Chehalem Rosé of Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley 2019

Pale copper color; grapefruit, strawberry, rose petals on bright nose; ruby red grapefruit, pomegranate, strawberry, raspberry on the palate.

Chehalem Rosé of Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains 2019

Dry; full body with excellent acidity (3.14 pH). Juicy with soft, velvety mouthfeel. Shows smoothness and finesse; 13.2% ABV. Fermented in stainless steel and neutral barrels, aged 3-4 months in tank, barrel, and concrete. There is murmur of stickiness in the overall experience that contributes to its simple, pleasing overall presentation.

I reviewed the previous vintage (2018) and this tracks very similarly to my notes. This has slightly lower pH—a good thing, but the difference is small. The pH and somewhat reserved alcohol set this up for food pairing. This vintage may be slightly more delicate and nuanced than the 2018—although the difference is subtle. Bottom line: this is expression of the elegance and versatility of both rosé and Chehalem.

Grapes for this effort come from the Corral Creek vineyard, 30 minutes from downtown Portland. Grapes grown on the renowned Scott Henry trellising system, an interesting “way into the weeds” note. The vineyard is one of the most-photographed vineyards in Oregon. It houses the solar installation, the raptor perches, and eco-zone set-asides.

Chehalem solar panels and vineyard
Chehalem Corral Creek vineyard (Andrea Johnson)

The vineyards and winery were LIVE certified in 2008. LIVE certification acknowledges socially responsible winegrowing and winemaking in the Pacific Northwest. Chehelem earned B Corp Certification in 2018—B Corp determines companies ensure they meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance.

The vineyard/winery started in 1980 when the Peterson-Nedrys family purchased the property and planted pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. The Howieson family planted the first grapes in the Corral Creek area in 1983. In 1990, Chehalem harvested the first grapes at Ridgecrest. In 1993, Bill Stoller purchased his family’s estate in Dayton and joined Chelalem.

Bill Stoller then embarked on a noteworthy career in the region, gaining complete control of Chelalem in 2018 by purchasing Henry Peterson-Nedry’s interest in Chehalem. This followed a 24-year partnership with Peterson-Nedry. Stoller comments on the website: “Harry Peterson-Nedry has been a mentor to me,” said Stoller. “When Harry first asked me to be an investor, I saw an opportunity to help fund a friend’s dream and the chance to be a part of something with the potential to be iconic. As we enter this next chapter, I am honored to shepherd CHEHALEM’s legacy.”

Bill and LaRue Stoller

“No one understands more how special the CHEHALEM brand is, how much passion and rigorous work it has taken, how much collaboration with other Willamette Valley pioneering wineries has gone on, than Bill,” said Peterson-Nedry. “I take comfort knowing he will respect its heritage in a way that no one else could.”

Stoller is the founder and CEO of The Stoller Group, also the president and vice-chairman of Express Employment Professionals, and founder and CEO at Xenium HR & Employer Services. A native Oregonian, Stoller holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Economics from Pacific University, and an MBA from Portland State University.

Chehalem Rosé of Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains 2019 is soft, approachable, somewhat delicate, elegant. Easily works as an aperitif or solo sipping with book club friends. Dry and correct, no concern whatsoever about cloying sweetness of the rosés of yesteryear. Rosé is great pairing wine in general, and this will work on wide range of fare—fish in general, fried or grilled; crab; shrimp; lobster; quiche; grilled chicken; veggie pizza; Greek dishes. $25-28

Chehalem Wines website

Chehalem Ridgecrest vineyard
Chehalem tasting room