Panther Creek Cellars has been producing top quality wines (primarily Pinot noir) since 1986. Panther Creek's winemaker is Michael Stevenson; consulting winemaker is Mark Vlossak.
They produce a maximum of 7,500 cases annually, about 90 percent of which is Pinot noir. Philosophically, they are minimal interventionists. They work hard in the vineyards to obtain the best fruit, then expend their best efforts to coax from the fruit all it can give, without resorting to filtering, fining or additives.
At the winery they hand sort every cluster on a sorting conveyor to remove second crop, leaves, botrytis, etc. The fruit is destemmed in a Rauch destemmer-crusher and transferred by gravity into refrigerated stainless steel tanks, where it may be cold-macerated for 5-7 days. After cold maceration the tanks are inoculated with up to eight different strains of yeast and fermented for an average of 10 days. The must is pressed in a Willmes membrane press, and racked into tanks to settle overnight. 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 normally fined or filtered (they view fining and filtration as remedial measures to be avoided absent compelling circumstances). The percentage of new French oak varies from 25-75% in the Pinot noir, and from 10-30% in the Melon and Chardonnay. The wines are bottled using state-of-the-art equipment. The corks they use are 2" top grade peroxide sterilized, so the chances of "corked" wine are negligible.
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