Winemakers redefining Oregon Chardonnay

By on March 13, 2016


Oregon chardonnay is making a comeback

Paul Durant of Durant Vineyards pours for Melissa Burr of Stoller Family Estate during the grand tasting of the third annual Oregon Chardonnay Symposium on March 8, 2014, in Dayton. (Photo by ©Andrea Johnson Photography)

Oregon Chardonnay is slowly making a comeback.

The noble white grape most closely associated with France’s Burgundy region has played second chair in Oregon since 2000, when Pinot Gris overtook Chardonnay.

While Oregon Chardonnay plantings are not skyrocketing, they are starting to creep up. In 2014 (the most recent year available), Oregon winemakers crushed 3,972 tons of Chardonnay – the most since 1997. By comparison, wineries crushed 13,701 tons of Pinot Gris, making Chardonnay a distant but firm No. 2 white grape in Oregon (about twice as much as Riesling).

In the cellar, Oregon winemakers are redefining Chardonnay, experimenting with various techniques to try to define and Oregon style.

All of this work is leading to better and more complex Oregon Chardonnays, and this is fun to watch. Last month, the fifth annual Oregon Chardonnay Celebration took place at the Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, during which winemakers, growers and consumers gathered to study, sip and celebrate Oregon Chardonnay.

Here are a dozen delicious Oregon Chardonnays we’ve tasted recently. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly (most are available only in Oregon, but wineries are more than willing to ship to other states).

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About Great Northwest Wine

Articles credited to Great Northwest Wine are authored by Eric Degerman and other contributors. In most cases, these are wine reviews that are judged blind by the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel.

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