Husband and wife team Chris and Kathryn Hermann seem to have a firm grasp of how to craft world class, Burgundian-style Chardonnay. Chris is a lawyer who specializes in environmental and land use law. They recruited the French talent of Pierre Millemann from Nuits-Saint-Georges with a primary focus on Chardonnay using traditional techniques. Additionally, they are also working on a project to make Corton-Charlemagne in the Cote-d’Or of Burgundy along with another endeavor in Champagne. This wine has a medium to deep yellow color with concentrated aromatics that are outlined with white tangerine and warm rich spices. Everything is in concert with a vein of delicate acidity. This Chardonnay is complex, generous and is a look-alike for a cru Mersault. Irresistible.
This wine is sourced by Tony Soter from sustainable certified vineyards of diverse soils in the northern valley sub-appellations of Willamette Valley. The reserve designation is sourced from a single vineyard within Eola-Amity Hills. The aromatics of this wine are layered with peach blossoms. Within the core are refined flavors of candied limes and Meyer lemon, accented with a crushed-rock minerality. This wine has a subtle richness that shows it is built to age.
The Van Duzer “Bieze Vineyard” is located in the cooler climates of Eola-Amity Hills. This Chardonnay is fermented at lower temperatures to preserve its aromatic quality and is aged in three different types of vessels: stainless steel, concrete and oak barrels. French-born winemaker Florent-Pierre Merlier believes in “food friendly wines with the right acidity.” This Chardonnay is concentrated with tangerine, ripe orange zest and buttered almonds. There are tropical elements that coincide with a nice balance of acidity that keep the core fresh and the wine lengthy.
Owner Larry Stone was an influential sommelier at Charlie Trotters in Chicago and has served in several consulting roles in Napa. In 2013 he purchased the Janzen farm in the Eola-Amity Hills with proceeds from the sale of his personal wine cellar and assistance from his relatives. He has 66 acres of vineyards planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. This Chardonnay has a lovely mid-palate of lemon blossom, Granny Smith apples and a layering of minerals. There is a dusting of lemon zest in the middle with a long finish.
Josh Bergstrom completed a post-graduate program in viticulture and enology in Burgundy. Upon his return he joined his father John and the family business in establishing Bergstrom Winery. Josh’s background in Burgundy has influenced Bergstrom’s winemaking style and vineyard practices. There are aromas of caramelized apples that open to a wealth of white fruits. It has precision and complexity that reveal a Chassange Montrachet-like personality. This is a polished wine with great future potential.
This is a joint venture between winemaker Lynn Penner Ash and Jon and Linda Carter. The winery flies under the radar with its limited production and relatively unknown status, yet it has a loyal and dedicated following. Dusky Goose’s primary focus has been high-end Pinot Noir from the Dundee Hills. This wine has a pale yellow hue with light floral notes and a rich fruit-driven style. It reveals showy orchard fruits of pear and peach and finishes with elegance.