Chehalem 3 Vineyard Pinot Gris 2015
Founder, Harry Peterson-Nedry, pioneered grape growing in the prestigious soils of Ribbon Ridge in the early 1980s when he purchased land and planted Ridgecrest Vineyards. In 1990, Chehalem Winery was founded and released its first bottle of wine, Ridgecrest Pinot Noir. Bill Stoller joined Harry in the winery operation in 1993 and subsequently planted a vineyard on his family farmlands at the southern tip of the Dundee Hills. Chehalem purchased Corral Creek, the vineyard surrounding the winery, in 1995. It became the third estate vineyard sourced for Chehalem wines. In early 2018, Bill Stoller purchased Harry’s share of equity in the business. In July, Chehalem became the sixth Oregon winery to achieve B Corp status- which assesses companies to ensure they meet the highest standard of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability.
Chehalem boasts a rich history of innovation, sustainability, and exceptional quality. Known for our single-vineyard Pinot Noirs and a progressive approach to white wines, we firmly believe that outstanding wine should accompany every course of a meal. Our wine quality is determined by the cool macro-climate of the Willamette Valley, vintage, soil profiles, vineyard micro-climates, and winemaking style. Our job is to let the terroir speak and to make the winemaker imprint as transparent as possible. Our climate and winemaking style reveal wines that emphasize balance, elegance and texture. This openness allows the vintage and three terroirs on which we farm to express themselves as wines of startling distinction. Call us crazy, but our objective is to blaze a trail towards a future that is stimulating, exciting and beautiful—such as it must have been generations ago for the Calapooia, overlooking our “valley of flowers.”
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.
Showing a unique rosy, purplish hue upon full ripeness, this “white” variety is actually born out of a mutation of Pinot noir. The grape boasts two versions of its name, as well as two generally distinct styles. In Italy, Pinot grigio achieves most success in the mountainous regions of Trentino and Alto Adige as well as in the neighboring Friuli—all in Italy’s northeast. France's Alsace and Oregon's Willamette Valley produce some of the world's most well-regarded Pinot gris wine. California produces both styles with success.
In the Glass
Pinot Gris is naturally low in acidity but full ripeness is necessary to achieve and showcase its signature flavors and aromas of stone fruit, citrus, honeysuckle, pear and almond. Alsatian styles are aromatic (think rose and honey), richly textured and sometimes relatively higher in alcohol compared to its Italian counterparts. As Pinot Grigio in Italy, the style is often much lighter, charming and fruit driven.
The viscosity of a typical Alsatian Pinot gris allows it to fit in harmoniously with the region's rich foods like pork, charcuterie and foie gras. Pinot grigio, on the other hand, with its lean, crisp, citrusy freshness, works well as an aperitif wine or with seafood and subtle chicken dishes.
Given the color of its berries and aromatic and characterful potential if cared for as it is allowed to fully ripen, the Pinot grigio variety is actually one that is commonly used to make "orange wines." An orange wine is a white wine made in the red wine method, i.e. with fermentation on its skins. This process leads to a wine with more ephemeral aromas, complexity on the palate and a pleasant, light orange hue.