Big Table Farm Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2016
#25 Wine Enthusiast Top 100 of 2018
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
A complex and slightly toasty chardonnay with oak-derived praline and spice pervading the nose and palate, ahead of attractive fruit that really holds long and fleshy at the finish. Strong chardonnay here.
The duo behind Big Table Farm are winemaker Brian Marcy and artist/farmer Clare Carver. In 2006 the moved to Oregon from Napa, where Brian had been making wine for ten years, and bought property in the Willamette Valley (about an hour outside of Portland).
This Oregon adventure is inspired by their desire to grow grapes, make wine, and to have the space for all of Clare's animals and Brian's wacky projects. The farm and winery are named after the goal to provide a gracious and welcoming table for themselves and friends, with a cornucopia of hand-crafted food and wine.
And now, almost ten years after Brian and Clare took the leap, they have developed this land into a working farm and built a barn and winery. They both feel lucky to live there and are both still in awe and deeply grateful for the chance to build this dream and share it with you!
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.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.