Aging Oregon chardonnay

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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#51 Post by Mel Knox » May 3rd, 2020, 11:04 pm

I think a vineyard that gives you ripe flavors at lower sugars is key. That's the beauty of Oregon and certain parts of California.
Dave Lett, who turned me on to a Draper clone vineyard at Tualatin, used to say he could either look for cool part of a warm place in California or a warmer spot in a cool place like Oregon, and one thing Dave was always: cool.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#52 Post by Megan Joy » May 3rd, 2020, 11:42 pm

Ken Pahlow wrote:
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.
Humans have this desire to need something to look and taste perfect at every point, and I think that sometimes we forget that wine is fermented fruit, not the fruit itself. Too often we want golf-course vineyards, and picture perfect clusters, and the optimal lab numbers, and we forget that what is essential is that we are encouraging yeast, and a fermentation that produces something that is beautiful. The fruit ripeness needs to feed this, not feed our humanistic craving for sugar and ripe flavors. Diverse plantings can be maddening if you are looking for some sort of "ideal" but if you know your sight, and walk through it, and see where the vines that are always ahead are, and know that your vines that are always behind are also at a place that, together, makes something beautiful.... it is easier to say yes, this is the right point. Wine is a translation of fruit through fermentation. The quality and nuance and complexity is important for the beginning, but you are looking for raw materials, not the end result.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#53 Post by G. Bienstock » May 4th, 2020, 6:37 am

Ken Pahlow wrote:
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


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.


Ken, loved your Crannel PB.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#54 Post by Richard T r i m p i » May 4th, 2020, 9:18 am

Ken Pahlow wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 9:40 pm
A tiny group of chardonnay from the Willamette Valley WILL rise up to the greats of Burgundy.
Love the optimism! Aim high.

My experience with aging Cameron Chards has been very positive...15+ years. Competitive with plenty of Burgs that are 2x+ of the price. I've got less experience aging yours (and Marcus's) but the opening bids have mostly been excellent...again, toe-to-toe with plenty of Burgs.

Savvy buyers are catching on.

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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#55 Post by S teve R edenbaugh » May 4th, 2020, 9:58 am

Brian...big thanks for initiating this thread. I had a hunch this was going to be one to watch. And thanks to all the producers who have made this "must reading".

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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#56 Post by Mel Knox » May 4th, 2020, 11:19 am

The idea that grape for wine ripeness is different from grapes for table consumption is a good one. But all too often I taste wines where the winemaker had the idea 'I ll pick at 21 brix and make a Chablis style wine' and the wine tastes like acidic sauvignon blanc.

Clendenen and I found a vineyard in the Anderson Valley where the grapes ripened at 22/23 brix. Made wonderful wine and Raj bought most of it. Then the vineyard got old and the owners, who I theorized had another crop which they mostly smoked, never replanted.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#57 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » May 4th, 2020, 11:25 am

S teve R edenbaugh wrote:
May 4th, 2020, 9:58 am
Brian...big thanks for initiating this thread. I had a hunch this was going to be one to watch. And thanks to all the producers who have made this "must reading".
Absolutely! Loving the enthusiasm from both the producers and enthusiasts on this thread. [cheers.gif]
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#58 Post by Craig Williams » May 4th, 2020, 11:41 am

Mel:

That's true. Reading this thread, I was reminded of the attributes that, for me, define white wine... and agree sugar content can be a slippery slope.

Ken, thanks for posting!
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#59 Post by Sean_S » May 4th, 2020, 1:45 pm

Craig Williams wrote:
May 4th, 2020, 11:41 am
Mel:

That's true. Reading this thread, I was reminded of the attributes that, for me, define white wine... and agree sugar content can be a slippery slope.

Ken, thanks for posting!
Craig and Ken, Thank you very much for the feedback on this thread. The WS X-novo has certainly become a benchmark for me. Please keep up the great work. I need to get around popping an X-Novo Pinot Noir and see if it can live up to my lofty expectations.

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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#60 Post by Ken Pahlow » May 4th, 2020, 3:35 pm

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
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.

We all work with different sites, vine ages and clones and have our own unique approach to the wines that we make. On the point of yield, our experience has been dramatically different than that of Marcus. 2012, as Marcus mentioned, was a low yielding vintage and many producers picked too late. This was followed by 2013 with modest but not heavy yields, 2014 gave a lighter crop, 2015 was larger, 2016 gave us a smaller crop again and then came 2017. 2017 was a slightly more classic Willamette Valley vintage with normal bud break, a warm, dry summer and cooling temps in September. Given the later nature of harvest in the Willamette Valley and Burgundy being earlier than us by over two weeks in 2017, I had the great opportunity to go work harvest for 2 weeks alongside Dominique Lafon. A hug thanks to my amazing wife and daughter for holding down the fort while I went on a learning mission. During my time in Burgundy with Dominique I had the opportunity to do everything from picking, processing the fruit, running press cycles and barreling down wines. I traveled between Meursault, Blagny and the Macon to the three Lafon Domaines as well as spent a day with the lovely family at Lafarge. My two biggest observations that vintage in France? Timing of picking and yields.

Who were the first Domaine's to pick in Meursault that year? Arnaud Ente, Lalou Bize-Leroy, Roulot, Coche Dury and Comtes des Lafon.

The next spring in 2018 we reflected on our previous vintages here in the Willamette Valley and the experience I had in Burgundy. Our favorite chardonnay vintages here have always been the lower cropping ones, and with what I had experienced in Meursault, we decided to lower our yields in our Chardonnay vineyards. Working with our growers we decided to shoot thin aggressively. Everyone shoot thins or de-buds, but usually it's for removing excess buds from one growing point. We set about reducing our crop through this process by 20-30% by removing additional shoots. Instead of, for example, 18-20 shoots per vine, we reduced that down to 14-16 shoots per vine in an 1100 vine per acre block. At veraison, when we typically thin the crop, there was very little thinning to do. At picking, our sites achieved what we had hoped for, appropriate sugars (potential alcohols 12.8%-13.2%), low PH's, low malics, high TA's and the intensity of flavor that we were striving for. The goal with extra shoot thinning wasn't increased 'ripeness,' but increased intensity and concentration. As there is usually some extra fruit around the valley as we approach harvest, we grabbed a little from two Eola-Amity Hills sites to augment our increasing chardonnay production. These sites were 'classically' farmed, had hung a larger crop and then thinned at veraison to allow the vine a chance to ripen. Here we saw the vine struggling to build the sugars (12.1%-12.3% potential alcohol), higher PH's, higher malics and lower TA's.

2019 was a much cooler vintage than 2018. We set out with the same goals with each of our vineyards. Shoot thin aggressively and early to set a balanced crop that the vine will ripen all the way to harvest. We experienced nearly identical results compared to 2018 in all the sites using this protocol. We did have one site that did not follow it, hung lots of fruit and thinned at veraison. The results reaffirmed what we were seeing; higher PH, higher malics, lower TA's and simple flavor profile.

Through these experiences, we feel that the key to making great chardonnay is lower yields. 2018 set the stage for how we will work with our growers to farm the Chardonnay vineyards we are so fortunate to work with. We will fine tune the yields in the beginning of the growing season to allow the vine to focus on fruit it is ripening and we will harvest, rather than leaving more with the intention of dropping it later.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#61 Post by PaulMills » May 4th, 2020, 5:16 pm

I think OR Chardonnay can age very well. We opened a bottle of 2013 Goodfellow Richards cuvée in March and it was excellent. I did not take notes, but we shared it with Matt Stolz and his wife. He takes great notes so here are his from CT:

This wine still feels incredibly youthful. Its got bright energy and freshness, but with enough stuffing to balance really nicely. The last CT note on this one is from 2 years ago, and it looks like its incorporated really well since then, become more generous, yet retained its vibrancy well.

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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#62 Post by jrozes » May 5th, 2020, 7:32 am

The knowledge being shared in this thread is great! I don't have any amazing insights to offer, just a few data points over the last year (all bottles purchased on release):
  • 2010 Anderson Family - beautiful, full of energy, silky and weightless
  • 2010 Belle Pente BP Vyd - a big, bruised golden apple; disappointing compared to my last bottle in 2015
  • 2010 Crowley Four Winds - needed a lot of air; incredible detail and depth; richness without weight
  • 2011 Crowley Four Winds - cork soaked almost to the top; battery acid at first; eventually rounded out into something enjoyable, but never entirely convincing
  • 2012 Cameron Clos Electrique - stunningly complex and gorgeous; benchmark chardonnay
My experience with 2011 chards has never been so positive as with the pinots, but most of the 2012s have been mind-bogglingly good. Of this limited sample though, I think the Cameron is the only one that has clearly improved. The 2010 Anderson Family and Crowley were excellent, but no better than at any point in the past. The BP and 2011 Crowley were better around age five than they are now. So perhaps unsurprisingly, my response to the question is, "it depends."
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#63 Post by John Peacock » May 5th, 2020, 9:47 am

Ken Pahlow wrote:
May 4th, 2020, 3:35 pm
We all work with different sites, vine ages and clones and have our own unique approach to the wines that we make. On the point of yield, our experience has been dramatically different than that of Marcus. 2012, as Marcus mentioned, was a low yielding vintage and many producers picked too late. This was followed by 2013 with modest but not heavy yields, 2014 gave a lighter crop, 2015 was larger, 2016 gave us a smaller crop again and then came 2017. 2017 was a slightly more classic Willamette Valley vintage with normal bud break, a warm, dry summer and cooling temps in September. Given the later nature of harvest in the Willamette Valley and Burgundy being earlier than us by over two weeks in 2017, I had the great opportunity to go work harvest for 2 weeks alongside Dominique Lafon. A hug thanks to my amazing wife and daughter for holding down the fort while I went on a learning mission. During my time in Burgundy with Dominique I had the opportunity to do everything from picking, processing the fruit, running press cycles and barreling down wines. I traveled between Meursault, Blagny and the Macon to the three Lafon Domaines as well as spent a day with the lovely family at Lafarge. My two biggest observations that vintage in France? Timing of picking and yields.

Who were the first Domaine's to pick in Meursault that year? Arnaud Ente, Lalou Bize-Leroy, Roulot, Coche Dury and Comtes des Lafon.

The next spring in 2018 we reflected on our previous vintages here in the Willamette Valley and the experience I had in Burgundy. Our favorite chardonnay vintages here have always been the lower cropping ones, and with what I had experienced in Meursault, we decided to lower our yields in our Chardonnay vineyards. Working with our growers we decided to shoot thin aggressively. Everyone shoot thins or de-buds, but usually it's for removing excess buds from one growing point. We set about reducing our crop through this process by 20-30% by removing additional shoots. Instead of, for example, 18-20 shoots per vine, we reduced that down to 14-16 shoots per vine in an 1100 vine per acre block. At veraison, when we typically thin the crop, there was very little thinning to do. At picking, our sites achieved what we had hoped for, appropriate sugars (potential alcohols 12.8%-13.2%), low PH's, low malics, high TA's and the intensity of flavor that we were striving for. The goal with extra shoot thinning wasn't increased 'ripeness,' but increased intensity and concentration. As there is usually some extra fruit around the valley as we approach harvest, we grabbed a little from two Eola-Amity Hills sites to augment our increasing chardonnay production. These sites were 'classically' farmed, had hung a larger crop and then thinned at veraison to allow the vine a chance to ripen. Here we saw the vine struggling to build the sugars (12.1%-12.3% potential alcohol), higher PH's, higher malics and lower TA's.

2019 was a much cooler vintage than 2018. We set out with the same goals with each of our vineyards. Shoot thin aggressively and early to set a balanced crop that the vine will ripen all the way to harvest. We experienced nearly identical results compared to 2018 in all the sites using this protocol. We did have one site that did not follow it, hung lots of fruit and thinned at veraison. The results reaffirmed what we were seeing; higher PH, higher malics, lower TA's and simple flavor profile.

Through these experiences, we feel that the key to making great chardonnay is lower yields. 2018 set the stage for how we will work with our growers to farm the Chardonnay vineyards we are so fortunate to work with. We will fine tune the yields in the beginning of the growing season to allow the vine to focus on fruit it is ripening and we will harvest, rather than leaving more with the intention of dropping it later.

Ken, this is fascinating, thank you for taking the time to type all this out and share it.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#64 Post by Ron Slye » May 5th, 2020, 1:18 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.
I just had th K-F Barbie for the first time -- highly recommend.

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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#65 Post by mmeyers » May 5th, 2020, 3:43 pm

This is really interesting to read through. Appreciate all who've taken time to leave detailed thoughts.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#66 Post by S teve R edenbaugh » May 5th, 2020, 4:17 pm

Ron Slye...good to hear on Kellie Fox Pinot Blanc...two of each sitting on my Dining Room table...She wowed my wife and I at a Wine Dinner just before the Stay In Place...I love buying wine from people with that type of passion and enthusiasm.

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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#67 Post by Ron Slye » May 5th, 2020, 6:38 pm

Oh good Steve! I just opened the regular Pinot Blanc -- I think slightly less good than the Barbie, though still really excellent. I am drinking it on day two, and it is singing now!

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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#68 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » May 5th, 2020, 11:16 pm

Mel Knox wrote:
May 4th, 2020, 11:19 am
The idea that grape for wine ripeness is different from grapes for table consumption is a good one. But all too often I taste wines where the winemaker had the idea 'I ll pick at 21 brix and make a Chablis style wine' and the wine tastes like acidic sauvignon blanc.

Clendenen and I found a vineyard in the Anderson Valley where the grapes ripened at 22/23 brix. Made wonderful wine and Raj bought most of it. Then the vineyard got old and the owners, who I theorized had another crop which they mostly smoked, never replanted.
In a round about way, you are confirming Megan’s point. The 22-23 Brix fruit was probably from a vineyard with less immaculate management.

A few years ago we started farming for plant competition, less leaf surface, more struggle in the vines. The more we have been able to create nitrogen competition and expose the fruit, the more we have been able to pick fruit earlier, with low Brix, ripe flavors, AND better acid maturity(higher tartaric levels and lower malic levels=better flavor and lower pH). This is both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

I completely agree with you that in a region with considerable heat, and considerable dedication to farming for beautiful(and prolific) vines, that sugars will jump before flavors do. But it’s equally true that in Champagne physiologically ripe fruit is harvested at 18-19 Brix. So it’s a doable thing.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#69 Post by Mel Knox » May 6th, 2020, 9:32 am

Marcus,
Some day I will be able to return to Oregon and drink chardonnay with all of you who work so hard to make great wine.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#70 Post by Keith A k e r s » May 6th, 2020, 11:16 am

Kris Patten wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:59 pm
Chardonnay will take over as #1 and exceed Pinot Gris at some point in next decade.

do you think that price-wise (chard will fetch more for sure, but one can make a whole lot of PG that can turn a quick $ and bring in cash flow) or from a pure tonnage POV?

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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#71 Post by Kris Patten » May 6th, 2020, 11:48 am

Keith A k e r s wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 11:16 am
Kris Patten wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:59 pm
Chardonnay will take over as #1 and exceed Pinot Gris at some point in next decade.

do you think that price-wise (chard will fetch more for sure, but one can make a whole lot of PG that can turn a quick $ and bring in cash flow) or from a pure tonnage POV?
Planted acres. Pinot Gris can be cropped higher, so tonnage would be an educated guess.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#72 Post by John Osburn » May 6th, 2020, 2:53 pm

Wait, are you people saying that there’s no cookie-cutter one size fits all equation given all of the variables involved in this amazing endeavor? [wow.gif]

Thanks for all the great input here. And the attention and care given this wonderful grape by the winemakers (and growers and others ITB), who IMHO make the top level of Chardonnays in Oregon.

FWIW, one of Ken’s wines at the recent Chardonnay Symposium was the best Oregon Chardonnay I can recall tasting. And I’ve tasted many, over many years.

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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#73 Post by Jim Anderson » May 6th, 2020, 3:02 pm

Kris Patten wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 11:48 am
Keith A k e r s wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 11:16 am
Kris Patten wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 1:59 pm
Chardonnay will take over as #1 and exceed Pinot Gris at some point in next decade.

do you think that price-wise (chard will fetch more for sure, but one can make a whole lot of PG that can turn a quick $ and bring in cash flow) or from a pure tonnage POV?
Planted acres. Pinot Gris can be cropped higher, so tonnage would be an educated guess.
Also, quality is not an issue because no one cares what PG tastes like because none of it is any good. People used to drink it in airport bars to stave off boredom and make their sorry state somewhat slightly better with cheap alcohol disguised with innocuous and forgettable flavors.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#74 Post by John Morris » May 6th, 2020, 4:02 pm

Jim Anderson wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 3:02 pm
Also, quality is not an issue because no one cares what PG tastes like because none of it is any good. People used to drink it in airport bars to stave off boredom and make their sorry state somewhat slightly better with cheap alcohol disguised with innocuous and forgettable flavors.
Now tell us what you really think, Jim.

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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#75 Post by Jim Anderson » May 6th, 2020, 5:22 pm

John Morris wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 4:02 pm
Jim Anderson wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 3:02 pm
Also, quality is not an issue because no one cares what PG tastes like because none of it is any good. People used to drink it in airport bars to stave off boredom and make their sorry state somewhat slightly better with cheap alcohol disguised with innocuous and forgettable flavors.
Now tell us what you really think, Jim.

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That was like 25% effort on the topic.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#76 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » May 6th, 2020, 6:09 pm

If PG is "not good" or not interesting, how is it still such a dominant grape in OR nearly 50 years after it was first planted in the region? There must be a demand for it still somewhere.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#77 Post by Robert Ferguson » May 6th, 2020, 6:15 pm

“Good” and “Popular” are different things.

Although I do think there are a few good ones.

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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#78 Post by Jim Anderson » May 6th, 2020, 7:10 pm

Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 6:09 pm
If PG is "not good" or not interesting, how is it still such a dominant grape in OR nearly 50 years after it was first planted in the region? There must be a demand for it still somewhere.
I’m pretty sure there are more things that are shitty that are popular than there are good things that are acknowledged. Pretty much the history of the human species. There’s a LOT to be said for being utterly plain and boring. It brings in tons of cash.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#79 Post by Marshall Manning » May 6th, 2020, 7:27 pm

Jim Anderson wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 7:10 pm
I’m pretty sure there are more things that are shitty that are popular than there are good things that are acknowledged. Pretty much the history of the human species. There’s a LOT to be said for being utterly plain and boring. It brings in tons of cash.
Totally agree, Jim. I use this argument any time someone uses the populist argument that "Lots of people like it...it has to be good!" McDonald's is my favorite example.

While I haven't had many OR Pinot Gris that I'd consider outstanding, the old vine Eyrie that I've had has been very nice, as have some of Brian's efforts at Belle Pente. But overall there's a lot of insipid, boring wine being made from PG here.
Last edited by Marshall Manning on May 7th, 2020, 8:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#80 Post by S teve R edenbaugh » May 6th, 2020, 7:48 pm

There's a lot of insipid, boring Pinot Gris from other "highly regarded" wine regions as well...Remember well a day years ago when me and my fellow wine staff were paid to taste between 50 and 60 Italian Pinot Grigios and supply lucid written notes. Doesn't sound that tough, but it was brutal.

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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#81 Post by J e s s e C » May 6th, 2020, 8:50 pm

The earliest I've had was a 1987 Eyrie Reserve Chard picked up at the winery and drunk the same night in 2017. It held up great - nutty, butterscotch, a bit of lemon, and if i recall, a bit of pineapple. Very eye opening in its own right, though that night it was overshadowed by the 85 Eyrie Reserve Pinot we had with it. Both came from the library wines that were tested and reconditioned, so who knows how many they poured down the drain to get to those bottles. But it certainly showed the aging potential or Oregon chard.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#82 Post by A G Aguirre » May 6th, 2020, 10:38 pm

Jim Anderson wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 3:02 pm
Kris Patten wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 11:48 am
Keith A k e r s wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 11:16 am



do you think that price-wise (chard will fetch more for sure, but one can make a whole lot of PG that can turn a quick $ and bring in cash flow) or from a pure tonnage POV?
Planted acres. Pinot Gris can be cropped higher, so tonnage would be an educated guess.
Also, quality is not an issue because no one cares what PG tastes like because none of it is any good. People used to drink it in airport bars to stave off boredom and make their sorry state somewhat slightly better with cheap alcohol disguised with innocuous and forgettable flavors.
25% effort or not that’s a lazy couple of sentences that could describe basically any varietal... Unless good vines are being ripped up to plant PG, I don’t see what the problem is other than your aesthetic sensibilities. Every category has its place. Rising tide, etc. One day those PG drinkers move on to drink other, better things. Not to mention there’s actually good PG to be drunk out there, Oregon included.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#83 Post by A G Aguirre » May 6th, 2020, 10:41 pm

To actually add to the discussion here, I haven’t seen Bethel Heights mentioned. Those are excellent Chardonnay that have the legs to go a decade at least (haven’t had anything older).
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#84 Post by Jim Anderson » May 7th, 2020, 9:40 am

A G Aguirre wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 10:38 pm
Jim Anderson wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 3:02 pm
Kris Patten wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 11:48 am


Planted acres. Pinot Gris can be cropped higher, so tonnage would be an educated guess.
Also, quality is not an issue because no one cares what PG tastes like because none of it is any good. People used to drink it in airport bars to stave off boredom and make their sorry state somewhat slightly better with cheap alcohol disguised with innocuous and forgettable flavors.
25% effort or not that’s a lazy couple of sentences that could describe basically any varietal... Unless good vines are being ripped up to plant PG, I don’t see what the problem is other than your aesthetic sensibilities. Every category has its place. Rising tide, etc. One day those PG drinkers move on to drink other, better things. Not to mention there’s actually good PG to be drunk out there, Oregon included.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#85 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » May 7th, 2020, 5:50 pm

Jim Anderson wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 7:10 pm
Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 6:09 pm
If PG is "not good" or not interesting, how is it still such a dominant grape in OR nearly 50 years after it was first planted in the region? There must be a demand for it still somewhere.
I’m pretty sure there are more things that are shitty that are popular than there are good things that are acknowledged. Pretty much the history of the human species. There’s a LOT to be said for being utterly plain and boring. It brings in tons of cash.
While this may be true, it doesn’t mean that all Pinot Gris is crap or that it’s all tank fermented cash flow plonk. Good sites in good hands make good wines.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#86 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » May 7th, 2020, 6:00 pm

Mel Knox wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 9:32 am
Marcus,
Some day I will be able to return to Oregon and drink chardonnay with all of you who work so hard to make great wine.
I hope so! The FF emails were great, and so are your posts here.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#87 Post by lleichtman » May 7th, 2020, 6:13 pm

Just had a 2007 Ayoub chardonnay and it was really nice.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#88 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » May 7th, 2020, 6:19 pm

I can't wait until COVID dies down and travel out of state is possible. First wine destination for me will be Oregon. Went long on Marcus' new chardonnay quarantine offer this week :)
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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
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#89 Post by S teve R edenbaugh » May 7th, 2020, 7:27 pm

Brian....smart move...these guys are moving the bar.

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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#90 Post by Bob Hughes » May 7th, 2020, 7:31 pm

Now wait just a damn minute, Marshal - did I read that right? You don't like McDonald's??

Many a Hughes hangover has been put to rest by a double quarter pounder with cheese, large fries and a coke.

Sometimes I just don't get folks around here?

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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#91 Post by Marshall Manning » May 8th, 2020, 9:56 am

Bob Hughes wrote:
May 7th, 2020, 7:31 pm
Now wait just a damn minute, Marshal - did I read that right? You don't like McDonald's??

Many a Hughes hangover has been put to rest by a double quarter pounder with cheese, large fries and a coke.

Sometimes I just don't get folks around here?
Just not a fast food guy in general, Bob. Unless you count burrito trucks as "fast food", but when I use that term I mean the big, corporate places.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#92 Post by Bob Hughes » May 8th, 2020, 11:18 am

How can you even pretend to comment intelligibly on things like Goodfellow & Walter Scott if your palate hasn't experienced the savory goodness of a double quarter pounder with cheese? I'll have to make a mental note to myself to now discount any further TNs that you might post to the Board in the future [cheers.gif] [wow.gif]

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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#93 Post by MitchTallan » May 8th, 2020, 12:32 pm

Jim Anderson wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 3:02 pm
Kris Patten wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 11:48 am
Keith A k e r s wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 11:16 am



do you think that price-wise (chard will fetch more for sure, but one can make a whole lot of PG that can turn a quick $ and bring in cash flow) or from a pure tonnage POV?
Planted acres. Pinot Gris can be cropped higher, so tonnage would be an educated guess.
Also, quality is not an issue because no one cares what PG tastes like because none of it is any good. People used to drink it in airport bars to stave off boredom and make their sorry state somewhat slightly better with cheap alcohol disguised with innocuous and forgettable flavors.
I just got an email from Kelley Fox Wines offering two Pinot Gris rose's, one from Maresh, one from Weber, both fermented in "uterine shaped amphora". I bet they kick ass for the $26 tab. It has to be the uteri.

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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#94 Post by Marshall Manning » May 8th, 2020, 1:37 pm

Bob Hughes wrote:
May 8th, 2020, 11:18 am
I'll have to make a mental note to myself to now discount any further TNs that you might post to the Board in the future [cheers.gif] [wow.gif]
People have been discounting my notes on the interwebs since 1995, Bob! champagne.gif
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#95 Post by Scott Tallman » May 10th, 2020, 4:11 pm

Thought of this thread while drinking a 2013 Crowley Four Winds and a 2013 Brick House Cascadia last night.

The Crowley has developed some bruised Apple notes, but was not showing honey notes. Nice acid, fruit still present and prominent. While I think this wine could easily go another 5+ years, glad I drank this bottle now as the wine that it will become is not what I dig. My experience has been that the energy and zip that I love in this wine tends to fade after the first 4-5 years. So I’m going to be drinking up my 2014s-2016s this year and will probably crack some of the 17s.

Unfortunately, something was off with the Brick House. Not corked, but this was not indicative of other 2013s I’ve had of this bottle or other vintages. The fruit was still there and did not taste very advanced, so a shame as I’ve always found aged bottles of this wine to be in my wheelhouse.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#96 Post by ChrisJames » May 10th, 2020, 6:39 pm

MitchTallan wrote:
May 8th, 2020, 12:32 pm
Jim Anderson wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 3:02 pm
Kris Patten wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 11:48 am


Planted acres. Pinot Gris can be cropped higher, so tonnage would be an educated guess.
Also, quality is not an issue because no one cares what PG tastes like because none of it is any good. People used to drink it in airport bars to stave off boredom and make their sorry state somewhat slightly better with cheap alcohol disguised with innocuous and forgettable flavors.
I just got an email from Kelley Fox Wines offering two Pinot Gris rose's, one from Maresh, one from Weber, both fermented in "uterine shaped amphora".

I bet they kick ass for the $26 tab. It has to be the uteri.
I bet they do. We effortlessly went thought nine bottles of the 2017 Maresh PG. flirtysmile It did seem to be a wine to drink young since the last bottles didn't seem as interesting.

I bet Jim loves this wine, but he only admits it when he is alone in his bedroom with the light off. neener

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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#97 Post by John Peacock » May 11th, 2020, 8:51 am

lleichtman wrote:
May 7th, 2020, 6:13 pm
Just had a 2007 Ayoub chardonnay and it was really nice.
Lawrence, please re-check the vintage. Ayoub didn't make chardonnay until 2009.
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#98 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » May 11th, 2020, 12:38 pm

John Peacock wrote:
May 11th, 2020, 8:51 am
lleichtman wrote:
May 7th, 2020, 6:13 pm
Just had a 2007 Ayoub chardonnay and it was really nice.
Lawrence, please re-check the vintage. Ayoub didn't make chardonnay until 2009.
Didn't know Rudy had an interest in OR wine :D
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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
2018 Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshöhle GG
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#99 Post by Ken Pahlow » May 11th, 2020, 9:39 pm

Megan Joy wrote:
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.)
Timing of picking with Chardonnay is critical for sure and with increasingly warmer, earlier vintages this picking window calapses very quickly and if your intention is to make precise, dense wines with transparency and freshness you have to be on it! As in a day or two can make the difference between epic and not. I have NEVER been disappointed when I pick on the 'early' side, but I have always been disappointed when I pick too late. Megan is dead on with regards to oak and chardonnay. Lower alcohol, higher acidity and lower ph allow for better integration. I like new wood on chardonnay and your cooperage relationships are important. Period. BTW, why the hell does Burgundy always get a pass for sometimes being 'a little oaky' when young? Because they are going to need to be aged? to be cellared? What, so you can open them in 7-10 years and many will be premox? The best producers have, for the most part, figured it out for sure and there are some truly special, electric wines being made today. Side note, watch out for some over cropped wines in these recent vintages... demand has never been higher for the 'best' producers, prices are through the roof (pre-covid) and with couple of easy vintages to cash in on while many buyers are not drinking the wines until 3-4 years out... sayin'
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Re: Aging Oregon chardonnay

#100 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » May 11th, 2020, 9:48 pm

Ken Pahlow wrote:
May 11th, 2020, 9:39 pm
Megan Joy wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 10:00 pm

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.)
Timing of picking with Chardonnay is critical for sure and with increasingly warmer, earlier vintages this picking window calapses very quickly and if your intention is to make precise, dense wines with transparency and freshness you have to be on it! As in a day or two can make the difference between epic and not. I have NEVER been disappointed when I pick on the 'early' side, but I have always been disappointed when I pick too late. Megan is dead on with regards to oak and chardonnay. Lower alcohol, higher acidity and lower ph allow for better integration. I like new wood on chardonnay and your cooperage relationships are important. Period. BTW, why the hell does Burgundy always get a pass for sometimes being 'a little oaky' when young? Because they are going to need to be aged? to be cellared? What, so you can open them in 7-10 years and many will be premox? The best producers have, for the most part, figured it out for sure and there are some truly special, electric wines being made today. Side note, watch out for some over cropped wines in these recent vintages... demand has never been higher for the 'best' producers, prices are through the roof (pre-covid) and with couple of easy vintages to cash in on while many buyers are not drinking the wines until 3-4 years out... sayin'
I love me some spicy Ken Pahlow!

And would agree that I have yet to be disappointed in the results of picking early. These are the wines that I want to make.
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