Aging Oregon chardonnay

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
Message
Author
User avatar
Brian S t o t t e r
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1645
Joined: April 21st, 2015, 6:05 am
Location: St. Louis, MO
Contact:

Aging Oregon chardonnay

#1 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » May 2nd, 2020, 2:40 pm

We all know that OR is a young region in the wine world, and that historically it has been disproportionately planted to pinot noir compared to other grape varietals (though that is now changing). At what point did chardonnay become more commonly produced in the region, and have the earliest examples of these wines demonstrated a capacity for chardonnay to age well beyond 10-15 years? What does the evolution of these wines typically look like?
CT: InZinity

2020 contenders for WOTY:
2017 Goodfellow Family Cellars Durant Vineyard Chardonnay
2015 Laherte Frères Champagne Blanc des Blancs Extra Brut Les Grands Crayeres
2001 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese
2015 Josef Walter Hundsruck Spätburgunder "J"

S teve R edenbaugh
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 255
Joined: April 23rd, 2018, 12:28 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#2 Post by S teve R edenbaugh » May 2nd, 2020, 3:42 pm

We're boldly going where few have gone before with cold climate Chard I think...I've having a bitch of a time keeping my corks in the bottles of the Cameron, Kelley Fox, Walter Scott, and Goodfellow Chards I bought...however...I think all these wines are showing enough restrain and acid balance to go at least 12-15....I'm sure others have more experience, but I'll be following this thread.

User avatar
ChrisJames
Posts: 44
Joined: February 3rd, 2019, 7:35 pm

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#3 Post by ChrisJames » May 2nd, 2020, 3:47 pm

Hi Brian,

I have only been drinking OR Chardonnay for a few years, but I'll take the first stab at this. The only really old one I've had was an Eyrie from the late 1980s that they were sampling in their tasting room. I think it was selling for $275. I found it completely devoid of fresh fruit and thus completely devoid of interest.

And that leads directly to my asking what it is you are looking for in extended aging of OR Chardonnay? My experience is that they start to change into different wines around four or five years, losing the bright fresh fruit for characteristics one would expect in an aged white. It is arguable that this is an actual improvement so much as it is a change in character. I am increasingly finding that I prefer whites with freshness and miss that in the 5+ year old wines I've had. Going forward I am inclined to drink my whites sooner rather than later and leave the aging to the reds.

User avatar
Kris Patten
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5277
Joined: February 1st, 2009, 6:25 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#4 Post by Kris Patten » May 2nd, 2020, 3:50 pm

I still have a 2002 Domaine Serene Cote Sud that has held up admirably from the last one a couple years ago.

Aged more like Chablis due to lower oak regimens and higher acid.
ITB

User avatar
Jason T
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2342
Joined: June 8th, 2014, 7:45 am
Location: London

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#5 Post by Jason T » May 2nd, 2020, 4:06 pm

Curious to hear what folks have to say on this as my only experience with aged Oregon is Pinot, which is stunning.
J@son Tr@ughber

User avatar
Rick Allen
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4471
Joined: June 7th, 2009, 10:13 am
Location: McMinnville, OR

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#6 Post by Rick Allen » May 2nd, 2020, 4:10 pm

We have a group that tastes Oregon Chardonnay at the six year point (2013 last year). At that point, many of the wines are still fresh and lovely. Most of the top producers haven't been making Chardonnay long enough to know how they'll be at the 10 year mark much less any longer. We'll have a better idea in another 5 years.

Probably the only producers that have been making superb Chardonnay for more than 10 years are Eyrie and Cameron. I've had Eyrie Chardonnays back 30 years, and I think they hold well but I don't see much improvement beyond about 10 or 15 years. The 1983 Eyrie was excellent the last time I had it in 2010. The top end Camerons (Clos Electrique and Abbey Ridge) can easily go 12-15 years, though they tend to move away from fresh fruit to more savory notes as they age. I had a 1998 Abbey Ridge in 2012 that could have been confused for a Pinot if it was served in a black glass.

Mel Knox
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2098
Joined: July 30th, 2010, 8:46 am
Location: San francisco

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#7 Post by Mel Knox » May 2nd, 2020, 4:15 pm

Another way to look at this question is to ask yourself
1/ what helps white wines age?
and
2/ why do you want them to age
I think the answers to the first question are:
pH
TA
SO2
lees contact--glutathione

Wines with good acidity, SO2 and lees contact should age into something nice and complex.

If you enjoy white wines for the youthful fruit and vigor, then drink them young and maybe SO2 and lees contact are not so important.
ITB

Mel Knox
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2098
Joined: July 30th, 2010, 8:46 am
Location: San francisco

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#8 Post by Mel Knox » May 2nd, 2020, 4:16 pm

For the record I made Chardonnay with Eric Hamacher from around 1996 to around 2002. I would assume he has continued to make good chardonnay.
ITB

User avatar
Scott Tallman
Posts: 3184
Joined: April 4th, 2012, 12:07 pm
Location: Seattle (Fremont), WA

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#9 Post by Scott Tallman » May 2nd, 2020, 4:55 pm

I’ve been drinking OR Chardonnay for 8 years, joined the vintage tastings Rick mentioned, and had a few at 10+ years old. As others have mentioned, thee are a handful of producers whose Chardonnays I would have no issue recommending to others to safely hold 10 years - Cameron, Eyrie, Goodfellow, Walter Scott, and Arterberry Maresh. As more Chardonnay vines come online and other winemakers up their Chardonnay game, I expect this list will grow in the coming years (not to mention I’m sure others with more experience can point out others I’ve missed).

But, like Chris, I have found that the wines show best for me between 3-8 years depending on producer and vintage. The 10+ year old bottles I’ve tried have been good, but the denser, honeyed, bruised Apple, more savory notes I get from those wines are not really my bag. I generally prefer the period, which varies by producer & vineyard, where the fruit is still present but is starting to drop off. YMMV
CT - WestbyGod

Climbs like Tony Martin and descends like Thibaut Pinot

User avatar
John Osburn
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 909
Joined: June 30th, 2009, 12:56 pm
Location: Portland OR

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#10 Post by John Osburn » May 2nd, 2020, 5:34 pm

The older ones I have had have tended to get richer and “wetter” if that term means anything to you. Numerous 1980s etc Chardonnays from Tualatin Estate and Shafer (neither of which do it anymore). As well as Eyrie, Cameron.

Other than a few producers, the Chardonnays currently being made by the top producers (see above, add a few more) tend to be significantly better than prior versions. They are likely more ageable as well - if you like the changes. If you want only “fresh fruit,” why bother?
Last edited by John Osburn on May 2nd, 2020, 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Marshall Manning
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 383
Joined: January 31st, 2009, 1:16 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#11 Post by Marshall Manning » May 2nd, 2020, 5:36 pm

When I moved up here in 1995, the OR wine industry was a lot smaller than it is now, but many of the producers made Chardonnay. I think a lot of them hopped on the Chard craze, but a number of them were too oaky, but overcropped and thin, and not really complex or balanced. The main original plantings were a variety of Wente clones and others, but the Dijon clones were planted a lot in the '90s. I've noticed a real uptick in quality lately, though producers like Eyrie and Cameron have always made delicious Chards (a 2010 Cameron Abbey Ridge Chard tried a couple of months ago was absolutely stunning). Maybe some of the OR producers here can give more info, but it seems that Chard is taken more seriously now, and that people might putting more effort into matching clones, sites, and soils in order to make the best wine as opposed to just planting Chard anywhere because it's the "hot" grape.
Marshall

User avatar
Richard T r i m p i
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 14808
Joined: September 11th, 2009, 1:29 pm
Location: Within walking distance of William Penn's Walking Purchase

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#12 Post by Richard T r i m p i » May 2nd, 2020, 5:38 pm

Mel Knox wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 4:16 pm
For the record I made Chardonnay with Eric Hamacher from around 1996 to around 2002. I would assume he has continued to make good chardonnay.
Eric is talented and makes wines to age (especially his Pinots IMHO). I've only had 1 or 2 of his Chards.

Cameron comes to mind immediately. Lovely at age 15. Only 1 each left of the 05 Abbey Ridge and Clos Electrique Chards. Not sure there's any hurry.

RT

User avatar
G. Bienstock
Posts: 2734
Joined: December 29th, 2009, 6:32 pm
Location: Reno, NV

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#13 Post by G. Bienstock » May 2nd, 2020, 5:59 pm

Richard T r i m p i wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 5:38 pm
Mel Knox wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 4:16 pm
For the record I made Chardonnay with Eric Hamacher from around 1996 to around 2002. I would assume he has continued to make good chardonnay.
Eric is talented and makes wines to age (especially his Pinots IMHO). I've only had 1 or 2 of his Chards.

Cameron comes to mind immediately. Lovely at age 15. Only 1 each left of the 05 Abbey Ridge and Clos Electrique Chards. Not sure there's any hurry.

RT
I had the pleasure of sitting next to Eric at one of our sales meetings at Martin Scott Wines. The 02 PN was a treat.

My preference for OR Chardonnay is like other great domestic Chardonnay, in the 5-8 year zone, sometimes a little longer. I value having some fruit along with softening texture along with early secondary treats. After that comes a window where the fruit fades and sometimes the presentation states to slowly diminsh a bit.

If you are starting to cellar some younger wines I would try mid term and if they seem to need more time then maybe hang on to them. Otherwise enjoy them when the fruit shines.
Glenn

Positive Rastaman Vibration

ITB 1999-2005

User avatar
Kris Patten
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5277
Joined: February 1st, 2009, 6:25 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#14 Post by Kris Patten » May 2nd, 2020, 7:08 pm

I wouldn't overlook Domaine Serene & Adelsheim, adding to Cameron, Walter Scott and others mentioned.
ITB

User avatar
Kris Patten
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5277
Joined: February 1st, 2009, 6:25 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#15 Post by Kris Patten » May 2nd, 2020, 7:12 pm

John Osburn wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 5:34 pm
The older ones I have had have tended to get richer and “wetter” if that term means anything to you. Numerous 1980s etc Chardonnays from Tualatin Estate and Shafer (neither of which do it anymore). As well as Eyrie, Cameron.

Other than a few producers, the Chardonnays currently being made by the top producers (see above, add a few more) tend to be significantly better than prior versions. They are likely more ageable as well - if you like the changes. If you want only “fresh fruit,” why bother?
I think those older Chards suffered from wrong Clone, wrong place, higher cropping, treating OR Chard like CA, and a multitude of other issues. There were only a few people with a sense of place back then...mostly the OGs, Adelsheim, Erath, Eyrie, Ponzi and even then it was third choice behind Pinot Noir and Gris.
ITB

Karl K
Posts: 1247
Joined: October 29th, 2016, 10:01 pm

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#16 Post by Karl K » May 2nd, 2020, 7:19 pm

I think this is right, that the OR chards of recent release will have longer potential lifespan than those of, generally speaking, earlier times.

I am thinking of the makers today AM, Goodfellow, Cameron, Dom. Drouhin. Not saying there aren’t others, that’s just where I have some tasting experience to venture this statement.
K a z a k s

User avatar
Rick Allen
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4471
Joined: June 7th, 2009, 10:13 am
Location: McMinnville, OR

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#17 Post by Rick Allen » May 2nd, 2020, 7:26 pm

Oregon’s issue with Chardonnay was never the clone(s). In our tastings, wines made from the old Wente clone have done very well. Clearly the Draper selection (Eyrie, Tualatin, Abbey Ridge) has performed better, but regular old Wente clone Chardonnays have significantly out-performed the Dijon clone wines.

User avatar
Kirk.Grant
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3464
Joined: May 27th, 2012, 1:29 pm
Location: Bangor, Maine

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#18 Post by Kirk.Grant » May 2nd, 2020, 7:26 pm

A friend & I have a bottle of the 2008 Eyrie Original Vines & 2008 Cameron Clos Electrique set aside to check out. As of right now, it's 12 years...so it will be interesting to see how well they're doing sometime in the next year or two. I'll certainly post here to share the experience.
Cellartracker:Kirk Grant

User avatar
Rick Allen
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4471
Joined: June 7th, 2009, 10:13 am
Location: McMinnville, OR

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#19 Post by Rick Allen » May 2nd, 2020, 7:34 pm

I would also say that mixed clone Chardonnays (Clos Electrique, X-Novo) do very well too. BTW, I believe that A lot of the Dundee Hills Chardonnays have at least some Draper Selection, including Maresh, Winderlea, and Durant. These all sold fruit to Eyrie many years ago.

User avatar
Brian S t o t t e r
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1645
Joined: April 21st, 2015, 6:05 am
Location: St. Louis, MO
Contact:

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#20 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » May 2nd, 2020, 7:35 pm

Kirk.Grant wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 7:26 pm
A friend & I have a bottle of the 2008 Eyrie Original Vines & 2008 Cameron Clos Electrique set aside to check out. As of right now, it's 12 years...so it will be interesting to see how well they're doing sometime in the next year or two. I'll certainly post here to share the experience.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

Thanks everyone for contributing to this discussion.
CT: InZinity

2020 contenders for WOTY:
2017 Goodfellow Family Cellars Durant Vineyard Chardonnay
2015 Laherte Frères Champagne Blanc des Blancs Extra Brut Les Grands Crayeres
2001 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese
2015 Josef Walter Hundsruck Spätburgunder "J"

Megan Joy
Posts: 17
Joined: January 9th, 2014, 1:11 am

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#21 Post by Megan Joy » May 2nd, 2020, 8:28 pm

A year or two ago Michael Davies shared a glass of 1996 Rex Hill Reserve Chardonnay with us (Lynn Penner-Ash would have been been the winemaker), it was both beautiful and incredibly youthful. I have had beautiful older bottles of Cameron Clos Electrique Blanc, and Tyson Crowley shared a vertical of his Four Winds going back to 2010, with no sign of expiration in the 2010 (or any of them).

There is definitely a resurgence in interest in Chardonnay. With beautiful, age worthy wines from a number of sources. The wrong clone wrong place argument is a hard one for me, since Four Winds and Clos Electrique are definitely the "Heirloom Clones" that are referred to as the "wrong clones" in that argument. Somewhere on this board is a great quote from Jim Anderson about how he thought there was something wrong with Four Winds as a site, and so after years of trying they blamed the fruit and gave it up. Then he tasted Tyson's wine.

I'll let Marcus talk about our wines, there has been an evolution of style over the years, but every time I have tasted the older bottles they, almost more so than the reds, benefit from being open a bit. 2-24 hours at least. This has been the case for many of the producers that we have tasted at the retrospectives that Scott and Rick mentioned. When I have had the chance to revisit wines that were left at the end of the tastings, the producers and sites that I admire have all gained transparency and come alive with air, with both reductive and even seeming oxidative notes giving way to youth and complexity (and making me feel like we were doing the tastings on vintages that were too young, not too old).

For me, the potential is there for extraordinary quality both in youth and age, and the number of producers making wines that I am looking forward to trying in 10-20 years time is truly exciting. There is a craze for Chardonnay now for sure, which definitely means there will be some wines that fall flat, sites that have no business being planted (and quantities of vines that have no business being in the ground) but the focus also gives producers the excuse to spend the time and energy on the wines that they deserve.
Last edited by Megan Joy on May 2nd, 2020, 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
ITB
Goodfellow Family Cellars
Temperance Hill Vineyard

James Lyon
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 246
Joined: January 16th, 2013, 11:31 am

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#22 Post by James Lyon » May 2nd, 2020, 8:54 pm

I have enjoyed quite a few Oregon Chardonnay's with at least 5-9 years of age within the last year. The list would include 2011 Eyrie Original Vines, 2011 and 2012 Domaine Drouhin Arthur, 2012 and 2015 Arterberry Maresh Maresh, numerous 2013-2015 Walter Scott's, 2012 Belle Pente, Brick House, J. Cristopher, 2014 Soter North Valley, 2015 Crowley Four Winds, Chehalem Ian's, 2015 Lingua Franca Sisters and a number of Goodfellow bottles including a 2013 Richards last weekend. All good to exceptional. I don't have any answers for you, but I was kinda surprised that the most recent 2012 Maresh consumed last month lacked the snap or electricity from my experience in January 2019. As others have mentioned, perhaps the freshness or electricity wanes or dissipates around 7-8 years. Not a bad thing, just different. I think that 2016 is my oldest vintage with Cameron Chardonnay's, so I'm looking forward to enjoying them in the future.

Unrelated, but related, a 2017 Vincent Ribbon Ridge Brick House Chardonnay was a head turner last night and tonight.

James

User avatar
John Osburn
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 909
Joined: June 30th, 2009, 12:56 pm
Location: Portland OR

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#23 Post by John Osburn » May 2nd, 2020, 9:05 pm

I’m in the camp that the new resurgence of quality may be based on lower cropping, less new oak (perhaps back in the day going for what the consumer perceived as high quality or to mask lesser quality of base product), and more attention (and ability to obtain higher prices) these days. The few people who seemed really committed to it back then (like Bill Fuller, John Cameron etc) did very well. Many did not - at least for my tastes. But I am not a winemaker working with many, many variables in different time frames - so I don’t really know.

Pretty excited about the current developments though.

Marcus Goodfellow
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 1892
Joined: January 5th, 2011, 9:28 pm
Location: McMinnville, Oregon

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#24 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » May 2nd, 2020, 9:09 pm

Mel Knox wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 4:15 pm
Another way to look at this question is to ask yourself
1/ what helps white wines age?
and
2/ why do you want them to age
I think the answers to the first question are:
pH
TA
SO2
lees contact--glutathione

Wines with good acidity, SO2 and lees contact should age into something nice and complex.

If you enjoy white wines for the youthful fruit and vigor, then drink them young and maybe SO2 and lees contact are not so important.
Spot on, but I still think SO2 and lees contact are important. The lower the alcohol the better the aromatic expression, but the more necessary the lees contact, and cask ferment, for the texture(see Donnhoff, Helmut). SO2 still provides freshness/precision, even in youthful wines, most especially if you have taken the care to hold them on the lees long enough to take advantage of autolysis(maybe not as important to folks who bottle asap...).
Last edited by Marcus Goodfellow on May 2nd, 2020, 9:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Goodfellow Family Cellars
Winemaker & Owner

Marcus Goodfellow
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 1892
Joined: January 5th, 2011, 9:28 pm
Location: McMinnville, Oregon

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#25 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » May 2nd, 2020, 9:31 pm

James Lyon wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 8:54 pm
I have enjoyed quite a few Oregon Chardonnay's with at least 5-9 years of age within the last year. The list would include 2011 Eyrie Original Vines, 2011 and 2012 Domaine Drouhin Arthur, 2012 and 2015 Arterberry Maresh Maresh, numerous 2013-2015 Walter Scott's, 2012 Belle Pente, Brick House, J. Cristopher, 2014 Soter North Valley, 2015 Crowley Four Winds, Chehalem Ian's, 2015 Lingua Franca Sisters and a number of Goodfellow bottles including a 2013 Richards last weekend. All good to exceptional. I don't have any answers for you, but I was kinda surprised that the most recent 2012 Maresh consumed last month lacked the snap or electricity from my experience in January 2019. As others have mentioned, perhaps the freshness or electricity wanes or dissipates around 7-8 years. Not a bad thing, just different. I think that 2016 is my oldest vintage with Cameron Chardonnay's, so I'm looking forward to enjoying them in the future.

Unrelated, but related, a 2017 Vincent Ribbon Ridge Brick House Chardonnay was a head turner last night and tonight.

James
2012 was a horribly small crop, that in my mind made nice wines but needed to be picked a week earlier by almost everyone that I have tasted, Tyson Crowley's Four Winds being the exception. While the Richard's is holding up fine, it's quite tropical. For me, I think the vintages that I would prefer to be judged on for our Chardonnays ability to age are 2014-2018. While the earlier versions are good wines, they are still marked by the hands of a winemaker finding the process(still the case in 2016-2018 but at least I have the basics covered now).

Noting the earlier mention of lower yields by John. I am seeking lower sugars, better acidity, and smaller berries(more phenolics). None of those things happen with lower yields. Please see Terry Theise's comments, in his Germany catalogues, on yields and Rieslings. My own experience mirrors what he is reporting. Low yields unquestionably lead to bigger berries with thinner skins, and generally higher sugars and lower acids.

We carry whatever Mother Nature will give us for Chardonnay fruit, no thinning. In 2018, I sent Paul Durant a text(mostly joking) asking him which row he was going to pick our 10 tons from, so that we could get useful samples. I am not trying to be a jackass, but the low yields mantra is, IMO, overstated. In Oregon Pinot Noir, this has led to an over abundance of "unctuous" and expensive Pinot Noirs(we target 3-3.5 tons/acres) and low yields produce exactly the opposite results from what I am looking for in Chardonnay.
Last edited by Marcus Goodfellow on May 2nd, 2020, 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Goodfellow Family Cellars
Winemaker & Owner

Marcus Goodfellow
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 1892
Joined: January 5th, 2011, 9:28 pm
Location: McMinnville, Oregon

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#26 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » May 2nd, 2020, 9:35 pm

Rick Allen wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 7:34 pm
I would also say that mixed clone Chardonnays (Clos Electrique, X-Novo) do very well too. BTW, I believe that A lot of the Dundee Hills Chardonnays have at least some Draper Selection, including Maresh, Winderlea, and Durant. These all sold fruit to Eyrie many years ago.
Speaking specifically to Durant, we work with Dijon clones. While I wish there was Draper at Durant, if it is planted there someone else gets it.

That said, I also think mixed clonal plantings produce some of the very best wines coming out of Oregon. There are 4 Chardonnay clones in the acre in production at Whistling Ridge, and this fall we have another 1.4 acres grafted to John Paul's(Cameron) full mix of Heirloom clones planted at Clos Electrique(super generous of him to let us have the plant material).
Last edited by Marcus Goodfellow on May 3rd, 2020, 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
Goodfellow Family Cellars
Winemaker & Owner

Megan Joy
Posts: 17
Joined: January 9th, 2014, 1:11 am

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#27 Post by Megan Joy » May 2nd, 2020, 10:00 pm

John Osburn wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 9:05 pm
I’m in the camp that the new resurgence of quality may be based on lower cropping, less new oak (perhaps back in the day going for what the consumer perceived as high quality or to mask lesser quality of base product), and more attention (and ability to obtain higher prices) these days. The few people who seemed really committed to it back then (like Bill Fuller, John Cameron etc) did very well. Many did not - at least for my tastes. But I am not a winemaker working with many, many variables in different time frames - so I don’t really know.

Pretty excited about the current developments though.
With all due respect, I would say that most of the resurgence in quality is in earlier picking choices. One of the bigger eye openers for me was at a cooperage tasting as I was transitioning from waiting tables to cellar work. Tasted a bunch of 100% new oak White Burgundy. Tasted nothing like my idea of what new oak tasted like... lower alcohols=less extraction and less heat and thickness, which leads to entirely different interactions with oak. Chardonnay shows new oak more than Pinot Noir certainly, and my favorite barrels tend to be 800L once-fills.... but there are great wines made in new oak. They may take a little time, but the material is correct if the juice that goes in the barrel is correct, and that is about site and picking decision. We did not make the picking choice for the fruit that went in to the 2017 Dundee Hills Chardonnay. Some excellent tasters have commented on its higher oak content... it was fermented and aged entirely in VERY neutral (4-10 year old) barrique. Smaller vessels mean more evapotranspiration, but more importantly, it was a later pick than we would have chosen (part of our job is about relationships and supporting our farmers, and it was good fruit, even if it was too ripe.)
ITB
Goodfellow Family Cellars
Temperance Hill Vineyard

Eric Lundblad
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 1803
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 2:36 pm

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#28 Post by Eric Lundblad » May 2nd, 2020, 11:31 pm

Mel Knox wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 4:15 pm
Another way to look at this question is to ask yourself
1/ what helps white wines age?
and
2/ why do you want them to age
I think the answers to the first question are:
pH
TA
SO2
lees contact--glutathione
+ how hard you press (and with what kind of press) cuz that extracts various phenolics . Oxidizing the must prior to fermentation likely is a factor as well. And I think Diam (and more recent entry, CWine) has proven that the closure and a bottle to bottle consistent oxygen transmission is an important factor.
Ladd Cellars
Winemaker & Owner

Marcus Goodfellow
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 1892
Joined: January 5th, 2011, 9:28 pm
Location: McMinnville, Oregon

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#29 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » May 3rd, 2020, 7:45 am

Eric Lundblad wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 11:31 pm
Mel Knox wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 4:15 pm
Another way to look at this question is to ask yourself
1/ what helps white wines age?
and
2/ why do you want them to age
I think the answers to the first question are:
pH
TA
SO2
lees contact--glutathione
+ how hard you press (and with what kind of press) cuz that extracts various phenolics . Oxidizing the must prior to fermentation likely is a factor as well. And I think Diam (and more recent entry, CWine) has proven that the closure and a bottle to bottle consistent oxygen transmission is an important factor.
Also all very good points. We typically press to 1.8-2.0 bar, although we separate the first spin free run juice(it has most of the dust) and will settle the hard press in with it. We also oxidize the juice, and use Diam.
Goodfellow Family Cellars
Winemaker & Owner

Mel Knox
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2098
Joined: July 30th, 2010, 8:46 am
Location: San francisco

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#30 Post by Mel Knox » May 3rd, 2020, 8:39 am

If you don't oxidize the must, then you have to pile on the SO2.
Wine made in California this way in the 70s aged very well. Not my style of wine tho.
ITB

User avatar
Rick Allen
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4471
Joined: June 7th, 2009, 10:13 am
Location: McMinnville, OR

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#31 Post by Rick Allen » May 3rd, 2020, 12:44 pm

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 9:35 pm
Rick Allen wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 7:34 pm
I would also say that mixed clone Chardonnays (Clos Electrique, X-Novo) do very well too. BTW, I believe that A lot of the Dundee Hills Chardonnays have at least some Draper Selection, including Maresh, Winderlea, and Durant. These all sold fruit to Eyrie many years ago.
Speaking specifically to Durant, we work with Dijon clones. While I wish there was Draper at Durant, if it is planted there someone else gets it.

That said, I also think mixed clonal plantings produce some of the very best wines coming out of Oregon. There are 4 Chardonnay clones in the acre in production at Whistling Ridge, and this fall we have another 1.4 acres grafted to John Paul's(Cameron) full mix of Heirloom clones planted at Clos Electrique(super generous of him to let us have the plant material).
I checked back with my brother who works at Durant, and I stand corrected. Durant is all Dijon as far as he knows.

User avatar
Jim Anderson
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 6434
Joined: October 20th, 2010, 1:18 pm
Location: Portland/Newberg, Oregon

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#32 Post by Jim Anderson » May 3rd, 2020, 1:15 pm

Rick Allen wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 12:44 pm
Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 9:35 pm
Rick Allen wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 7:34 pm
I would also say that mixed clone Chardonnays (Clos Electrique, X-Novo) do very well too. BTW, I believe that A lot of the Dundee Hills Chardonnays have at least some Draper Selection, including Maresh, Winderlea, and Durant. These all sold fruit to Eyrie many years ago.
Speaking specifically to Durant, we work with Dijon clones. While I wish there was Draper at Durant, if it is planted there someone else gets it.

That said, I also think mixed clonal plantings produce some of the very best wines coming out of Oregon. There are 4 Chardonnay clones in the acre in production at Whistling Ridge, and this fall we have another 1.4 acres grafted to John Paul's(Cameron) full mix of Heirloom clones planted at Clos Electrique(super generous of him to let us have the plant material).
I checked back with my brother who works at Durant, and I stand corrected. Durant is all Dijon as far as he knows.
All the Chardonnay at Durant is 76, 95 and 96. We get the first two. Draper is hard to come by. It oft times is virus-laden and a potential hazard to get cuttings for grafting. I know. I asked Jason Lett for cuttings for our grafted block of Chardonnay. Second prize was two clones from Brick House Vineyard, so I don’t think I lost out in the grand scheme of things! Looking forward to making it this year. Gotta have something to look forward to.

One of the Chardonnay principles I pilfered from Marcus (and others) is the idea that you have to figure out the correct level of grape under-ripeness. It’s different, really, than Pinot. If you’re picking ripe Chardonnay grapes than you are actually picking overripe Chardonnay grapes. It’s something I’m still struggling with 5 vintages into it.
Co-owner, Patricia Green Cellars

User avatar
Richard T r i m p i
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 14808
Joined: September 11th, 2009, 1:29 pm
Location: Within walking distance of William Penn's Walking Purchase

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#33 Post by Richard T r i m p i » May 3rd, 2020, 1:30 pm

Jim Anderson wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:15 pm
If you’re picking ripe Chardonnay grapes than you are actually picking overripe Chardonnay grapes.
Like Champagne!

RT

User avatar
Brian S t o t t e r
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1645
Joined: April 21st, 2015, 6:05 am
Location: St. Louis, MO
Contact:

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#34 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » May 3rd, 2020, 1:35 pm

Richard T r i m p i wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:30 pm
Jim Anderson wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:15 pm
If you’re picking ripe Chardonnay grapes than you are actually picking overripe Chardonnay grapes.
Like Champagne!

RT
Anyone planting pinot meunier in OR? There's already pinot noir and chardonnay :D
CT: InZinity

2020 contenders for WOTY:
2017 Goodfellow Family Cellars Durant Vineyard Chardonnay
2015 Laherte Frères Champagne Blanc des Blancs Extra Brut Les Grands Crayeres
2001 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese
2015 Josef Walter Hundsruck Spätburgunder "J"

User avatar
Richard T r i m p i
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 14808
Joined: September 11th, 2009, 1:29 pm
Location: Within walking distance of William Penn's Walking Purchase

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#35 Post by Richard T r i m p i » May 3rd, 2020, 1:36 pm

Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:35 pm
Richard T r i m p i wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:30 pm
Jim Anderson wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:15 pm
If you’re picking ripe Chardonnay grapes than you are actually picking overripe Chardonnay grapes.
Like Champagne!
RT
Anyone planting pinot meunier in OR? There's already pinot noir and chardonnay :D
Yes, Willakenzie and there're almost certainly more.

RT

Lee Short
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1357
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 7:33 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#36 Post by Lee Short » May 3rd, 2020, 1:49 pm

I used to love the single vineyard Chardonnays that Russ Raney used to make at Evesham Wood, and they aged superbly. I put the 1996 Mahonia Vineyard in a blind flight of Corton-Charlemagne, and no one picked it as a ringer. I bought his last few bottles out the cellar door once I tasted it -- I think he had 4 left.

I didn't like many Willamette chards in those days -- they've sure come a long ways. So many good ones to choose from now.

User avatar
Kris Patten
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5277
Joined: February 1st, 2009, 6:25 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#37 Post by Kris Patten » May 3rd, 2020, 1:59 pm

Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:35 pm
Richard T r i m p i wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:30 pm
Jim Anderson wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:15 pm
If you’re picking ripe Chardonnay grapes than you are actually picking overripe Chardonnay grapes.
Like Champagne!

RT
Anyone planting pinot meunier in OR? There's already pinot noir and chardonnay :D
Gamay will probably be #2 red grape, Chardonnay will take over as #1 and exceed Pinot Gris at some point in next decade.
ITB

User avatar
Richard T r i m p i
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 14808
Joined: September 11th, 2009, 1:29 pm
Location: Within walking distance of William Penn's Walking Purchase

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#38 Post by Richard T r i m p i » May 3rd, 2020, 2:03 pm

Lee Short wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:49 pm
I used to love the single vineyard Chardonnays that Russ Raney used to make at Evesham Wood, and they aged superbly. I put the 1996 Mahonia Vineyard in a blind flight of Corton-Charlemagne, and no one picked it as a ringer. I bought his last few bottles out the cellar door once I tasted it -- I think he had 4 left.
All his wines were an exceptional value...including the Puits Sec Chardonnay.

RT

User avatar
Brian S t o t t e r
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1645
Joined: April 21st, 2015, 6:05 am
Location: St. Louis, MO
Contact:

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#39 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » May 3rd, 2020, 2:24 pm

Kris Patten wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:59 pm
Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:35 pm
Richard T r i m p i wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:30 pm


Like Champagne!

RT
Anyone planting pinot meunier in OR? There's already pinot noir and chardonnay :D
Gamay will probably be #2 red grape, Chardonnay will take over as #1 and exceed Pinot Gris at some point in next decade.
I'd love to see pinot blanc/bianco develop more in OR as well. It's a similar latitude as Trentino-Alto Adige, would be great to have wines of comparable quality produced domestically.
CT: InZinity

2020 contenders for WOTY:
2017 Goodfellow Family Cellars Durant Vineyard Chardonnay
2015 Laherte Frères Champagne Blanc des Blancs Extra Brut Les Grands Crayeres
2001 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese
2015 Josef Walter Hundsruck Spätburgunder "J"

User avatar
Brian S t o t t e r
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1645
Joined: April 21st, 2015, 6:05 am
Location: St. Louis, MO
Contact:

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#40 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » May 3rd, 2020, 2:26 pm

Jim Anderson wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:15 pm
One of the Chardonnay principles I pilfered from Marcus (and others) is the idea that you have to figure out the correct level of grape under-ripeness. It’s different, really, than Pinot. If you’re picking ripe Chardonnay grapes than you are actually picking overripe Chardonnay grapes. It’s something I’m still struggling with 5 vintages into it.
I've heard this before in interviews with winemakers in CA talking about certain red grape varietals. Why is this?
CT: InZinity

2020 contenders for WOTY:
2017 Goodfellow Family Cellars Durant Vineyard Chardonnay
2015 Laherte Frères Champagne Blanc des Blancs Extra Brut Les Grands Crayeres
2001 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese
2015 Josef Walter Hundsruck Spätburgunder "J"

User avatar
Kris Patten
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5277
Joined: February 1st, 2009, 6:25 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#41 Post by Kris Patten » May 3rd, 2020, 2:37 pm

Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 2:24 pm
Kris Patten wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:59 pm
Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:35 pm


Anyone planting pinot meunier in OR? There's already pinot noir and chardonnay :D
Gamay will probably be #2 red grape, Chardonnay will take over as #1 and exceed Pinot Gris at some point in next decade.
I'd love to see pinot blanc/bianco develop more in OR as well. It's a similar latitude as Trentino-Alto Adige, would be great to have wines of comparable quality produced domestically.
Four Grace's makes a top notch Pinot Blanc, lots of energy.
ITB

User avatar
Scott Tallman
Posts: 3184
Joined: April 4th, 2012, 12:07 pm
Location: Seattle (Fremont), WA

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#42 Post by Scott Tallman » May 3rd, 2020, 3:05 pm

Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 2:24 pm
Kris Patten wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:59 pm
Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:35 pm


Anyone planting pinot meunier in OR? There's already pinot noir and chardonnay :D
Gamay will probably be #2 red grape, Chardonnay will take over as #1 and exceed Pinot Gris at some point in next decade.
I'd love to see pinot blanc/bianco develop more in OR as well. It's a similar latitude as Trentino-Alto Adige, would be great to have wines of comparable quality produced domestically.
I concur on PB, but I’m not counting on it. With Chardonnay on a fast ascent and PB being a niche grape, I don’t expect it to be widely made.

But there are already some excellent versions being made and that is enough for me - Kelley Fox Freedom Hill and Barbie, Cameron Giovani, and Paetra. Although I would buy from Walter Scott and Goodfellow if they produced it again (hint hint).
CT - WestbyGod

Climbs like Tony Martin and descends like Thibaut Pinot

User avatar
Brian S t o t t e r
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1645
Joined: April 21st, 2015, 6:05 am
Location: St. Louis, MO
Contact:

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#43 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » May 3rd, 2020, 3:13 pm

Scott Tallman wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 3:05 pm
Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 2:24 pm
Kris Patten wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:59 pm


Gamay will probably be #2 red grape, Chardonnay will take over as #1 and exceed Pinot Gris at some point in next decade.
I'd love to see pinot blanc/bianco develop more in OR as well. It's a similar latitude as Trentino-Alto Adige, would be great to have wines of comparable quality produced domestically.
I concur on PB, but I’m not counting on it. With Chardonnay on a fast ascent and PB being a niche grape, I don’t expect it to be widely made.

But there are already some excellent versions being made and that is enough for me - Kelley Fox Freedom Hill and Barbie, Cameron Giovani, and Paetra. Although I would buy from Walter Scott and Goodfellow if they produced it again (hint hint).
I don’t expect it to be widely made, it’s relatively obscure in other countries anyway. Thanks for the tips.
CT: InZinity

2020 contenders for WOTY:
2017 Goodfellow Family Cellars Durant Vineyard Chardonnay
2015 Laherte Frères Champagne Blanc des Blancs Extra Brut Les Grands Crayeres
2001 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese
2015 Josef Walter Hundsruck Spätburgunder "J"

Ken Pahlow
Posts: 7
Joined: October 29th, 2016, 10:53 am

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#44 Post by Ken Pahlow » May 3rd, 2020, 3:59 pm

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 9:09 pm
Mel Knox wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 4:15 pm
Another way to look at this question is to ask yourself
1/ what helps white wines age?
and
2/ why do you want them to age
I think the answers to the first question are:
pH
TA
SO2
lees contact--glutathione

Wines with good acidity, SO2 and lees contact should age into something nice and complex.

If you enjoy white wines for the youthful fruit and vigor, then drink them young and maybe SO2 and lees contact are not so important.
Spot on, but I still think SO2 and lees contact are important. The lower the alcohol the better the aromatic expression, but the more necessary the lees contact, and cask ferment, for the texture(see Donnhoff, Helmut). SO2 still provides freshness/precision, even in youthful wines, most especially if you have taken the care to hold them on the lees long enough to take advantage of autolysis(maybe not as important to folks who bottle asap...).
I would agree completely with this. PH, TA, SO2 and extended lees contact both in barrel and tank. I know my boy Marcus goes long in barrel for his lees contact. Where as we go shorter in barrel (12+ months for the single vineyard wines) then 4-5 months in tank also on the lees which we take to tank. I believe this keeps freshness and tension in the wines and allows for all of the pieces of a given cuvee to come together. To all of this I would have to add trapped CO2 as a big deal with age-ability of Chardonnay. And that time in tank keeps it locked up. It is one of the many take aways from my time working with the team at Evening Land (by the way their 2007's-2010's should be drinking quite well now) specifically Dominique Lafon. Details, details, details and EXECUTION. Typical trapped CO2 at bottling is about 1100 mg/L these days. I used to de-gas prior to bottling, we don't anymore. I only check them to make sure that they are in the sweet spot and as we only rack once to tank, the wines are generally right where we want them.

We truly believe that the chardonnays from the Willamette Valley have the ability to age. How long? Well, what do you like in the wines you drink? Our first vintage of chardonnay was 2011 (140 cases BTW), recently Erica and I have gone back and tasted some of our early vintages to reflect on the decisions we made and the wine's evolution. We have found some bottle variation which we definitely attribute to cork, but found most of the wines to be pretty fresh and youthful. The '11's & '12's are starting to show notes of evolution where as the '13's & '14's are tight and youthful.

There are plenty of great examples of Willamette Valley chardonnays that have aged well, made by folks who were truly dedicated to the varietal! Our intention is to make wines of balance that should ultimately age well. We are, much like the many producers we admire in this valley, absolutely obsessed and committed to the varietal. Ultimately the perfect drinking window for a wine is totally subjective. Erica and I tend to fall toward the earlier side int the 5-8 years from vintage.
Partner & Winemaker
Walter Scott Wines
ITB

User avatar
ChrisJames
Posts: 44
Joined: February 3rd, 2019, 7:35 pm

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#45 Post by ChrisJames » May 3rd, 2020, 4:31 pm

Ken Pahlow wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 3:59 pm
Ultimately the perfect drinking window for a wine is totally subjective. Erica and I tend to fall toward the earlier side int the 5-8 years from vintage.
[cheers.gif]

User avatar
Brian S t o t t e r
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1645
Joined: April 21st, 2015, 6:05 am
Location: St. Louis, MO
Contact:

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#46 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » May 3rd, 2020, 4:59 pm

Ken Pahlow wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 3:59 pm
Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 9:09 pm
Mel Knox wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 4:15 pm
Another way to look at this question is to ask yourself
1/ what helps white wines age?
and
2/ why do you want them to age
I think the answers to the first question are:
pH
TA
SO2
lees contact--glutathione

Wines with good acidity, SO2 and lees contact should age into something nice and complex.

If you enjoy white wines for the youthful fruit and vigor, then drink them young and maybe SO2 and lees contact are not so important.
Spot on, but I still think SO2 and lees contact are important. The lower the alcohol the better the aromatic expression, but the more necessary the lees contact, and cask ferment, for the texture(see Donnhoff, Helmut). SO2 still provides freshness/precision, even in youthful wines, most especially if you have taken the care to hold them on the lees long enough to take advantage of autolysis(maybe not as important to folks who bottle asap...).
I would agree completely with this. PH, TA, SO2 and extended lees contact both in barrel and tank. I know my boy Marcus goes long in barrel for his lees contact. Where as we go shorter in barrel (12+ months for the single vineyard wines) then 4-5 months in tank also on the lees which we take to tank. I believe this keeps freshness and tension in the wines and allows for all of the pieces of a given cuvee to come together. To all of this I would have to add trapped CO2 as a big deal with age-ability of Chardonnay. And that time in tank keeps it locked up. It is one of the many take aways from my time working with the team at Evening Land (by the way their 2007's-2010's should be drinking quite well now) specifically Dominique Lafon. Details, details, details and EXECUTION. Typical trapped CO2 at bottling is about 1100 mg/L these days. I used to de-gas prior to bottling, we don't anymore. I only check them to make sure that they are in the sweet spot and as we only rack once to tank, the wines are generally right where we want them.

We truly believe that the chardonnays from the Willamette Valley have the ability to age. How long? Well, what do you like in the wines you drink? Our first vintage of chardonnay was 2011 (140 cases BTW), recently Erica and I have gone back and tasted some of our early vintages to reflect on the decisions we made and the wine's evolution. We have found some bottle variation which we definitely attribute to cork, but found most of the wines to be pretty fresh and youthful. The '11's & '12's are starting to show notes of evolution where as the '13's & '14's are tight and youthful.

There are plenty of great examples of Willamette Valley chardonnays that have aged well, made by folks who were truly dedicated to the varietal! Our intention is to make wines of balance that should ultimately age well. We are, much like the many producers we admire in this valley, absolutely obsessed and committed to the varietal. Ultimately the perfect drinking window for a wine is totally subjective. Erica and I tend to fall toward the earlier side int the 5-8 years from vintage.
Thanks for your input. Loved your interview on the Oregon wine history archive podcast btw :)
CT: InZinity

2020 contenders for WOTY:
2017 Goodfellow Family Cellars Durant Vineyard Chardonnay
2015 Laherte Frères Champagne Blanc des Blancs Extra Brut Les Grands Crayeres
2001 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese
2015 Josef Walter Hundsruck Spätburgunder "J"

User avatar
M.Kaplan
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5091
Joined: April 18th, 2009, 9:10 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#47 Post by M.Kaplan » May 3rd, 2020, 5:58 pm

I don't know if it is still the case, but Eyrie made very long aging Chardonnays during David Lett's lifetime. My friend Fred Arterberry (RIP) organized some of our friends to help (I mostly 'helped' by eating grapes and staying out of the way) with harvest in the mid-1970s. Those Eyre Chardonnays easily aged 25+ years.
---Mark

Lee Short
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1357
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 7:33 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#48 Post by Lee Short » May 3rd, 2020, 6:43 pm

Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 2:24 pm
Kris Patten wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:59 pm
Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:35 pm


Anyone planting pinot meunier in OR? There's already pinot noir and chardonnay :D
Gamay will probably be #2 red grape, Chardonnay will take over as #1 and exceed Pinot Gris at some point in next decade.
I'd love to see pinot blanc/bianco develop more in OR as well. It's a similar latitude as Trentino-Alto Adige, would be great to have wines of comparable quality produced domestically.
Did you try the Championship Bottle "Hard Promises" (in the quarantine offer). It's right in that style.

Ken Pahlow
Posts: 7
Joined: October 29th, 2016, 10:53 am

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#49 Post by Ken Pahlow » May 3rd, 2020, 9:40 pm

Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 3:13 pm
Scott Tallman wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 3:05 pm
Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 2:24 pm


I'd love to see pinot blanc/bianco develop more in OR as well. It's a similar latitude as Trentino-Alto Adige, would be great to have wines of comparable quality produced domestically.
I concur on PB, but I’m not counting on it. With Chardonnay on a fast ascent and PB being a niche grape, I don’t expect it to be widely made.

But there are already some excellent versions being made and that is enough for me - Kelley Fox Freedom Hill and Barbie, Cameron Giovani, and Paetra. Although I would buy from Walter Scott and Goodfellow if they produced it again (hint hint).

I don’t expect it to be widely made, it’s relatively obscure in other countries anyway. Thanks for the tips.
Chardonnay is already the white grape of the Willamette Valley. Yes, Pinot Gris has made several wineries a truck load of money over the years, but it is clearly a cash flow wine given little respect in the vineyard and less in the cellar. Whereas the best Chardonnay in the Willamette Valley are given the royal treatment (from the producers who respect it! as it too is quickly being viewed and used as a money maker) in the vineyard and the cellar. Willamette Valley Pinot Gris will never achieve the level it does in Alsace or North Eastern Italy. A tiny group of chardonnay from the Willamette Valley WILL rise up to the greats of Burgundy.

Pinot Blanc, BTW, kills when it is farmed well and given attention in the cellar (there's a trend developing here...) and there are a couple of killer sites out there. Crannell in the EAH is one of the very best.

Quick question: Last time you saw a $40 Willamette Valley Pinot Blanc? vs. Last time you saw a $40 Willamette Valley Chardonnay? 'nuf said.
Partner & Winemaker
Walter Scott Wines
ITB

Ken Pahlow
Posts: 7
Joined: October 29th, 2016, 10:53 am

Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#50 Post by Ken Pahlow » May 3rd, 2020, 9:45 pm

Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 2:26 pm
Jim Anderson wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:15 pm
One of the Chardonnay principles I pilfered from Marcus (and others) is the idea that you have to figure out the correct level of grape under-ripeness. It’s different, really, than Pinot. If you’re picking ripe Chardonnay grapes than you are actually picking overripe Chardonnay grapes. It’s something I’m still struggling with 5 vintages into it.
I've heard this before in interviews with winemakers in CA talking about certain red grape varietals. Why is this?
Easily achieved through selection massale plantings. Diversity of plant material in a single block or having contiguous blocks with multiple clones that are picked at the same time! More ripe, less ripe, perfectly ripe=balance.
Partner & Winemaker
Walter Scott Wines
ITB

Post Reply

Return to “Wine Talk”