For those of you who have been following along on Instagram, Jason and I had the opportunity for a short but much needed getaway to Oregon Wine Country! It has been on our list for a while and we finally decided to make it happen. We have been to Napa/Sonoma before and we just love Sonoma, but Oregon has earned a special place in our hearts! Such nice and friendly people and a very laid back, non pretentious approach to wine. In fact I can't think of one stop we made where we felt any sort of pretense ( which can happen in the wine world).
We were able to stay at the lovely guest house at Chehalem ( a comfy and breezy craftsman style house where vineyard interns stay during harvest), and had an awesome experience with their wines. We met with Jon Foster, from the Chehalem team, for a tasting and tour of the winery, and got to walk through and explore the vineyard ourselves. We briefly got to meet owner Harry Peterson -Nedry and his daughter Wynn Peterson - Nedry who is now the wine maker - both nothing but friendly and gracious.
First and foremost, one of the most impressive things about the winery was its commitment to sustainability. Chehalem is LIVE Certified ( Low Imput Viticulture and Eonology) and a participant in Carbon Neutral Challenge. You will find solar panels in the vineyard that provides some degree of their power. All weed control is done by hand - no chemicals. You can tell from looking at the site that the vines are growing in a very healthy, thriving environment. I think you cannot help but feel good about what you are consuming when it's made in this manner. I am always a little perplexed when people spend so much time thinking about eating fresh, organic food but don't think of the wine they consume in the same manner.
On to the wines themselves! We have for quite some time stocked the Chehalem Three Vineyard Pinot Noir - their largest distributed Pinot. We were able to taste some of their gorgeous white wines as well, from their Coral Creek Vineyard Riesling that was juicy and crisp and mineral driven to their Ridgecrest Vineyard Gruner Veltliner that had a freshness and brightness to it but was also a slightly more complex, richer style than some Gruners. The Pinot Gris also stood out due to its richer, Alsatian style.
Fruit is sourced from three vineyard sites - Coral Creek vineyard which surrounds the winery (what is pictured here). Stoller Vineyard featured Jory Soil ( a term we heard often in this area), a red volcanic soil that lends itself to Pinot Noir that has both a balance of fruit and earthiness. Finally Ridgecrest Vineyard, known for producing richer, briary style of Pinot Noir due to its silt and sandstone soils is the last of the three vineyards utilized.
We loved our experience and the wines of Chehalem, and loved the laid back, friendly, and inviting nature of the people we met. Always makes me feel like I am at home or at Meza when I talk to people from a winery and they really have a team and family focus and mentality.
Look for more offerings from Chehalem to be hitting the shelves at Meza soon! Stay tuned for our recap of other wineries we visited and our tips on exploring the Willamette Valley!