Chehalem INOX Unoaked 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.
Chehalem is considered a vineyard winery, aiming to reflect what the vineyard has produced, purely, with minimal processing and without compromising great fruit. Their name, Chehalem, translates to Valley of Flowers in the Native American language, Calapooia. It’s their goal to follow the example set centuries ago: to treat the land with great care and to continue the mission of creating a sustainable future.
Their story starts in 1990 with the inaugural Pinot Noir harvest at Ridgecrest Vineyard. As those wines were releasing in 1993, Bill Stoller joined as co-owner. He subsequently purchased his family farmlands at the southern tip of the Dundee with the vision of planting it as our second estate vineyard.
In 1995, they purchased Corral Creek, the vineyard surrounding the winery. It became the third estate vineyard.
In early 2018, Bill became the sole owner of Chehalem, and by July, they had become the sixth Oregon winery to achieve B Corp status. This rigorous certification assesses companies to ensure they meet the highest standard of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability.
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.