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.
|| 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.
|| 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.
|| 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.
|| 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.
|| 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
|| 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.