Tuesday, December 2, 2014

WineStudio: Willamette Valley Chardonnays (Week IV)

The Importance of Being a Willamette Valley Chardonnay
#WineStudio Tuesdays 6:00pm – 7:00pm PDT

When you think of the Willamette Valley (it's Willamette, dammit!), you probably think of world-class Pinot Noir, and you wouldn't be wrong. With 11,053 acres planted, fabulous Pinots come out every vintage, year after year. But the Valley has a lighter side as well, with over 3,400 acres of white grape varietals planted, 684 of which are Chardonnay. Yes, Chardonnay. The November WineStudio gets into the Chardonnay renaissance in Oregon, specifically the Willamette Valley, citing terroir, sustainability, biodynamics, philosophy, adventure and the future of Oregon Chardonnay.

Westrey 2012 Willamette Valley Chardonnay

Amy and David of the Westrey Wine Company strive to grow their grapes and make their wines sustainably; the vineyard is LIVE certified, a credential that is earned by taking into account not only organic approaches to farming but also by considering the inputs and outputs of the farm as a whole. They make Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay with fruit sources from long-time friends in the Willamette Valley and their own Oracle Vineyard in the Dundee Hills. Vineyard-designated bottlings are designed to showcase the connection between the individual farms where the grapes are grown and the final personality of the wine. Westrey wines are styled to showcase fruit in a context of balanced texture, acidity and alcohol, and grapes are harvested at the peak of balance between acidity and ripe flavors.

Tasting Notes

2012 Willamette Valley Reserve Chardonnay
Grapes from non-irrigated 35-year-old Draper vines in their Oracle Vineyard; six month extended fermentation, including complete malolactic fermentation; aged in one new barrel and two one-year-old French oak barrels; bottled without filtration after 12 months; beautiful golden straw color; orchard fruit, subtle floral and spice aromas; stone fruit, pear, subtle citrus, vanilla, yeast, and stone flavors; rich mounthfeel wrapped around an acid spine; surprisingly short finish; 12.9% ABV; cork closure; 142 cases and 4 cases of magnums produced; SRP $32. This wine really opened up as it warmed up, constantly evolving and displaying new attributes. Stood up to spicy chicken drumsticks, which wasn't an obvious pairing but still worked out okay.
PROTOCOL #WineStudio presents an online twitter-based educational program where we engage our brains and palates! It’s part instruction and tasting, with discussions on producers, varieties, tourism, terroir, regional culture, food matching and what all this means to us as imbibers.

December's #WineStudio, Session XIX – Bubbles, starts tonight December 2, and runs Tuesdays at 9:00 PM ET until December 16. Join in the fun!

Wine was provided for tasting purposes - all opinions are my own.

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