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Van Duzer Chardonnay 1998

Chardonnay from Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • WS87
0% ABV
  • WS85
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0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Elegant and creamy, this wine shows the true potential of Oregon Chardonnay. Rich, complex aromas of apples, pears and tropical fruit are supported by highlights of vanilla, clove and other spices. The aromas are mirrored in the mouth with full-bodied flavors of pear and tropical fruit and a core of refreshingly tart citrus fruit to provide a crisp, lingering finish.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 87
Wine Spectator
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Van Duzer

Van Duzer

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Van Duzer, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Image of winery
Proprietors Carl and Marilynn Thoma were among the first to choose the foothills at the mouth of the Van Duzer Corridor to create their family estate in 1998, intrigued by the potential of the microclimate and its ability to produce evocative Pinot Noir. Perched atop a knoll surrounded by vines on three sides, the site is situated in the gateway of the Corridor, a deep gap in the Oregon Coastal Range that draws brisk air from the Pacific Ocean into the Willamette Valley. The flagship estate’s 83.7 planted acres are in the direct path of marine winds, and benefit from the cooling gusts that moderate the temperatures over the vineyard, guaranteeing a long, beneficial growing season year after year.

The winery selected a zephyr, the gentle west wind of Greek mythology, as a symbol of the unique climate. According to Greek legend, zephyr and other wind gods were commanded by Aeolus, king of the winds, for which the Eola Hills wine region east of Van Duzer Vineyards is named. Van Duzer Vineyard’s goddess of the west wind, Zephyra, was brought to life by famed illustrator John Martinez. Best known for his fine arts posters depicting classical figures from works of Shakespeare and the opera, Martinez has also created dust covers for a wide range of book publishers. His work can be seen in the collections of the Library of Congress and Museum of Modern Art.

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 Mediterranean 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 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. Silty, loess soils are found in the Chehalem Mountains.

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 is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy 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. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.

SWS88128_1998 Item# 10461