Pale-medium copper color; red grapefruit, watermelon, strawberry, white flowers on the nose; strawberry, red grapefruit, cherry, raspberry, hint of minerality on the palate.
Dry; excellent acidity (3.16 pH). Juicy, fulsome red fruits; 100% pinot noir. Fermented in stainless steel and neutral barrels. Aged three months in tank, barrel, and concrete. The concrete contributed to the minerality hints and certainly to the lush smoothness of this pour. The vintage faced wildfire and smoke threat, but the winemakers—and the winemaking gods—prevailed. I catch no elements of smoke taint. This is ethereal rosé; liltingly light in the mouth; an example of adroit winemaking in a challenging vintage. 12.5% ABV
Chehalem vineyards and winery were LIVE certified in 2008. LIVE certification acknowledges socially responsible wine growing and winemaking in the Pacific Northwest. Chehalem earned B Corp Certification in 2018—B Corp determines companies ensure they meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance. The operation also is certified Salmon Safe.
From the website: “From the vineyards we nurture and harvest to the wine we blend and age, we handle every step with respect for sustainable practices. Whether conscientious vineyard farming practices or the materials used in our wine shippers, sustainability is at the core of our business practices. We are, first and foremost, stewards of the land and consider the impact of every layer of the winemaking process.”
Katie Santora is the winemaker. She worked as the assistant winemaker at Chehalem beginning in 2012. This is her third vintage as chief winemaker. Santora earned her degree at UC Davis majoring in enology and viticulture. Her admirable philosophy is minimal processing, allowing the fruit to speak for itself.
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 Chehalem.
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 following 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.”
“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, Willamette Valley 2020 is a lovely wine with impressive complexity and lushness. Very approachable, enjoyable easy drinker. Dodged a bullet from West Coast wildfires to deliver solid value. With its reserved alcohol, very food-friendly. Enjoy by itself or with cheese/charcuterie board. Served well chilled to sip outdoors on a summer, early-fall day. Pair with fish and seafood—salmon and lobster are classic, as are fatty fish; fresh vegetables; chicken in cream-based sauces; rabbit; paté. Avoid rich dishes as they will overpower lighter-bodied pinot such as this. $15-25