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  • andychalk

Two Braces of Enticing Oregon Chardonnays


by Andrew Chalk


Oregon's pinot noir is already known worldwide. However, the state has more than that going on. Chardonnay has been grown in the state for a long time but has not received the same acclaim. One respected Oregon winemaker told me two decades ago that early chardonnay plantings had problems because they were the wrong clone. The Wente clone produced fantastic results in California, but did not transfer well to the Oregon terroir. French clones (e.g. the Dijon clone) have proven much more successful.


Today, Oregon winegrowers bring mature vineyards and years of experience to chardonnay and news of the results is getting out. Recently, I tasted four examples and came away impressed, not just with the quality of the wine but the spirit of independence of the winemakers. The results were a style of wine that is not a Xerox of the heavily oaked, heavily extracted, ripe New World style that is so widespread. I like that style, but what I like even more is choice, and these growers offer part of that fabric.


NAME:

Chehalem 2021 Chardonnay Reserve, Estate Grown, Dundee Hills, Oregon

APPEARANCE


Clarity

clear

Intensity

medium

Color

lemon-green

Other observations




NOSE


Condition

clean

Intensity

medium

Aroma characteristics

mayer lemon, lime, pineapple, golden apples, oregano



PALATE


Sweetness

dry

Acidity

medium plus

Tannin


Alcohol

medium

Body

medium

Flavour intensity

medium plus

Flavour characteristics

Fruit in nose confirmed. Chewy body due to impressive phenolic backbone. Graham crackers. Malo may not be 100% Oak is muted

Other observations


Finish

Finish of citrus fruit lingers.



CONCLUSION


Quality assessment

Very good quality. Especially notable is the winemaker's readiness to break with conventiion and restrain the use of oak and, I believe, malolactic fermentation, for a wine that is very good but in a singular way, without leaving any doubt that it is chardonnay.

Bottle ageing

Suitable


NAME:

Duck Pond 2022 Chardonnay Coles Valley Vineyard, Umqua Valley, Oregon

APPEARANCE


Clarity

clear

Intensity

medium

Color

lemon-green

Other observations




NOSE


Condition

clean

Intensity

medium minus

Aroma characteristics

Lime, green apples, peach stones, hints of oak, brioche;



PALATE


Sweetness

dry

Acidity

medium plus

Tannin


Alcohol

medium

Body

medium plus

Flavour intensity

medium plus

Flavour characteristics

Fruit in nose confirmed. Phenolic background. Fruit not as ripe as Chahalem.

Other observations


Finish

Medium and fruit-led;



CONCLUSION


Quality assessment

Very good. All elements in balance. Short of oustanding due to the intensity of the elements, especially fruit.

Bottle ageing

Suitable


NAME:

Stoller Family Statement 2021 Chardonnay Reserve, Estate Grown, Dundee Hills, Oregon

APPEARANCE


Clarity

clear

Intensity

medium

Color

lemon-green

Other observations




NOSE


Condition

clean

Intensity

medium

Aroma characteristics

Lime, peach stone fruit, green apples. Somewhat closed.



PALATE


Sweetness

dry

Acidity

medium plus

Tannin


Alcohol

medium

Body

medium plus

Flavour intensity

medium

Flavour characteristics

Deeply chewy texture, impressive minerality. Would like more power to the components;

Other observations


Finish

short



CONCLUSION


Quality assessment

Good. To be higher the fruit needs more power. The balance is this wine's most compelling feature.

Bottle ageing

Not suitable


NAME:

Van Duzer 2021 Chardonnay, Estate, Van Duzer Corridor, Oregon

APPEARANCE


Clarity

clear

Intensity

medium

Color

lemon-green

Other observations




NOSE


Condition

clean

Intensity

medium plus

Aroma characteristics

Lemon, yeast, green apple, oregano. Mango.



PALATE


Sweetness

dry

Acidity

medium plus

Tannin


Alcohol

medium

Body

medium

Flavour intensity

medium plus

Flavour characteristics

Yeast character more pronounced than in the other wines here. Fruit is ripe and mango more prevalent on the palate than in the nose.

Other observations


Finish

short



CONCLUSION


Quality assessmediument

good. Presents a more mature demeanor than the other wines with secondary flavors. Oak very reserved.

Bottle ageing

Suitable.


Sample.

2 comments

2 comentarii


Robert Morus
Robert Morus
28 feb.

My Oregon wine-growing experience flows back to 1990. Back before the Dijon clones of Chardonnay planted in Oregon, the vineyards were primarily planted to “Davis 108,” with a few fields of Wente clone. Interestingly, the Wente clone made wines considered quite successful. Bethel Heights estate wines used Wente clone. Ken Wright of Panther Creek, then his own outfit and Rick Small of Woodward Canyon wines made cult Chardonnay from Celilo Vineyards in the Columbia Gorge. Celilo was planted to Wente. It was the relative success of the Wente derived wines compared to the Davis 108 wines which settled a debate between climate and clone, driving the mission to find new plant material.

Apreciază
andychalk
28 feb.
Răspunde utilizatorului

Thanks for your insight!

Apreciază
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