The 2011 A to Z Chardonnay is a classic example of cool-climate, un-oaked Oregon Chardonnay showing fantastic brightness and abundant fruit. Initial aromas of wet stone, lime, kiwi, tangerine, apple and subtle floral notes open to richer aromas of honey, brioche, apricots and lemon candies. The attack is bright with mouthwatering acidity and pure flavors of lime, quince and wet stones. The mid-palate is focused and intense with great balance between the acid and richness, moving to a finish that is long, clean, crisp, and juicy.
A to Z Winery
Founded in 2002, A to Z Wineworks is Oregon's fastest growing winery. The business model is simple: to produce and market Oregon's best wine values by concentrating on their core competencies of acquisition, blending and marketing.
A to Z has a bargain with other wineries from whom they source wines that they will not reveal their identities; component wines could be from any winery in Oregon from A to Z. This winery wanted a name that suggested that their wines are blended from many sources. A to Z builds their blends to craft balanced wines that aim to embody the essence of Oregon rather than reflect a specific single vineyard or A to Z style.
View all A to Z Wines
Like many other states, Oregon itself is an AVA of note. An Oregon wine can simply state "Oregon" as its place of origin, which typically means the grapes came from multiple smaller AVAs within the state.
Beyond the main AVAs of Oregon, like Willamette Valley, Rogue and Umpqua, smaller regions are gaining ground. Some you may see on the label include:
Walla Walla Valley AVA
– these are most often associated with Washington State, but technically they run over the state lines into Oregon. Most wineries only use a small fraction of grapes from the Oregon side in order to maintain a Washington State wine, but you may see some Oregon producers sourcing grapes from those small overlapping AVAs.
Southern Oregon AVA
– encompassing the Rogue and Umpqua Valleys, this AVA is a large area where many producers are experimenting with Syrah.
Oregon has long been an agricultural state, producing everything from hazelnuts to cattle. The Willamette Valley in particular is a fertile basin for all sorts of produce. Not quite pegged as a wine state, in 1965, a UC Davis graduate named David Lett decided that the Willamette's climate mirrored that of Burgundy in France. With that in mind, he decided to plant some Pinot Noir clones to see how they did. And a good gamble it was. The Willamette is now one of the only regions in the world to focus solely on Pinot Noir as its red variety. Also known for Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. The southern part of Oregon has been slower in delving into the world wine market, but has been making excellent strides with their Rhone style varietals, like Syrah and Grenache. There are also coastal regions producing promising wines.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.