Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard g3 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley 2020

Medium gold color; apple, tangerine, butterscotch, sourdough bread, oak spice on the nose; yellow apple, granny smith apple, pineapple, tangerine, vanilla, oak on the palate.

Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard g3 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley 2020

Dry; buttery and full in the mouth; viscous mouthfeel. Moderate acidity (3.57 pH). Made with 100% estate-grown fruit from the Goose Gap appellation. Standard chardonnay with malolactic fermentation for buttery creaminess and oak but also has tangy, spicy elements that are pronounced on the mid-palate and finish. Part of the press barrel fermented and aged 11 months in French oak, 46% new. Another part fermented and aged in stainless steel to highlight the fruit. 13.3% ABV

Goose Ridge is in an arid desert of southeastern Washington State—the state is a portmanteau of a rain forest west of the Cascade Mountains and an arid desert in the eastern part watered by the mighty Columbia River. The Monson family owns Pacific Ridge, one of the largest vineyards in the Pacific Northwest.

The winery describes its operation: “The gently sloped 2200-acre vineyard receives less than eight inches of rainfall annually. Vines are planted on original rootstock in small lots on south-facing slopes for maximum sun. Grapes are farmed for low yields, as vineyard crews carefully select the best blocks for shoot, leaf and cluster-thinning throughout the growing season, for ideal ripeness and flavor at harvest.

Goose Ridge vineyard

“Sustainability is the gold standard for Goose Ridge. Cover crops of wheat and barley are planted in alternate years with natural vegetation. This helps control erosion, choke back weeds and enrich the soil. It also promotes a lively habitat for good, natural predators such as burrowing owls, songbirds, bats and others, which are further encouraged with nesting houses, and natural habitats and corridors throughout the estate.”

Founder Bill Monson notes: “My sisters and I grew up with the understanding you don’t farm for this generation, you farm for the next one. We believe the same principles apply to our family winery.”

Goose Ridge executives

Destination Brands—the umbrella of Goose Ridge—reflects a family vision of stewardship of the land and a commitment to artisan winemaking. M.L. Monson brought his family to the Yakima Valley in the early 1900s. The initial focus was on orchards and cattle, but M.L.’s son, Arvid, began establishing vineyards, which led to the founding of Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard & Winery in 1998. In the years hence, the family remained true to the vision of M.L. and Arvid led by Arvid’s three children, Bill, Molly, and Valerie. The g3 label reflects the winery is now in the third generation of Monson family ownership and direction.

Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard g3 Chardonnay definitely is not a ho-hum chard. Made by an elite Washington winery headed by women. Female-led wine operations are not so unusual today. It has been proved women are superior wine tasters, and now they also are clearly demonstrating they can run wineries, but it is still worth mentioning. There is not enough space to cite all the female-led successes today. Takeaway: if women are in charge, you have a very good chance for quality wine. And I will be thrilled when I no longer have to mention gender of the makers being unusual.

Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard g3 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley 2020 delivers creaminess of malolactic fermentation and some oak elements, but blended with stainless steel finished wine to give you elements of both ways to treat chardonnay. A bit tart and surprising the first glass, but exposure to your palate and air in the glass, evolves into intriguing chardonnay play that is not the bland sameness of commodity chards at this price point. Pair with poultry; chicken baked, roasted, or fried; rich fish; grilled shrimp; crab legs; pork tenderloin; vegetarian fare; fresh fruits. Cheese—bleu cheese, humbolt fog, brie, camembert, sharp cheddar, ricotta. $15-17

Goose Ridge Estate & Winery website