Secret Somm: Chehalem Mountains Appellation
The one commonality shared by the many diverse winemakers from all around the Willamette Valley is their fierce pride in their craft. The Chehalem Mountains AVA is no exception. “From Parrett Mountain to the south, and running northwest across Bald Peak and Ribbon Ridge, the Chehalem Mountains were formed by uplifted sedimentary seabeds, lava flows, and wind-blown silt to create the highest elevations and most diverse soils in wine country. These distinctions make our wine growing region famous for rich, elegant and complex wines including benchmark pinot noir.”
Adelsheim Vineyards (the h is silent) is one of Oregon’s founding wineries. David Adelsheim planted the first vineyard in the early 1970’s. He is a true professional, the ‘Emeritus’ of the Willamette Valley. He exemplifies a driven passion for pulling out the personality of the land. That is exactly what his wines demonstrate along with all of his experience farming the region. A nuance I found particularly admirable was his restrained focus which appears in each and every wine he crafts year after year.
My highlight wine during my visit was the Adelsheim Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011. (Price Point: $32) This wine is a perfect example of how you can blend multiple vineyards together to show the true talent of a winemakers vision and harnessing the characteristics of the earth. David’s focus seemed to be highlighting balance, texture and delivering diverse flavors across the palate. The mix of soil compositions in the Chehalem Mountains provides the incredible opportunity to blending different lots that offer many diverse nuances to your glass. As I write this, I have to admit that offering just one highlight wine is almost an injustice to this wonderful winery and winemaker. They have a fantastic class of whites that are screaming with acid and flavor. This is no one trick pony. Cheers!