Wine tasting is a fun and social activity, but sometimes guests can be intimidated by tasting room conversations. So our team jumped in to answer the ‘Top Ten Questions About Chehalem Wine.”
Chehalem boasts a rich history of innovation, sustainability, and exceptional quality. Known for our single-vineyard Pinot Noirs and an open-minded approach to white wines, ask anyone who visits Chehalem, we love to talk about our wine!
Q: How do soils influence your wine?
A: Where the vines grow, and in what type of soil, influences the flavors, aromas, and textures of wine. Terroir is essential, especially for Pinot noir. When you visit Chehalem, guests have the opportunity to try wines from three unique estate vineyards planted in three distinct designated winegrowing regions of the Willamette Valley AVA. – Tracy Timmins, Vice President of Operations & Consumer Sales
Q: What kinds of varietals are grown at Chehalem?
A: Riesling, Pinot noir, Gamay Noir, Grüner Veltliner, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay. We pride ourselves on specializing in unique varietals (i.e. Grüner Veltliner) that you wouldn’t typically see in the Valley. It’s what makes Chehalem so unique and innovative! – Eileen McCartin, Event Coordinator
Q: What wine should I serve at my upcoming party?
A: It depends on the type of food and the environment. For casual outdoor events, have one white, one rosé and one light red. Chehalem crowd pleasers include INOX, Rosé of Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir & Gamay. – Neal Hulkower, Tasting Room Associate
Q: Should I refrigerate my wine after opening it?
A: Whites and Rosé, yes! You can with reds as well but let them warm up a bit when you take them out of the refrigerator before drinking. Refrigeration (cooler temperatures) protects and helps a wine age slower once you open a bottle. – Michelle Fritts, Business Development
Q: Are all Rieslings sweet?
A: No. No. No. Rieslings have an insane acid presence. Almost all of them. It is a part of the grape. Because of this crazy acid, winemakers and wineries will make stylistic choices leaving some sugar (residual sugar) behind to help cut through the acid. If a Riesling were 100% dry, the acid in it would sear the enamel off your teeth and make the wine a bit simple and one dimensional. Once you start playing with leaving a little residual sugar, you start opening up the fantastic flavors and aromatics that Riesling is known for. A major misconception is that Riesling is sweet. I would challenge you to go out and buy a Riesling!! More often than not the Riesling will have some sugar but perceivably will be dry. This is such a fun varietal. ENJOY! – Katie Santora, Winemaker
Q: Is my wine ready to drink when I buy it? Can it or should it be aged?
A: It’s all about personal preference. Vintage can also play into wine and aging. The 2011 vintage was reviewed poorly upon release but is drinking incredibly well now – due to the acid and low alcohol levels from the cold vintage. The warmer vintages we’ve seen recently have higher alcohol and lower acid, and so they drink lovely young and don’t need as much time to come around. – Alex Francis, Director of Consumer Sales and Tasting Room Manager
Q: What kind of glass is best for Pinot Noir?
A: Big bulb glasses are best, I love the Riedel Oregon Pinot Noir Wine Glass. Pinot noir has so many delicate and nuanced aromatics, and it continuously opens up and evolves. Having a glass where you can give it the opportunity to open up will help you notice the hidden secrets that the wine holds. – Mindy Gimarelli, Digital Media Manager
Q: Is it necessary to swirl your wine before you taste it?
A: It is not necessary, but swirling aerates the wine, which opens it up and helps release the delicate aromatic nuances that are in wine. If you are enjoying a glass and not worrying too much about the subtle details, don’t worry about it! – Corrine Gosnell, Head Master Gardner
Q: Should I decant my wine? Why or why not?
A: This is a fun question. The easy answer is it depends. Yes, this is genuinely wine speak for an easy answer that’s why I love this beverage the most. I am always a proponent of taste, evaluate and then decide. If you find it’s a little out of sorts decanting will rarely hurt no matter the age of the wine. If I am honest, I will also always cheer for someone dirtying their decanter but will rarely dirty my own. Time in your glass and time in an open bottle will get you a much more subtle and interesting story. Plus, impatience can be rewarded with a brisk shake of a re-corked bottle……side note open slowly after that maneuver.–Daniel Rich, Tasting Room Associate
Q: What is it like working for Chehalem?
A: I have had quite a few jobs before, but nothing that has given me the freedom to be myself and have fun with other people! Meeting new people from all over has been exhilarating! Helping pick the right wine either for a special event, or just a Tuesday night, is honestly such a joy for me. Wine Club Members get to taste and receive newly released wines before anyone else, and what’s more fun than to share something so special, so significant, with some of your favorite people? – Erin Longmire, Wine Club Manager