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Chehalem Reserve Pinot Gris 2007

Pinot Gris/Grigio from Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • WE92
  • WS90
13.91% ABV
  • RP90
  • WE90
  • WS90
  • WS86
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2.0 1 Ratings
13.91% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This is the version of Pinot Gris we make to gain ultimate complexity and structure. Using Alsace as a standard, we seek weight and richness to make this more than a simple white. This Pinot Gris is a true reserve wine—the fruit is divided at harvest, after full ripeness is achieved, with the reserve portion going through barrel fermentation in neutral oak. With long lees contact, minor partial ML (malolactic fermentation), and a variety of yeasts, the wine is concentrated, complex, well-textured, and carries tropical fruit aromas and a tight pear flavor profile, accented with a honeyed richness.

Reflecting this great vintage for whites, bright aromas and flavors of white peaches, tart nectarines, lime zest, citrus tartness, white pepper, and mineral balance marzipan and key lime–pie richness. The wine is structurally firm from acid and barrel fermentation and, with its bone-dry palate, asserts itself with rich foods and long aging potential. More complex and richer than Pinot Gris deserves to be.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
After the massive Pinot Gris bottlings from Chehalem in 2006, these much lighter 2007 wines are a delight. Both the regular and this reserve offerings live up to the winery’s professed Alsatian model, with rich textural flavors that bind lightly tropical fruits to searing minerality. Concentrated and complex, this young wine is still quite tight and will need decanting to show its best.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Bright and lively, this juicy wine is fragrant with lemon, lemon blossom and melon flavors, lingering on the delicate finish. Drink now through 2011. 763 cases made.
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Chehalem, Willamette Valley, Oregon
2007 Reserve Pinot Gris
With two vineyards on either end of Chehalem Ridge and one in the Dundee Hills, Chehalem is dedicated to reflecting as purely as possible what the vineyard has produced. With minimal processing and without compromising great fruit, Chehalem wines promise good ageing but are very drinkable young. Production quantities of all Chehalem wines are limited, to assure ultimate winemaking control.

Willamette Valley

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One of Pinot Noir’s most successful New World outposts, the Willamette Valley is the largest and most important AVA in Oregon. With a temperate climate moderated by a Pacific Ocean influence, it is perfect for cool-climate viticulture—warm and dry summers allow for steady, even ripening, and frost is rarely a risk during spring and even winter. Mountain ranges bordering three sides of the valley, particularly the Chehalem Mountains, provide the option for higher-elevation, cooler vineyard sites. The three prominent soil types here create significant differences in wine styles between 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. The silty loess found in the Chehalem Mountains, somewhere in between the other two in texture, is fertile and well-draining but erodes easily, creating challenges for growers but necessitating careful vineyard management.

The celebrated Pinot Noir of the Willamette Valley typically offers supple red fruit, especially cranberry, without the powerful punch often packed by its California counterparts. Elegance is paramount here, and fruit flavors are balanced by forest floor, wild mushroom, and dried herbs—much more in line with Burgundian examples of the variety. Chardonnay too takes its inspiration from the French motherland, focusing on tart, crisp fruit and minerality, rarely relying upon heavy new oak. Pinot Gris here is fleshy and bright, and Riesling is dry, aromatic, and citrus-focused.

Pinot Gris/Grigio

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One grape variety with two very distinct personas, Pinot Gris in France is rich, round, and aromatic, while Pinot Grigio in Italy is simple, crisp, and refreshing. In Italy, Pinot Grigio is grown in the mountainous regions of Trentino, Friuli, and Alto Adige in the northeast. In France it reaches its apex in Alsace. Pinots both “Gris” and “Grigio” are produced successfully in Oregon's Willamette Valley as well as parts of California, and are widely planted throughout central and eastern Europe.

In the Glass

Pinot Gris is naturally low in acidity, so full ripeness is necessary to achieve and showcase its signature flavors and aromas of stone fruit, citrus, honeysuckle, pear, and almond skin. Alsatian styles are aromatic, richly textured and often relatively high in alcohol. As Pinot Grigio in Italy, the style is much more subdued, light, simple, and easy to drink.

Perfect Pairings

Alsace is renowned for its potent food–pork, foie gras, and charcuterie. With its viscous nature, Pinot Gris fits in harmoniously with these heavy hitters. Pinot Grigio, on the other hand, with its lean, crisp, citrusy freshness, works better with simple salads, a wide range of seafood, and subtle chicken dishes.

Sommelier Secret

Outside of France and Italy, the decision by the producer whether to label as “Gris” or “Grigio” serves as a strong indicator as to the style of wine in the bottle—the former will typically be a richer, more serious rendition while the latter will be bright, fresh, and fun.

GVDCH24010702_2007 Item# 101644