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Tasting Notes: Oregon Choice Chardonnay
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October 2005--Wine Recommendations

Tasting Notes - Oregon’s Vintage Variations on Choice Chardonnay

By Thom Elkjer, Wine Editor

The following recommendations, in alphabetical order, are for top-tier Chardonnays produced by ORCA members. These producers generally offer lower-priced Chardonnays as well, also made from or with Dijon clones.

Tasting Notes: Forchini Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley “Proprietor's Reserve” 2002 Adelsheim Vineyard Chardonnay Yamhill County "Caitlin's Reserve" 2003 ($35): tropical and banana notes play into varietally accurate apple and honey aromas and flavors; there’s barrel-fermented richness, and the finish has a distinct and intriguing nuttiness. Fun in a glass.
Tasting Notes: Mauritson Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2002 Argyle Chardonnay Willamette Valley "Nuthouse" 2001 ($30): hard to believe a wine this fresh and sweet – redolent of spring greens, crisp apples and buttered beans – was fermented in oak barrels; the absorbing complexity is fully integrated, not sprinkled or painted on.
Tasting Notes: Passalacqua Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Chehalem Chardonnay Oregon "Ian's Reserve" 2002 ($25): reminded me of Napa Chard (that’s a compliment), with outgoing buttery aromas and clover honey flavors, a plush mouthfeel, and an unctuous finish that rolls on like a broad river in high summer.
Tasting Notes: Pedroncelli Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Pedroni-Bushnell Vineyard 2001 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Chardonnay Oregon "Arthur" 2003 ($25): aromas of peaches and cereal grains, flavors of applesauce and fresh cream, and a rich texture shot through with bright citrus and bracing minerality. Unusual chard, and a good value.
Tasting Notes: Preston Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley “Old Vines/Old Clones” 2003 Domaine Serene Chardonnay Willamette Valley Clos du Soleil Vineyard 2002 ($40): a suave, incisive, masculine take on a grape that’s often feminized to the point of perfume. Appley and crisp, with super texture and a flavor-filled finish that stays endlessly aloft.
Tasting Notes: Quivira Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2003 Hamacher Chardonnay Oregon "Cuvée de Forets Diverses" 2001 ($25): minty oak still dominates this four-year-old Chard, suggesting it will be best with rich food or in a few years when the wood melds further into the baked apple flavors.
Tasting Notes: Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley “Lytton Springs” 2003 Ponzi Vineyards Chardonnay Willamette Valley "Reserve" 2003 ($30): quite a ride, from the aromas of fresh sweet peas in butter to the hint of anchovy-like umami in the finish. In between, perfect balance and tongue-pleasing texture. Delicious match with broiled King salmon.

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