Anna Maria Giambanco DiPietro
 
July 6, 2021 | TERROIR TALKS | Anna Maria Giambanco DiPietro

Terroir Talk #3

2019 Barrel Select Chardonnay 

This vintage was fermented in French oak barrels selected for their delicate impact on the wine. While ready to enjoy right now, this complex Chardonnay will age beautifully with some time in the cellar. Psst. . . you’ll want to set some aside—we only produced 669 cases.

Pour yourself a glass and you’ll pick up notes of quince, butterscotch, slate, and refreshing minerality. The grapes were harvested from our estate blocks, the Dijon 76 clone, and later ripened Mt. Eden clone, making for a balanced blend and a lively, food-friendly wine.

Terroir & Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape used to produce white wine. It was originally grown in a village called “Chardonnay” in the Burgundy region of eastern France. The name comes from the Latin word “Cardonnacum” which means “the land of Cardus”. Apparently, he was a landowner in the area late in the Roman period. According to Wine Folly, the name also originally meant “place of thistles” or “thistle-covered place.” Pretty cool stuff!

The Willamette Valley AVA certainly has a reputation for producing excellent Pinot Noir, but its Burgundian twin, Chardonnay, has also gained a strong foothold. Since the 1960s, winemakers planted Chardonnay in Oregon, but it got off to a rough start. It seemed that this grape was initially doomed by issues with our climate and ripening, but those days are long gone. Thanks to our AVA’s ancient volcanic soils and improved winemaking techniques, Willamette’s vintners have gotten a firm hold of this varietal and the results are extraordinary.

New World chards once (perhaps unfairly) had a reputation for being overly oaked, lifeless wines. Willamette AVA Chardonnays have become expressive wines with natural minerality, lower alcohol, bright acidity, and charm. The cool Pacific ocean air arrives nightly and kisses the vines, tucking them in—combined with our plentiful sunshine, long summer days, and chilly evenings, we’ve got ideal Chardonnay growing conditions.

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with a certified sommelier and founder of and V is for Vino, Vince Anter, to get his thoughts on Willamette Chards. Here’s what he had to say. “Everyone talks about the Pinot Noir and Gris from Willamette, but the unsung hero of the area is Chardonnay. The chards coming out of that area are the perfect balance of mineral and fruit, ripeness, and freshness”. We couldn’t agree with him more.

Winemaker Notes

Our winemaker, DonCrank III says “The aromas are of apple, and wet slate minerality combines with orange blossom on the nose. Green grass and butterscotch mingle with quince paste on the palate. The generous acidity of this wine is clean with a rich finish in the tidiest fashion.” He goes on to share “The 2019 vintage highlights our first estate-grown Chardonnay; it’s a premier example of Chardonnay grown in Laurelwood soil. This wine is bright and complex, balanced by the rich texture from barrel fermentation.”

Food Pairing

For your next gathering, pair our 2019 Barrel Select Chardonnay with baked scallops, halibut, or scrod alongside mild, buttery side dishes. Simple oven-roasted or rotisserie chicken and herbs is always a sure thing alongside this bottle, but jazz things up by adding a creamy corn or butternut squash soup or risotto. Serve a bottle or two with a cheese platter laden with Humboldt Fog, fresh goat cheese, or Pennyroyal Laychee. Once again, I consulted my wine guru, Vince Anter, and he suggested “any alpine-style cheeses. Alpen Blumen in particular, which is wrapped in dried flowers.”

Vintage Notes

The 2019 season began with a winter that was cold and wet but was followed by a warm spring. Near-record precipitation amounts during late June and early July brought increased disease pressure to the estate vineyard. The 2019 harvest will be mostly remembered for the early rains in September and rapid cool down into October which attempted to force winemakers’ hands across the Willamette Valley. Degree-day totals were marked by the lowest heat accumulation experienced in September and October since 2007.

The first vintage of Chardonnay to be harvested from the estate vineyard was bright, lean, and fruity. However, there were a few barrels of the clone 76 that had truly exceptional qualities, enough to mark them as our first-ever Reserve bottling of Chardonnay.

Don’t fret, we won’t test you when you visit, but you’ll certainly be able to rattle off a few impressive facts about “Oregundian Chardonnay” the next time you’re out wine tasting!

Try a bottle today, then share your terroir tasting notes with us via email, or tag us in a social media post. Call 503-625-1591 to make your reservation to visit our Tasting Room, and join the Hawks View Winery Wine Club to take advantage of member perks like a 20% discount on wine, merchandise, and event tickets, as well as 25% off full case purchases.

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