Chehalem INOX Chardonnay 2017
Intially, blossoming white flowers segway to hints of geranium and chamomile. Wet stone or slate follow bringing a deepness that continues to evolve into passion fruit. The mouth feel is instantly full of crisp minerality that lingers to the finish. Through the entirety of the palate, glimpses of lean talc, peach pit and green apple flavors are revealed. This bright wine finishes with a light, rounded creaminess bringing balance to this stainless steal Chardonnay.
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.
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 practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.
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. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.