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Bethel Heights Casteel Chardonnay 2014

Chardonnay from Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • WE93
  • RP92
  • W&S91
13.2% ABV
  • WE92
  • W&S92
  • RP91
  • WS90
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13.2% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Bethel Heights 2014 Casteel Chardonnay opens with aromas of preserved lemon, brioche, white pepper and fresh ginger. The palate is both graceful and energetic, displaying the tension of a wine that will age gracefully over the next 8 to 10 years.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
As befits a reserve-level wine, this is big, bold, rich and full-flavored. It amplifies the ripe apple and peach fruit, and slathers it in buttery caramel and sweet spice. Drink now through 2020.
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2014 Chardonnay Casteel Reserve had just been bottled. It has a perfumed nose of white flowers and melted candle wax, very well defined with lime and frangipane aromas developing. The palate is well balanced with a crisp, citrus lemon and lime-driven opening. This feels spicier than the Justice Vineyard Chardonnay, gaining depth towards the finish that has a bit of fire in its belly. This is a very well-crafted Chardonnay that should age with style.
W&S 91
Wine & Spirits
The immediate impression here is citrus, while the flavors are herbal, touching on green, crisp apple, held in a fine, lacy mineral frame. There’s a sense of coiled energy that feels hidden for now. Cellar to give it time to evolve.
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Bethel Heights

Bethel Heights

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Bethel Heights, Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
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Planted between 1977 and 1979, Bethel Heights was one of the first vineyards in the Eola Hills, a chain of hills in the center of Oregon's Willamette Valley. The estate winery was established in 1984 and currently produces 10,000 cases of wine annually, most of which still comes from the 50 acre estate vineyard. Bethel Heights specializes in Pinot Noir, but also produces Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc.

Eola-Amity Hills

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Running north to south, adjacent to the Willamette River, the Eola-Amity Hills AVA has shallow and well-drained soils created from ancient lava flows (called Jory), marine sediments, rocks and alluvial deposits. These soils force vine roots to dig deep, producing small grapes with great concentration. Like in the McMinnville sub-AVA, cold Pacific air streams in via the VanDuzer corridor and assists the maintenance of higher acidities in its grapes. This great concentration, combined with marked acidity, give the Eola-Amity Hills wines—namely Pinot noir—their distinct character. While the region covers 40,000 acres, no more than 1,400 acres are covered in vine.

Chardonnay

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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.

Sommelier Secret

Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

RVLRIBH14CC_2014 Item# 255066