2021 Chehalem Reserve Chardonnay
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TASTING NOTES FROM WINEMAKER, KATIE SANTORA
Lovely brioche aromas of sweet toast with a creamy butter spread and German pancakes lift out of the glass. We picked the fruit early, which gives the wine a lean, energetic vibrancy of lemon custard and key lime pie on the palate. The body is well-balanced with an extended finish that hints at our use of French oak barrels. This Chardonnay is so versatile; I would chill it to enjoy on a warm day or pair it with a decadent halibut dinner.
The 2021 growing season was warmer than average in the Willamette Valley, producing beautifully ripe fruit with vibrant flavors. A dry spring led to lingering rain showers during bloom, which reduced the yield in some blocks. Then, an abnormal heatwave spread across the valley, with temperatures reaching as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Fortunately, the fruit prospered as high temperatures occurred between bloom and veraison when berries were hard and less sensitive to damage. Temperatures tapered off prior to harvest, with warm days and cool nights, which allowed the fruit to ripen at an even and slower pace. Quick yet seemingly smooth, harvest started on August 21 with little to no breaks until we finished on September 26. The resulting wines are balanced with focused flavors, stunning fruit, gorgeous vibrancy, and incredible aging potential.