The 2013 Rosé was such a hit, and the 2014 vintage so plentiful, that we decided to make some more Rosé! This one shows the energy and electricity that pulsed through the vintage right off the bat, with a vibrant rush of color springing from the bottle, and the spice and vibrancy one would expect from such a racy entry. We found that the warmth from 2014 made our Rosé act like exactly what it should be; the most refreshing Pinot Noir you can imagine, in the body of a texturally-interesting white wine. The nose has red currant, cinnamon, white pepper, and cotton candy, and on the palate the wine is dry and focused, reminiscent of strawberry-rhubarb pie, cherry cordial, or strawberry soda, with structure and weight worthy of a full meal. Santé!
I love Gamay Noir, and especially the “Villages” style of Beaujolais, with more depth, complexity, and structural balance than any version of “Nouveau” on the market. The 2013 Gamay Noir is OUR version of the best Oregon “Villages” we can imagine, sourced from some of the oldest Gamay vines in the USA. This wine has such perfectly refreshing acidity and spice, which Gamay is known for, showing summer berry pudding and cranberry sauce, with bright chewy raspberry, cinnamon bark, and a healthy shake of both white and black pepper. This wine also has a richer side (showing both sides of the coin, much like the vintage itself), exemplified by plum skin, milk chocolate, earth, black currant, and coriander. Overall, great balance, fruit, and depth – enough to make you think about the wine, but not too hard.
This Three Vineyard Pinot noir has struck a fantastic balance between the warm ripening season of 2013 and the cooler picking season right before harvest, giving us the best of both worlds in one wine. There is beautiful ripe black cherry and brambly cassis on the nose, with fresh wet earth and a tea leaf component. White pepper, dusty cocoa, tobacco, sweet loam, and raspberry accentuate the nose, providing a fresh, full, complex package. The palate is lithe and playful, with especially round, pliable acid, and an overarching flavor of rich cranberry sauce and rose hips. The finish is lengthy yet elegant, some silk-nap tannins throughout the wine, with what we all noted in one way or another as ‘fresh yet supple,’ and showing amazing clarity and beautiful balance.
Corral Creek reminds us why we enjoy the cooler and lighter vintages so much, this vineyard wears delicacy and elegance so well it’s astounding. 2013 was no exception, and although the bright garnet color of this wine is somewhat pale, the texture and weight is beautiful and stunningly complex. Violets and cedar greet the entry to join a more prominent pomegranate and strawberry fruit leather nose. All of these attributes carryover seamlessly to a palate of lovely lifted fruit, slight woody accents, and a spicy, cherry, blood orange, hibiscus whirlwind, with dusty lithe tannins and a brightness that lingers long after the wine is gone.
The warmth of Stoller Vineyards, especially when a year finishes with a cool spell, can be so nicely balanced you would never know we had 6 inches of rain over a weekend during harvest. The Pinot Noir that came from 2013 is so nicely balanced, you would guess it was a perfect 70 degrees all summer long, and into harvest. The nose has ripe plum, red apple skin, cocoa, and cherry cola, with the earthiness and baking spice classic of the Stoller site. The palate is round, fleshy, voluptuously soft, mouth-coating, and finishing with velveteen tannins and soft, accepting acid…so comfy you might just stay there in the warmth for a while.
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.
It’s no surprise the 2012 vintage has been highly touted by critics and consumers alike, and it’s no surprise we chose this wine as our top-of-the-line wine from a top-of-the-line vintage. This wine will blow your socks off. Not only was it a fabulous vintage to begin with, a bit of hail in the Spring on Ribbon Ridge clipped this crop short and helped to concentrate this wine even more. Red-to-black velour in color, so deep you can barely see through it, with a bounty of dark fruit (think huckleberries and tiny soft blackberries), so concentrated and filled with sweet fruit you can hardly stand it. The flavors and aromas keep changing in the glass, but the complexity reaches out with vanilla, crème de cassis, rose hips, tamarind, tobacco, blackberry seed, warm oak, and bing cherry. Tremendous depth and density, serious tannin, juiciness, a big, lingering finish, but it’s still lively and vibrant, and it’s got ageability for the ages. Phew.
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.
The 2014 INOX is a classic example of what a warmer vintage gives us with Chardonnay, a little more voluptuous than previous vintages, a tiny bit of sweetness to show its ripeness, and hints of the tropics on the nose and the palate! It opens with honeysuckle, peach, white blossoms and candied apples, then evolves on the palate as a complex, viscous, playful charmer. There are bright yellow apples, almost a fresh apple cider, or a juicy run-down-your-face melon, and some guava accents, which finish bright and clean with balancing acid on the finish.
This Pinot Gris is exactly what we look for from a ripe vintage of beautiful, bountiful fruit; the wine is perfectly balanced between rich and refreshing, bright and subtle, and slightly sweet and slightly tart. The nose shows characteristic fleshy white peach, fruit cocktail, sweet Rainier cherries, and a sprinkling of delicate pollen. The mouth is where the follow-through completes, skating lines of balance from a touch of residual sugar and lemon-zest acidity; both brightness and weight from a bit of alcohol and some slight pear-skin-like phenolics on the mid-palate; and length of finish and supple softer fruit on the end. Ripe melon, honeysuckle, pineapple and nectarine all make an appearance. Great with food, or just with a glass.
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.
Oh, Corral Creek; where the Riesling is always bright and clean, even if the critics don’t understand the vintage! This is one of CHEHALEM’s many argument for good wines from good producers in every single vintage. I guess it’s not your thing, if you don’t like pineapple and gladiolas, or lemon pie, cotton candy, and sunshine, or if you have an adverse reaction to richness, balanced acid, and a twinge of residual sugar singing sweetly, all at the same time. But, then again, who wouldn’t want to taste a fresh apple married to a melon, smell some jasmine and honeysuckle, and have their palate caressed with silky, golden, mouthwatering, flinty nectar? Nobody, that’s who.
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.
What can we say about SEXT Riesling that you all don't already know? The 2014 version is bright, fresh and punchy, much like the 2013 SEXT, but with a bit more weight and perceived sweetness (although the sugar content is actually significantly lower than 2013), and a bit more alcohol. The aromatics show riper tones, accentuated with jasmine, butterscotch, apple butter, and lemonade. On the palate, bright and spritzy as always, showcasing pear, honey, and star fruit, with an ultimately silky finish and crispness like a sweet fresh breeze on a warm summer evening. (NOTE: this wine WILL pair well with a sweet fresh breeze on a warm summer evening).
Our Grüner Veltliner this year holds true to form, a seemingly unshakable grape to major vintage variations, holding steady in a neutral state (much like a "Switzerland of wines”) even with good warmth in the vineyard through the entire summer. This wine is classically a Chehalem Grüner, if there is such a thing…we noted, as we often do with our Grüner, the opening aromatics of sage and lemongrass, some artichoke flower, lemon curd, and fresh cut grass. The palate is luscious and richer, texturally, than a cooler vintage may show, with cream soda and quince, white nectarines, and a round fleshiness that arises from some neutral barrel time and lees stirring. Balanced, luscious, fresh, and quickly becoming a Chehalem classic.
We’ve been anticipating the release of the 2014 Pinot Blanc since missing a vintage of this wine during 2013…and we couldn’t be more pleased now that the wait is over! Sticking our noses in the glass we were greeted with young, subdued aromas showcasing sweet cologne and line-dried linens, which evolved to yellow and white flowers, slate, and watermelon. The palate evokes summer memories of mouthwatering lemonade, bright with sweet ginger and hints of green apple candy, finishing with elegantly-balanced acid and length, and holding moderate weight and persistence. Super clean and fresh, we couldn’t wait any longer to show it to the world.
Our barrel-fermented Pinot Gris from 2012 is a classic example of why we love this vintage. The wine shows power and fullness gained from deliciously ripe fruit, yet there is plenty of elegance found in the balanced acidity and feathery palate weight, which intertwine seamlessly. The essence of warmth is prevalent on the nose and palate, highlighted by notes of browned-butter, passion fruit, Turkish Delights, olive oil, yellow corn tortillas, and slate. The palate has depth and richness, a small amount of pleasant barrel-influenced texture, and finishes with a hint of acid and silky, smooth length.
The 2012 Ian’s Reserve Chardonnay is gorgeous, as much like a Corton Chardonnay as any we can remember making. Essence of baking spices, brown sugar, brioche, and butterscotch complement the lemon curd, baked apple, and white flower notes seen throughout. The acidity needed structurally for a truly ageable Chardonnay is present, but it doesn’t interfere with its custard-like, rich, round, supple palate. Everyone tasting this wine was amazed by its seductivity; the balance is outstanding, the length and flavor persistence excellent for this age, a touch of warm wood was present (like being enveloped by a gentle sauna), and a silky, full, creamy texture promises one of the best Chardonnays we’ve made. Just, wow.
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