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BACKGROUND In 1974, David Adelsheim worked harvest in Burgundy, and while there, realized that Oregon needed the Char...Read more...
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Wine Tasting NotesA blend of estate and purchased grapes, this elegant Chardonnay is fermented and aged in small French oak barrels, and is characterized by its richness and lovely balance. The addition of earlier-ripening Burgundian clones has given racier flavors to this traditionally produced wine.
BACKGROUND In 1974, David Adelsheim worked harvest in Burgundy, and while there, realized that Oregon needed the Chardonnay clones planted in Burgundy. Chardonnay there ripened at the same time as Pinot noir, whereas Chardonnay in Oregon in the 1970's (from several California selections) ripened two to three weeks later. David followed through by helping create an importation program that allowed these clones to navigate the Federal red tape and quarantine. These so-called "Dijon" clones arrived in 1984 and 1988 and were released for planting in 1989. It turned out that they have fewer and smaller grape clusters, and thus are a better match for Oregon's long, cool growing season. As the new plantings have matured, the resulting wines are showing flavors wholly different from our early plantings, and considerably more like those found in Burgundy. GROWING SEASON Although storms carrying a lot of rain swept through Oregon in mid-January, slowing up pruning work, by spring the 2006 growing season had caught up to what we assume to be "normal" timing in this day and age. Bud break occurred in the third week of March, and bloom about the second week of June. Perfect bloom weather resulted in too many clusters, each with too many berries. Thus, we spent significant time doing a "green harvest" to pare back the crop to what our climate could actually ripen. The harvest was accomplished in near perfect weather, warm enough that everything ripened smoothly, yet not all at once, with cool mornings for picking and very little rain. Most of the grapes used in this wine were picked toward the end of harvest on October 9th. VINEYARDS The table below shows the four vineyards and details about the grapes used in this wine. The predominant source is Bryan Creek, an estate vineyard at the 700-foot level on the south side of the Chehalem Mountains. Its deep, red, basaltic soils hold enough moisture to get the vines through our summer drought without irrigation and supply the central core of fruit in the wine. Bryan Creek is across the street from our original vineyard, Quarter Mile Lane, which accounts for the next largest proportion of the wine. Finally, small amounts of Chardonnay from Stoller Vineyards in the Dundee Hills and Auxerrois (a sister variety to Chardonnay) from Ribbon Springs added substance and complexity to the blend. Vineyard Information: Bryan Creek 70% estate Chardonnay, basaltic soil, Chehalem Mountains AVA, harvested Oct 9th Quarter Mile 18% estate Chardonnay, basaltic soil, Chehalem Mountains AVA, harvested Oct 9th Ribbon Springs 6% estate Auxerrois, sedimentary soil, Ribbon Ridge AVA, harvested Sep 23rd Stoller 6% non-estate Chardonnay, basaltic soil, Dundee Hills AVA, harvested Sep 30th WINEMAKING As usual for our white wines, winemaker Dave Paige used gentle, whole-cluster pressing to separate the juice from the skins as quickly and as cleanly as possible. All of the juice went into older French oak barrels and the wine went through primary and malolactic fermentation in those barrels, as well as extended lees contact (to build up the richness in the wine). After ten months in barrel, the wine was assembled for bottling on August 23, 2007. THE WINE This wine impresses with its spicy aromas and its smooth texture. The nutmeg and fig on the nose slowly gives way to Gravenstein apples and honeydew melon on the palate. We've found it to be an incredible accompaniment to rich seafood dishes, hard cheeses, and poultry dishes (particularly those with cream sauces). THE LABEL This wine features Ginny Adelsheim's portrait of her friend Barbara Setsu Pickett, a professor of weaving and textiles at the University of Oregon. Barbara is honored for the help she and her husband Bob contributed as the Adelsheims were planting the original Chardonnay vineyard at Quarter Mile Lane, which is shown in the background. PRODUCTION There were 137 cases (each with twelve 750 ml bottles) of the 2006 Willamette Valley Chardonnay produced. All are to be sold exclusively in our Tasting Room.
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