Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chehalem Mountains AVA - Oregon

Chehalem Mountains Winegrowers

Less than 20 miles from downtown Portland, the Chehalem Mountains AVA (established in 2006) lies southwest of Portland in the northern Willamette Valley. It lies completely within the more general Willamette Valley AVA. It is approximately 20 miles by 5 miles, and elevations range from 200 to well over 1000 feet above sea level, with soil types including basaltic, ocean sedimentary and loess. While the AVA boasts almost 70,000 acres, only about 1,600 acres are planted to grapes. The 1,600 acres represent about 150 or so vineyards. The AVA is comprised of 31 wineries, including Adelsheim Vineyard, A Blooming Hill Vineyard and Winery, Hawks View Cellars, Ponzi Vineyards, and more.  Best known for Pinot Noir, this are is also ideal for other cool climate wine grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gamay Noir and Gewurztraminer. 

A Blooming Hill Vineyard and Winery

We reached out to the Chehalem Mountains wineries and were very pleased to get a response from A Blooming Hill Vineyard and Winery.

Jim and Holly Witte are the owners of A Blooming Hill Vineyard and Winery:
What should people think of when they hear about your AVA? Heights and hills overlooking the beautiful Willamette Valley – slopes filled with wine grapes. The Chehalem Mountains are modern day hills – not really high-peak mountains – but rolling, fertile, gentle slopes and benches overlooking river valleys.

How is your winery alike or different from others in the AVA? Our winery is designed to process only our estate grown grapes in small batches from small to medium-size blocks. This artisanal approach makes it easy to supervise and to be hands-on in every facet of the growing, pruning, harvesting, and winemaking processes.

What should people expect when visiting your winery? Our guests expect and receive special attention and very special wines. They should expect to feel like guests in our home, relaxed and comforted. It’s a nice break from the commercial atmosphere of many wineries.

Tasting room onsite? Hours or by appointment only? Our Tasting Room is open from noon – 5 PM Friday – Sunday. Other times, if we are here, we open the door.

Other comments: We have two fabulous Wine Dogs – Gemini and Trouble – who greet guests at their cars and bring them down to the Tasting Room (really, people always remark how the dogs look back to make sure they are following). They are featured in the Wine Dogs USA Third edition.
The vineyard, at an elevation of 480 feet and made up of volcanic soil, is on a southeast-facing slope. The sun warmed grapes are then cooled by the late afternoon and evening ocean breezes flowing down the Columbia River. The vines are pruned by hand, followed by further hand-selection of grape clusters for the wines. Red grapes undergo a cold soak followed by fermentation and ageing in 30% new oak barrels, then racked and topped as needed. The white grapes are whole-cluster pressed and the juice pumped into stainless tanks for fermentation. The wine is left on the lees as needed, then racked, fined, filtered and cold stabilized prior to bottling.

Environmental AND customer-friendly:
"Bring us this bottle empty for a 10% discount on your next bottle!"

Tasting Notes:
A Blooming Hill VIneyard Pinot Noir

2011 Pinot Noir

Ruby red color, paler toward the edges; dusty rhubarb, plum, oregano, and tea aromas; cedar, toast, earth, and vanilla flavors; medium yet silky mouthfeel into a slightly tannic finish; nicely balanced, good to drink now, but will improve with some aging; cork closure; 12.7% ABV; 360 cases; SRP $20. The 2011 Pinot Noir won a Double Gold at the Oregon Wine Awards.

A Blooming Hill Vineyard Pinot Gris

2012 Pinot Gris

Beautiful golden straw in color; floral, pear, and subtle smoke aromas; creamy butter and vanilla flavors to start, almond midpalate, then a tart lemon finish; full mouthfeel and bright acidity; cork closure; 14.2% ABV; SRP $15. The 2012 Pinot Gris won Silver at the inaugural Great Northwest Wine Competition.
Blooming Hill Short from gracestudio on Vimeo.

Connect with the owners via the A Blooming Hill Vineyard website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Disclaimer: These were wines were sent for review purposes.

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