2007 INOX: Seattle PI Wine Pick of the Week

September 4, 2008

Tuesday’s PI had a very nice high-level overview of the state of Chardonnay in Oregon. It singles out our 2007 INOX as a “a fine example of pure Dijon clone chardonnay”.

… the wine is packed with flavors of fresh stone and citrus fruits, which are nicely balanced with a vibrant acidity and just a hint of minerals.

We couldn’t agree more. Check out the article.

Matt Kramer on Cerise™

July 21, 2008

Matt Kramer, Portland wine critic, has said a lot of nice things about our wines over the years. Last year, he called out our 2005 Reserve Dry Riesling as one of Oregon’s best. This time it’s the Cerise™, our blend of 80% Gamay Noir and 20% Pinot Noir. In Sunday’s Oregonian, Matt writes:

It delivers considerable complexity, with the flavor notes of blackberry, blueberry and even huckleberry more commonly ascribed to pinot noir. More important yet, the 2006 Cerise has layers of flavor. (Some wines just whack your palate with what might be called a monolithic taste.) Here, the complexity emerges layer by layer, which keeps you coming back for more. It’s the signature of truly fine wine, never mind from where or what.

Thanks to Matt for the very nice review. And to fans of the Cerise™: get it while you can. What little bit that is left is going to go fast.

Progress: The New Chehalem Downtown Tasting Room

June 29, 2008

Since February we have been in the process of renovating a space for a tasting room in downtown Newberg. Well, as of July 5th, we will be open. The address is 106 S Center Street. It is on the corner of highway 99W (northbound) and Center Street. To give you an idea of what this renovoation entailed, here are some shots of our progress:


Center Street Before


Center Street After

We hope you will be able to come visit us once we are open next week. See you there!

- Daniel

Best Barrel!

May 18, 2008

As usual, Best Barrel was an excellent event. The 2007s were all showing beautifully. They are all lovely, elegant wines; classic cool-climate Pinot Noir. And I think the Stoller Vineyard Chardonnay is gorgeous. I expect on Wine Barrelrelease (almost a year away), the 2007 Ian’s Reserve Chardonnay will be the most impressive we have done–no mean feat considering the consistent quality of that wine over the years.

While we wait for those delicate 2007s to be ready to drink, we will have plenty of approachable fruit-rich 2006s to keep us occupied. 2006 and 2007 were both very good vintages for our Pinot Noir, but they are certainly an example of how dramatic the impact of vintage is on the style of Oregon wines.

- Daniel

Wine Blogging Wednesday #45: Chehalem Tackles Some Old World Riesling

May 6, 2008

As promised, the Chehalem folks contributed some notes to the tasting. Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess when it comes to wine tasting (although not wine making), so rather than taste a bottle or two, we tasted a small army of them from Germany, Austria and the Alsace. With a number of people leaving notes, that makes for a lot of tasting notes. You can tell the sales folks (like me) from the technical folks (everybody else), because they wrote very specific descriptors and I wrote things like, “yum”…

Without futher ado, here are the notes…

2005 Domaine Marcel Deiss Riesling
Nose: vanilla, apricot, pear.
Mouth: Full mouthfeel, creamy, peaches citrus, creamcicle, pear fruit.

Tangerine, creamy vanilla, honey, melon, slightest hint of petrol on the nose, bright acidity lingers with ripe tropical fruits.

Licorice, citrus rind, slate.

Stone fruit, spicy quality on the nose. On the palate: lychee, almost gewurtz-like, tropical, bright acidity, slight bitterness (in a good way).

Clean, mineral, sharp/pungent–still some residual SO2; hard, brassy flavors; peach-yellow; firm on palate; nice texture and length. Weight is nice. Impressions of sharp edge in your mouth, yellow-orange, clean, rich; slight Grand Marnier hit–orange liquer; tight & structured, maybe too much so–definitely Alsace version of Riesling.

Nose is sweet, honey, perhaps some botrytis? Tastes off-dry and minerally. Finishes with lemonade and mandarin orange. Definite yum!

2000 Alzinger Riesling Smaragd Loibner Steinertal

Spice, apricot, wet stone, honey, vanilla; broad, oily, mineral, short, dry, nice balanced acid.

Honey, tangerines, minerals, citrus zest finish.

Spice, wet earth, wet rocks, somewhat briney nose. Briney, mineral and cement palate.

Petal, spice — good fruit / balance.

2006 Schmitges Grauschiefer Riesing Trocken
Sulfur / Reduced nose – sweet tarts, bitter weird sweetness

Sulfur, lemon, minerality, mousy

Nose unappealing, bitter

Star fruit, citrus zest, slightly alcoholic / acetone, wet river rock. Decent palate weight, lacks focus / intensity.

Spritz and SO2. Slightly reductive brassy nose (plastic cork), some phenolic bitterness; good yellow fruit character, nice weight, ripe peach richeness and flavor, nice finish. Nice bigger wine from Mosel not refined, but hearty; RS in balance for a “Riesling dry” but definitely above threshold.

Almost grassy, like a NZ Sauv Blanc. Dry, decent minerality, grapefruit. A bit of spice and honey. Simple but nice at first, but fell apart very quickly after opening.

2004 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Spätlese
Ripe citrus, apricots – bright sweetness, key lime pie, mouth-watering acids, slight hint of petrol

Sweet, coconut, sweeter than I like, yet nice.

Coconut, lychee, apple, apricot. Creamy mouth, key lime, coconut cream pie. Could use a touch more acid to balance sugar. Meyer lemon.

Pale yellow. Mineral, ripe pear and white pach. Citrusy key lime notes. Nice acid and palate weight with decent length. Nice wine.

Petrol and spearmint(?) smell; Taste is off dry with nice acid, mineral–a tingle on the tongue, lemon rind. Finishes with honey and flours. Clean, with little or no botrytis qualities. Very tasty.

Bright, fresh fruit with SO2 barely receding; rich; moderate RS; ripe stonefruit; lovely acid and balance; perfect Spätlese example.

We had a couple other wines as well but one was, sadly, a bad bottle and we just didn’t get many notes on the other so I will leave those two alone. We had fun participating this month and will try and do it again when time allows. If you are wondering who this folks are, check out our people page.

Thanks to Tim at Winecast for hosting this month.

Happy WBW 45 everybody!

Bud Break!

May 5, 2008
Bud breaking on Corral Creek Vine

Better late than never, bud break hit at our Corral Creek Vineyard about two weeks ago and still isn’t quite there on all the Riesling. Finally, the sun is out and the temperatures are nudging the low 70s. I thought this winter would never end. Now we need a nice long, warm summer and cool, dry fall to create the elegant wines the Willamette Valley has become known for!

- Daniel

Chehalem’s 2006 Cerise Vanquishes Cru Beaujolais in Somewhat Biased Tasting

May 1, 2008

Vanquish might be too strong a word, but I had to try and catch your attention.

A little background: a group of us from the industry (and a couple of wine-interested spouses) get together every month or two at the winery to taste wines from around the world. Generally we choose a region, sometimes a variety and everyone brings a bottle for the blind tasting.

This month, the theme was Cru Beaujolais. It wasn’t the most representative tChehalem 2006 Ceriseasting–only four Beaujolais villages were represented–nor was the blinding perfect–some of us knew there was a ringer in there, but we are proud of our little wine anyway. In the blind tasting, the 2006 Chehalem Cerise, a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir that we produce in small quantities–our version of a passetoutgrains–was the overall favorite, followed by the 2003 Dubœuf Fleurie.

There could certainly have been some house-palates in the room, as there were three Chehalem folks and one Chehalem spouse, but there was also representation from a couple of other wineries, too. Regional palate, perhaps? Or maybe it’s just tasty.

Regardless of why it won our little tasting, there is no doubt that it is showing well right now: pepper and violet with full red fruit on the palate and a touch of oak and more pepper on the finish. It certainly has been fun to watch this wine as it comes into its own. Even a couple of months ago it was tart and closed. Now it’s lovely. We didn’t produce Cerise last year and people have been asking for it. I bet it goes in a hurry.


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