Chehalem Ridgecrest Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015
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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.
Ribbon Ridge is a regular span of uplifted, marine, sedimentary soils (called Willakenzie), whose highest ridge elevations twist like a ribbon. An early settler from Missouri named Colby Carter noticed this unique topography and gave the region its name in 1865—though but it wasn’t declared its own AVA until 140 years later, in 2005. The AVA is enclosed by mountains on all sides between Yamhill-Carlton and the Chehalem Mountains, and is actually part of the larger Chehalem Mountains AVA. Its soils have a finer texture than its neighbors with parent materials composed of sandstone, siltstone, and mudstone. Given its presence of natural aquifers in this five square mile area, most vineyards are actually easily dry farmed!
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”