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Three Rivers Columbia Valley Chardonnay 2008

Chardonnay from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • WS88
  • WE87
14.3% ABV
  • WS91
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14.3% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The 2008 growing season started out slow with cool temperatures in the spring. The summer was consistent and warm. Hot August weather provided great ripening conditions getting the fruit ready to harvest. Due to the slow start to the vintage, harvest was on average 10 days later than in recent years. Fermented entirely in French oak barrels, our 2008 Columbia valley Chardonnay balances the richness of barrel aging with the crisp acidity of Columbia Valley vineyards.

Food Pairing: Try pairing our Chardonnay with seared halibut, roasted chicken or creamy pasta dishes.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WS 88
Wine Spectator
Bright and lively, with pretty pear, passion fruit and floral flavors, lingering easily. Drink now.
WE 87
Wine Enthusiast
Very soft, it feels like the vinous equivalent of a creampuff. The fruit is lightly tropical, with notes of caramel and banana, cut through with a streak of citrus and apple.
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Three Rivers

Three Rivers Winery

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Three Rivers Winery, Columbia Valley, Washington
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Three Rivers Winery is a destination winery located just west of Walla Walla, Washington in the Columbia Valley wine country. Founded in 1999, Three Rivers Winery continues the tradition of acclaimed Walla Walla winemaking, handcrafting premium wines under the direction of Washington winemaking veteran Holly Turner. The winery is recognized for its quality and value driven wines, which are sourced from established vineyards and famed appellations from across Washington State. The 18,000 sq. ft. facility is set atop a small knoll overlooking the surrounding vineyards and includes a tasting room, meeting room and three short holes of golf for winery guests. Three Rivers Winery is a favorite destination for enthusiasts seeking a unique wine country experience.

Columbia Valley

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A large and geographically diverse AVA responsible for a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington State’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA extends into northern Oregon as well. Because of its vast size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which is further split into three more even smaller AVAs. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences cold winters and long, dry growing seasons. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.

Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling, the styles of which depend on the warmth of the site. Citrus and green apple are common to both in cooler sites, while warmer vineyards will produce riper, fleshier stone fruit flavors.

Chardonnay

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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.

Sommelier Secret

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. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

RPT33942396_2008 Item# 108486