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 freshness found in 2011 Corral Creek Pinot Noir is one of the reasons we love Chehalem Mountains AVA so much. The first thing you notice is the lovely red garnet color, beautiful clarity, and a vibrant persistent tart red cherry aroma and flavor. Tannin appears subtlety, almost as a silk nap texture, and is joined to bright acid and sea-air minerality. The finish shows cherry cola, light roast coffee, raspberry, and red plum skin, and the oak is light, yet integrated and complex. Give this elegant beauty a few more years to truly open-up.
Stoller Pinot Noir really excels during cooler vintages – the earthiness and spice aren’t overwhelmed with ripe fruit, and you see a seamless integration in texture and delicate acid. This one in particular shows bright color and a palate that is light and still a bit tight, even 9 months after bottling; somewhat atypical characteristics for Stoller Vineyards. The nose has warm aromas of resin, dusty fruit, seasoned wood, brown spice, white pepper, and milk chocolate. Follow all that by soft tannins and a sour-cherry-accented lingering finish – Beautiful.
Although a cooler year, this Ridgecrest shows layers, ripeness and complexity usually found in warmer vintages. There is an essence of blackberry and spiced cassis through the color, aroma, and flavor, a lush palate, and utterly perfect textural balance. Adjoined to fruit and spice is a vibrancy and freshness that shows the 2011 vintage, but hints more at the longevity and ageability than youth. Overall, the complexity and layers rule this wine, showing (but not limited to) black tea, Italian plum, earth, resin, berry pie, cinnamon, minerality, pencil shavings, and huckleberry.
This Pinot is the epitome of concentration on Ribbon Ridge in a small-crop year. The color is dark garnet, and you’ll notice a bit of tar on the nose, combined with briar patch and high-toned dusty fresh black fruit. The palate and nose mingle with black pepper, violets, and toasted seaweed, and transition to tobacco box, warm blueberries, and moderate tannin by mouth. Overall, a very dark and thoughtful (rather than brooding) young wine. Will come out of its shell with coaxing and time.
The deep purple/garnet color on this cuvée shows the palpable intensity of the vintage that our Pinot Noirs showed across the board. A low-crop year for most of Ribbon Ridge gave depth and concentration, and ripe fruit all around makes this blend bigger, softer, and fuller than the last couple of years. There is earthiness, raw red-black fruit, and brightness on the nose that is racy and inviting. Flavors show cherry cola, dusty sweet red cherry, sea air, campfire, and a playful lingering finish. There is a lot of youth in this wine, needing some time to turn from a baby into an adult.
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. 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. 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.
The 2012 vintage made us exceptionally proud of our Chardonnay, saying for a second year running “no, no, this one really might be the best INOX we’ve ever made!” Brilliant white-gold clarity of color, freshness and fruit running the length of the wine, aromas accented with shortbread, vanilla nougat, orange blossom and white pepper. The palate is as complementary as the nose, showing juicy, lingering acid, Asian pear, lemon curd, white peach, and green tea. Ripe, refreshing, and totally thirst-quenching.
This Pinot Gris is a platinum blonde bombshell. With the warmer weather 2012 brought to Oregon, we were able to bring ripe tropical notes and rich floral aromas out of all 3 vineyards of our Pinot Gris. We start with sweet yellow peach, juicy ripe pear, key lime, and ruby grapefruit, followed by layers of jasmine, day lily, and rosemary to accent the nose. The palate is rich and smooth, with just enough tangy acid to tether the loosely jointed edges of this wine. Seamless, weighty, and lovely.
Platinum, yellow-green hues, with lovely white stone fruits, candied anise seed, lime zest, sugared ginger, spice, and minerality on the nose. White peach and pear, chamomile, light petrol, and mineral flavors continue on the palate, with a luscious tropical and ripe-vintage impression countered by great acidity and focused dryness. The wine speaks impressively of weight, balance, length, and longevity.
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.
This is the very first vineyard-designate Riesling we’ve done from our Mother Block up at Wind Ridge, and we couldn’t be more excited! 2011 is known for acid and ageability, and this is a pinnacle for the potential of Riesling. The nose shows lovely and effusive fruit, graphite, green apple, honey, allspice, and ginger. The palate is lush, fruity, and very rich in texture, with balanced acid and moderate sweetness, enough of it all to balance well for a long time. We will be opening this wine for the next 40 years, if we have any left.
We hope you have brunch plans, because this will be an integral piece. SEXT this year shows characteristic Spring-time freshness with white blossoms, jasmine, daphne, and gardenia bouquet. This vintage is riper than the previous few years, meaning acid is down a bit, and so is the sugar content, but this doesn’t mean we are lacking any sweet flavors; there’s plenty of dried apricot, ripe pear, and peach flourishing. The finish has notes of fresh hops, a juicy palate, and beautiful spritz and concentration.
Grüner is accentuated by vintages that help amplify richness and spice in white wines, and 2012 was a near perfect example. This wine shows brilliant platinum color in the glass, light sweet fruit on the nose, and clean length and persistence on the palate. To elaborate, the fruit shows peach pit, lychee, honeydew, and tart green apple. The nose has punctuations of glycerin, honeysuckle, stone, white spice and blossom, and is both lengthy and bright to boot. Finish it off with exacting balance, salinity, roundness, a bit of silky texture, and a burst of acid. Wie schön (how lovely)!
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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