitioned into greater than average warmth. We cropped our blocks sparsely seeking both character and intensity. The 100% estate grown fruit combines three clonal selections, Pommard, Dijon 115 & Dijon 777. The cool evenings provide beautiful acid balance. Our volcanic soils add spice and mineral elements. Barrel aged for an extended period in French Oak to bring out aromatics and soften structure.
Phelps Creek Cuvée Alexandrine Pinot Noir 2021
Every season fourth generation winemaker Alexandrine Roy joins us from Gevrey-Chambertin sharing her expertise of traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques using the grapes of Phelps Creek Vineyards. The result is Cuvée Alexandrine—a reserve level Pinot Noir. This beautiful wine emerges from her personal crafting and final selection of the finest native yeast fermented estate barrels. Cuvée Alexandrine Pinot Noir combines three Pinot Noir Clones, Dijon 115, Dijon 777 and Pommard. Harvest separately block by block, each selection undergoes spontaneous, native yeast fermentation, thriving with the native yeast living on the fruit. The wine is barrel aged in French Oak approximately 11 months prior to Alexandrine’s final selection.