The first thing everyone at Chehalem noticed about this Gamay Noir is the intensity of color. The second thing was the intensity of aroma and flavor. Holy Moley, this wine is rich, broad, and a full-force of flavor! Start at the purple to black color, dense like a Zinfandel, and progress to the nose-full of blackberry liqueur and spiced black cherries. The palate has moderate to thick tannins and a balancing acid you would expect from Gamay. Pomegranate juice, cherry wood, dark chocolate, and sour plums keep evolving with time in the glass, this guy is something that begs for a heavy-char BBQ meal.
This wine is always Chehalem’s initial view of, and an accurate summary for any given vintage of Pinot Noir coming out of our cellars. If this Pinot is saying anything, it is that the 2012 Pinot Noirs are gonna be big, bold, balanced, and beautiful! The color is that of deep garnet, with richness on the nose and palate showing dark fruit, black currants and blackberries, earthy pepper and clove-spice, slight pine-tar, and tea leaves. The palate is as rich as the nose, textured and layered, with some firm and rich mid-palate tannins that evolve to show a lengthy finish and focused, balanced acid. The wine opens up more near the end, exuding lavender, rye bread, and coffee.
The depth and concentration of the Corral Creek fruit in 2012 was not typical for the delicacy of the vineyard, but we can’t help but love this wine right off the bat. It’s more lush and big than normal, but already opening up to beautiful vanilla and clove, black raspberry, and warm baking spices. The palate has aspects of baking cocoa, lavender, tobacco, and bing cherries, with weighty structure leading into a more delicate, long finish.
Stoller has always been a fleshy and beautiful site for Pinot Noir, but this is one of our favorites in recent memory. 2012 opened itself fully to great ripeness, with restraint, and showing perfect amounts of acid and fresh fruit. The deep garnet color speaks levels about the intensity of the vintage, aided by chewy tannins, cassis, leather, and rich mocha flavors. This one can age for eons, and may need a fat Ribeye steak for dinner. Move over Cabernet, here’s Stoller 2012 Pinot!
Ridgecrest, as typically seen in a ripe vintage, shows deep black-purple garnet color, with a characteristic dusty blackberry, earth and tea leaf, black pepper, cocoa powder and baking spices on the nose. The palate has moderate tannin, and is very approachable now but will continue to develop and fill-out with additional time. Some more subtle aspects appearing in the glass include slight tar, plum, black currant, and sweet wood. There’s abundant acid for aging, and ripe, firm tannins that will mellow with a bit of age.
This Pinot shows typicity for Ridgecrest’s younger plantings on Wind Ridge, with lots of vibrant fruit and density. Visually it is a deep garnet color with a red-purple hue, the nose shows blackberry to red-currant, chocolate cherry, red licorice, and freshness. The palate is rich and fleshy, with moderate tannin, a slight presence of alcohol, bittersweet chocolate, a smooth finish, and a wild, bright aspect that assures a long life ahead.
This tasting panel cuvée gives us a preview of what a lovely vintage 2013 is for Pinot Noir. There is more elegance than we would have expected from the warm summer, with a delicacy on the nose showing rose hips, red raspberry, hints of smoke and spice, and youthful tart cherry. The balance is lovely, light on its feet, with a finely-balanced, sweet fruit finish. Some highlights we noted include strawberry preserves, cassis, forest floor, and a young, lively, playful tannin profile. Well done Tasting Panel, well done.
2011 is the epitome of an “ageable vintage” as far as we are concerned, and our Reserve tier is the most age-worthy of all the Chehalem wines. This Pinot Noir Reserve is exhibiting plenty of youthful charm, with a progression towards more thoughtful complexity with time in the glass. First notes are exalted bright fruit aromatics of red-to-black raspberry, cassis, dark cherry, and some ethereal violets, thyme, and black tea. More evolution brings smoky grilled lamb shank and peppercorn, with dark chocolate and barrel aromatics highlighting the nose. The palate is elegant yet assertive, with a firm structure or fine tannin, astounding balance, and a full, rich finish. Only time will show how much more this will evolve.
This wine is only made in very special vintages—and 2011 is definitely special. The wine is dense, three-dimensional, well-structured in acid and tannin, spherically balanced and the epitome of Ribbon Ridge’s red-black Pinot Noir capabilities. Alcohol is perfect, pH likewise, phenolics are round and beautiful, and acids focused. Expect to be wowed today, but also expect a classic scenario of pulling this wine from cellar in 30 years and wondering how a wine could be this good. Classic is a good summary word.
This wine makes us want to sing in French. The palate is delicate and bold, all at once, marrying the texture, acid, and balance of various components of a Ruby Red grapefruit with the beautiful aromatics of hibiscus and strawberries and cream. Wonderfully dry, textural, and fruity. We are ready to pair this one with food, or simply chilled on a porch on a hot summer day…get it while you can. Vivé le pink and bleu!
Rich, white and yellow fruit is in the forefront, with peaks of citrus zest, light spice and mineral, honey, and white blossoms. On the palate we see slightly bruised apple with the tartness of Granny Smiths, dried mango, finishing out to a long, broad, rich finish. This is INOX at the pinnacle of balance, profiting from the ripe summer and the cooler harvest period to give us both richness and acid, as well as great purity of fruit.
Beautiful fresh aromatic notes of hang-dried linens, white blossom, Asian pear, and lemon curd greet us on the entry, with lingering hints of candied ginger and butterscotch on the finish of the nose. The palate is especially balanced, showing warmth and spice from a warmer summer in the form of dried apricot, peach pit, and rose petal. The summer fruits are followed by pleasantly lithe acidity and the balancing fruit sweetness of salmon berries, tart cherry, and mandarin, all brought on by a cooler finish to the harvest season.
Appearance-wise, the 2013 3 Vineyard Riesling has a beautifully crystalline, deep platinum color, with bright spiciness and great balance on the nose and palate, showing breadth, slight salinity, and acid all at once. Green apple, white peach, and flinty brightness punctuate a fleshier structure, composed of lychee, candied ginger, rosewater, and Turkish Delights. This Riesling has the texture and acid on that palate to allow plenty of time to age, but is very agreeable straight out of the chute.
This Riesling is always one of our favorites, but on a decadent and balanced year like 2012, it’s simply amazing. The nose is just opening up with white flowers like honeysuckle and cherry blossoms, and is closely followed by Rangpur lime oil, ripe white peach, honeydew, and lychee. The palate is still a bit shy, expressing hints of what will soon become full-fledged coconut crème, key lime pie, and starfruit, with complexity and juicy fruit remaining the focus of balanced acidity and a touch of RS. Some subtle petrol notes have begun, but with age and patience you will see one of the best Riesling vineyards in the state really begin to blossom.
Wow. 2012 was a luscious year, and this Riesling is just beginning to open to its real potential. A smaller-crop year on Ribbon ridge lends extra concentration and focus to this wine, showing white spice and brightness on the nose, chamomile, honey, peach, and the inkling stages of those slatey-Riesling characteristics we love! The palate is as fresh and lovely as one would expect from the nose, with loads of juicy, mouthwatering fruit (think pineapple, kiwi, lime peel, and stone fruit), and texture abides on the finish. Stunning.
Playful aromatics of orange blossom and white flowers show-off up front, while lime peel, cold cream and green apple candy are persistent until the wine hits your tongue. The palate is light to moderately weighty despite the fine tickling bubbles, with fresh ripe pear and high-toned spice notes. It has impeccable balance overall, the succulent sweetness of a liquid popsicle, with bright, juicy acid; a mouthwatering, refreshing Riesling. This 2013 may truly be the best SEXT we’ve ever had.
This is the epitome of full-bodied, savory, food-friendly Grüner Veltliner. Sage and thyme, dusty white fruit, lemon rind, and white pepper accent the nose. The palate has textural aspects from the neutral barrel fermented portion of the blend, and there is a touch of RS that makes food even more inviting. The finish shows Granny Smith apples, lemon curd, wet stone, a focused amount of acid, and length for ages.
This Pinot Blanc is a beautifully-ripe example of what Pinot Blanc should be. The color shows a light and bright yellow hue, and the nose has a wonderful diversity of pure white fruit, subtle waxiness, and warm melon/fig/honey to sweet daffodil and lavender. The palate is broad and rich, with enough acid to be reminiscent of red grapefruit, and enough weight and texture to be interesting but not rough. Each aspect is nicely integrated, and shows amazing potential with some additional time in bottle.
The 2011 Ridgecrest Pinot Gris is still quite young, but shows all the character of a fine-aging Alsatian white wine. It is a brilliant light-golden color, with the palate being lengthy and tightly wrapped. Although young and somewhat reserved, the palate plays with warm baking spices, floral sprays, a richness of texture, and creamy custard notes. The aromas hang on sweet pineapple, white peach, candied grapefruit peel, and cheese biscuit. 2011 gave us bright acid and lovely balance in all sites, especially from our highest-elevation, Ridgecrest, so expect this wine to age for as long as you can keep your hands off of it.
2011 is the epitome of an “ageable vintage” as far as we are concerned, and our Reserve tier is the most age-worthy of all the Chehalem wines. This Ian’s Reserve Chardonnay lightly accents the beautiful French oak used for fermentation and aging, but completes the wine with elegant fruit and focused acid and structure. Baking spice and warm dry oats play on the nose, leading to sweeter aromas of dulce de leche and flaky apple pie. There’s sweet wood and vanilla on the palate, linked with pear, quince jam, and peach pit, perhaps reminiscent of peaches and cream. The finish is long, round, and lingering, mid-palate weight is persistent, and ripe acids tightly knit the complete package.
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