There are two ways in which dessert wines of moderate alcohol content are traditionally produced: the grapes can become desiccated by botrytis cinerea ("noble rot") or they can be pressed when still partially frozen. An Oregon Pinot Noir producer would never want "botrytis" to spread in the vineyards (it ruins red wines), and Adelsheim can't remember a fall when they had an early freeze (i.e before the winter rains started.) Thus, in winemaker Dave Paige's first year with Adelsheim, one block of grapes was chosen for the experiment – which was to take the grapes to a freezer instead of the winery. The resulting faux "ice wine" was delicious, and a hit, so they have continued to produce it every year.
Even with this sweet wine, Adelsheim stays true to its philosophy that a wine's highest use is in pairing with meals. That means retaining enough of the grapes' natural acidity to ensure that the wine never becomes too cloying. Deglacé has amazing apricot, fig and honeysuckle flavors that should prove to be a perfect match with red berry tarts, pumpkin cheesecake, and a wide range of other desserts.
Established in 1971, Adelsheim is a family-owned and operated winery with estate vineyards located in Oregon's northern Willamette Valley. Over the past 41 years, the Adelsheim Vineyard estate has grown to include twelve exception vineyard sites throughout the Valley, totaling 237 acres. Company co-founder, David Adelsheim, has done work throughout the years to benefit both the Oregon and American wine industries: grape and wine research, wine labeling, industry education, and promotion. He is recognized for his "outstanding service" to the industry and has played a vital role in building the Oregon wine industry and establishing its reputation worldwide. Today, he leads a current generation of passionate staff devoted to leading the industry in crafting consistently transcendent wines.
One of Pinot Noir's most successful New World outposts, the Willamette Valley is the largest and most important AVA in Oregon. With a continental climate moderated by the influence of the Pacific Ocean, it is perfect for cool-climate viticulture and the production of elegant wines.
Mountain ranges bordering three sides of the valley, particularly the Chehalem Mountains, provide the option for higher-elevation vineyard sites.
The valley's three prominent soil types (volcanic, sedimentary and silty, loess) make it unique and create significant differences in wine styles among its vineyards and sub-AVAs. The iron-rich, basalt-based, Jory volcanic soils found commonly in the Dundee Hills are rich in clay and hold water well; the chalky, sedimentary soils of Ribbon Ridge, Yamhill-Carlton and McMinnville encourage complex root systems as vines struggle to search for water and minerals. In the most southern stretch of the Willamette, the Eola-Amity Hills sub-AVA soils are mixed, shallow and well-drained. The Hills' close proximity to the Van Duzer Corridor (which became its own appellation as of 2019) also creates grapes with great concentration and firm acidity, leading to wines that perfectly express both power and grace.
Though Pinot noir enjoys the limelight here, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay also thrive in the Willamette. Increasing curiosity has risen recently in the potential of others like Grüner Veltliner, Chenin Blanc and Gamay.
Apart from the classics, we find many regional gems of different styles.
Late harvest wines are probably the easiest to understand. Grapes are picked so late that the sugars build up and residual sugar remains after the fermentation process. Ice wine, a style founded in Germany and there referred to as eiswein, is an extreme late harvest wine, produced from grapes frozen on the vine, and pressed while still frozen, resulting in a higher concentration of sugar. It is becoming a specialty of Canada as well, where it takes on the English name of ice wine.
Vin Santo, literally “holy wine,” is a Tuscan sweet wine made from drying the local white grapes Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia in the winery and not pressing until somewhere between November and March.