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Oregon tasting notes

text and photographs © 2009 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Oregon wine.


Chehalem 2007 Inox Chardonnay
No Malo, no wood. Very fine apple and lemon fruited nose. Nice trace of pineapple. Lovely fresh palate, with sappy, greengage fruit but also excellent acidity. Very dry, with 0.3g/l RS, and only 13.5% ABV. Screwcap. $19.00

Chehalem Pinot Gris 2006
ice limpid pear fruit on the nose, with a suggestion of minerality. Has a rich, viscose mouthfeel. Nice mouthfeel, with plenty of full, fat fruit, but stays cool and focused, with good acidity. 6g/l of sugar, so off-dry. $19.00. 15.5%

Chehalem Pinot Gris 2007
Has a cooler, slightly green leaf note on the nose, with only 13.7% ABV. This has real freshness, with a little more green fruited bite, and lovely length.

Chehalem Dry Riesling Reserve 2006
Single vineyard blend of 700 cases. 12.6% ABV Quite reserved, subdued nose, with hints of waxy, nectarine skins. Very nice acidity here, with a blast of orange and apple fruit, and that lime acidity pushing through. $21.

Chehalem Dry Riesling Reserve 2007
Slightly smoky, slightly flinty nose, with a blast of lemon and lime fruit and acidity. Very attractive, with lots of steely salinity. 12.7%

Chehalem Pinot Gris Reserve 2006
Seven months in older barrels, after 4 years in Chardonnay. Predominantly older vines planted at higher elevations, and retains a little more acidity. Lees stirring and malolactic. Big, rich, grippy mouthfeel, with a huge Alsace character. $24. 15.5%

Chehalem Pinot Gris Reserve 2007
So much cooler, with not so much barrel and alcoholic richness showing (only 13.5%). The palate has lovely lime and clean, lemon pith fruit. Lovely crispness here, and the polar opposite of the 2006.

Chehalem Ian's Reserve Chardonnay 2005
1 year in all French oak, Very nice nose, showing hints of burnt orange and vanilla, with crunchy apple and fairly cool fruit. On the palate this has an expansive fruit quality, but retains tightness and an apple and lemon character. Oak just adds a touch of roasted quality, but clean and bright. Predominantly from the Stoller vineyard in Dundee. Only white under cork. $34

Chehalem Ian's Reserve Chardonnay 2006
Nice bright quality to the fruit, with the creaminess of the oak in the background, and on the palate a lovely composed quality. It is big and bold, but has focused, very Burgundian quality.

Chehalem 3 Vineyards Pinot Noir 2006
Screwcapped, with a beautifully schisty nose, with lots of earth and briar wood. On the palate it is a little hot perhaps, with a big, forceful character. Quite a lot of heat and spice, perhaps overpowering the fruit. $34. 6,000 cases

Chehalem 3 Vineyards Pinot Noir 2007
Fantastic nose, full of creamy cappuccino, and a rich berry and bright cherry fruit, with nice touches of tobacco and herbs. The palate has lovely energy, with finesse and silkiness, but the crisp, energy of the fruit comes through. Rounded out with coffee, but delicious.

Chehalem Corral Creek Pinot Noir 2006
From the Chehalem mountain Coral C reek vineyard, this has a deliciously appealing nose, with fine beetroot and briar character. The palate has terrific fruit, with a rich concentration, and plenty of meaty, earthy character. The alcohol does bother me slightly again, with nice fresh acidity. 290 cases.

Chehalem Stoller Pinot Noir 2006
From the Dundee Hills, this has an attractive nose which is at first quite soft and mellow, before a tighter quality to the fruit comes through and a touch of minerality. The palate has a richness and suppleness, with a pure core of fruit that pushes through the higher alcohol. $45. 500 cases

Chehalem Ridgecrest Pinot Noir 2006
From Ribbon Ridge - a special sub-region with a marine fossil soil. Highest elevation vineyard and oldest vines at the top of the ridge. Ripens around two weeks later than Stoller. Really sensuous, deep, silky fruit on the nose, with a touch of gamy, animal character. The palate has a tight, very focused quality, with a touch of liquorice and very, very tight, supple tannins that fill the mouth. The weight of fruit and the smokiness of the oak powers through.

Chehalem Pinot Noir Reserve 2005
A blend of all three vineyards, about 70% Ridgecrest. Lovely charry toast, with a fragrant Sandalwood character. Whole bunch pressed. Selected barrels, which are chosen to be more 'feminine'. The fruit comes through beautifully on the palate, with a fine, refined fruit quality, silky but has that energy and a taut precision. Very fine. $60

Chehalem Pinot Noir Reserve 2006
More subdued aromatics at present, with a subtle, suede-like character to the fruit, and again that hint of Sandalwood. The palate has terrific quality, with a really vibrant palate that is firm and has a really firm tannic background. This has plenty of orangy acidity and life, but a lovely full fruit quality with spices and coffee background.

Chehalem Cerise 2006
80% Gamay and 20% Pinot. Really nice nose, with plenty of floral and fruity characters, hints of black pepper and a real Gamay character coming through. The palate has a delicious life and zest about it, with fine spicy and nutty character, tight fruit and good overall balance - deliciously drinkable. $24.

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