Great gold color; lemon, vanilla, apple on the nose; citrus, spice, green apple on the palate.
Straightforward expression of chardonnay with medium body, nice acidity, nice creaminess, well-behaved oak, nice length. Solid, true-to-the-grape chardonnay.
Willamette Valley Vineyards is one of the Oregon’s largest operations, but WVV is not a wine factory. They are not focus-group driven to fill a demographic niche on a supermarket shelf. WVV consistently delivers distinctive quality and value. The winery also is environmentally responsible. Since 1997, WVV has been certified sustainable through LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology—the international standard for sustainable agriculture) and Salmon-Safe. In 2011, Salmon-Safe recognized winery founder Jim Bernau with the first “Hero of Salmon” award for implementation of a high-impact Salmon-Safe “Sip-Save” campaign in print, retail, web, and vehicle wraps. Delicious wines, responsible winemaking. Nice. Delicious, too.
In another initiative, WVV is a pioneer in “raptor rehabilitation” of barn owls and kestrels (North America’s smallest falcon). Washington has a steady supply of barn owl and kestrels because the birds nest in places disrupted by normal farming activities (hay stacks, for instance), and the Cascades Raptor Center and other agencies rescue hundreds of wild chicks. WVV places bird houses in trees around the vineyard to help control the mice population. Mice are a pest in vineyards because they burrow and harm root systems. Barn owls are voracious mice eaters, consuming four or five a night, even more if they are raising young. The owls primarily hunt by sound, making them super mousers even on the darkest nights or over ground covered with snow. WVV’s embrace of organic farming means there is better chance for the birds to avoid chemicals used in conventional farming.
As many of you know, I have special place in my heart for grape farmers who embrace Mother Nature instead of the chemistry lab. I think you can taste the difference in the wine, but even if you can’t, it makes you feel better drinking it.
Willamette Valley Vineyards Estate Chardonnay is a solid expression of chardonnay and another WVV winner. $28-30
econd photo: Willamette Valley Vineyards winemakers