Chehalem Pinot Gris 2018
The 2018 Chehalem Mountains Pinot Gris reflects the diversity of their namesake AVA. The variety of soil types across this region provide depth and complexity to the approachable wine. The aroma is fresh and vibrant, showing stone fruits and ripe pear with hints of spring flowers and honeycomb. The palate is round with weighted viscosity that lifts on the finish thanks to bright acidity. This Pinot Gris is a beautiful white wine for a sunny day.
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.”
The Chehalem Mountains is a northwest-southeast span of several distinct mountains, ridges and peaks in the northern part of the Willamette Valley. Of all of Willamette Valley's smaller AVAs, it is closest to the city of Portland. Its highest summit, Bald Peak at an elevation of 1,633 feet, serves to generate cooler air for the rest of the AVA and its hillside vineyards. The region covers 70,000 acres but only 1,600 acres are planted to vines; soils of the Chehalem Mountains are a mix of basalt, ocean sediment and loess.
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.
Tasting Notes for Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio is a dry, white wine naturally low in acidity. Pinot Grigio wines showcase 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 their Italian counterpart. As Pinot Grigio in Italy, the style is often light and charming.
Perfect Food Pairings for Pinot Grigio
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 citrusy freshness, works well as an aperitif wine or with seafood and subtle chicken dishes.
Sommelier Secrets for Pinot Grigio
Given the pinkish color of its berries and aromatic potential if cared for 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.