Over a decade ago we started sourcing Chardonnay grapes from a different AVA and vineyard each vintage with hopes of gaining insight into the influences of both soil and site on this classic varietal. In recent years we have narrowed our focus to the Chehalem Mountains and specifically Chehalem Mountain Vineyard located on a lovely little hillock between a southern knuckle of the Chehalem Mountains proper and its sub-AVA Ribbon Ridge. Here soil is marine sedimentary and slope south-facing at 450 feet. Clonal selection is old Wente and 7 6, both tried and true expressions of Oregon Chardonnay. The site's provenance is its adjacency to the spot where Dick Erath planted the first Chardonnay in the region in 1974.
The grapes were hand harvested on September 21th, 2019 gently whole bunch pressed, settled and racked to barrels for fermentation and aging. The wine was encouraged through malolactic fermentation and kept on lees until bottling in late August 2020.
TASTING NOTES: The 2019 Chehalem Mountains Chardonnay opens with notes of citrus and stones, bee balm, flint and fresh snapped flower stem. The palate is textured and tactile with a cool tensioned line all the way through creating a space full of lemons, preserved and curd and bars with rosemary alongside daffodil, beeswax, speculose and mace. Lifted and poised at an angle of repose, this wine holds focus and freshness with citrus and sea.
90 points - A sweet citrus aroma similar to lemon curd interacts beautifully with tart and salty crushed kaffir lime leaves and Marcona almonds. Tangy grapefruit drizzled with cinnamon and saline flavors, with a soft mouthfeel and just enough acidity to keep things lively. — Michael Alberty