Chehalem Winery (Chuh-hay-lum) is a local American Indian word best translated as "gentle land" or "valley of flowers," phrases that capture a long-standing, almost religious reverence for the land. We at Chehalem Winery understand this reverence, for we consider ourselves a vineyard winery, dedicated to reflecting as purely as possible what the vineyard has produced, with minimal processing, without compromising great fruit. Our vineyard sites are at once warm and ripening, yet austere and cruelly stingy with grapes. Grapes never lack for intensity.
This pinot blanc continues our appreciation of Alsace varietals. From our newest plantings at Stoller Vineyard, there is excellent ripeness and clean flavors. Experiments have developed a process that combines classic Alsace textured and Kaiserstuhl ripe characteristics, showing a purity of fruit, lushness and huge weight on the palate. We think we’re there.
Chehalem Winery 2002 Pinot Gris Reserve
This is the version of pinot gris we make to gain ultimate complexity and structure. Using Alsace as a standard, we seek weight and complexity to make this more than a simple white. This pinot gris is a true reserve wine--the fruit is divided at harvest, after full ripeness is achieved, with the reserve portion going through barrel fermentation in neutral oak. With long lees contact, minor partial ML (malolactic fermentation), and a variety of yeasts--- the wine is concentrated, complex, well-textured, and carries tropical fruit aromas and a tight pear flavor profile, accented with a honeyed richness.
Chehalem Winery 2001 Ian's Reserve Chardonnay
Entirely Dijon clone, this is our attempt to make a fine white Burgundy, complete with richness, balance and great acid structure for aging. Named for Ian Peterson-Nedry who died on the first day of harvest for Dijon clones from our vineyards in 1996, it is our best white and, with vine age, may be one of the best chardonnays you’ve tasted. The Wine Advocate annually calls Ian's Reserve "certainly one of the finest Oregon Chardonnays I have tasted to-date."
Chehalem Winery 2001 Rion Reserve Pinot Noir
We look for this wine to embody the essence of pinot noir. Select barrels and fermentation lots are chosen from Ridgecrest Vineyards before any blending is done in the cellar. We choose components to make a wine that epitomizes finesse, elegance, complexity, textural silkiness, and palate breadth and length for the vintage. We think these elements are what pinot noir is all about--not as big as we can make it, but as beautiful as we can make it. In balance, as it is, it will be optimally ageable.
Chehalem Winery 2001 Willamette Valley Cerise
Cerise is our name for a predominant gamay noir blend with pinot noir. Both varietals are best done in Burgundy and both exhibit a palate of cherry flavors and aromas. "Cherry" in French, Cerise is our tribute to a high fruit, moderately serious red wine. In Burgundy they do one too, called passetoutgrains, blended close to an 80% gamay noir and 20% pinot noir, for drinking while waiting for their highly structured pinots to develop. Ours is made with the same casual purpose in mind.
This wine is the oldest of the three vineyard-designated pinot noirs we produce. Chehalem has made a Ridgecrest Vineyards Pinot Noir since its first release in 1990, with selected barrels going to an upper-end elegant Rion Reserve from Ridgecrest, since 1994, and any not measuring up to this standard being designated 3-Vineyard. It is characteristically brawny, briery, dusty black-fruited, and occasionally currant or cassis. Deep sweet fruit has been balanced with fine tannin structure in recent years which, with good acidic structure, gives good ageability.