Best Buys from Year’s Best Oregon Chardonnays – Wine & Spirits Magazine

Best Buys from Year’s Best Oregon Chardonnays


Our blind panels tasted 105 Oregon chardonnays over the past 12 months. We’ve selected 14 great Best Buys from the Year’s Best Oregon Chardonnay category in our October 2020 issue. These wines deliver great value at or below the median price for the category.


Big Table Farm
2018 Willamette Valley The Wild Bee Chardonnay

$28 | 91 points

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Scents of lemon, lime, caramel and Wheatabix are delivered with a straightforward juicy freshness and a lasting impression of richness.


Carabella
2018 Chehalem Mountains Dijon Clones Chardonnay

$32 | 91 points

This opens to pear and pineapple flavors, as if spritzed with lemon and lime. It’s mouthwatering, a crowd-pleaser for a picnic.


Cristom
2018 Eola–Amity Hills Chardonnay

$35 | 91 points

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Restrained and delicate, this cool chardonnay leads with dry lemon-lime scents. With its tart green-apple flavor, lemon-rind lift and talc-like mineral tang, it’s a Chablis-like chardonnay for oysters.


Division
2018 Van Duzer Corridor Trois Johan Vineyards Chardonnay

$36 | 91 points

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This wine’s bright green-apple scents broaden toward smoked pineapple and nutty lees. Despite its lean contours, it has the savor for braised pork.


Lumos
2016 Willamette Valley Wren Vineyard Chardonnay

$35 | 91 points

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Even in warm vintages, the wines from Wren Vineyard, Dai Crisp’s home vineyard in the cool enclave of Philomath in southern Willamette Valley, are cold. At four years old, this wine is still a lean machine—quiet, tight and mineral, dabbling in citrus. For all that, it’s got the complexity inherent in a long ager, so let it lie for another year at least, before decanting for un grand plateau de fruits de mer.


Raptor Ridge
2017 Yamhill-Carlton Gran Moraine Vineyard Chardonnay

$35 | 91 points

This develops scents of lees and lime, apple and smoke. It’s cool and reserved, a lemony rasp of acid providing firm closure, and the nerve for grilled stuffed squid.


Evening Land
2017 Eola–Amity Hills Seven Springs Estate Chardonnay

$35 | 92 points

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Matchstick flintiness gives way to crisp-pear and red-apple flavors, the wine’s breezy elegance energized by brisk acids, needing cellar time to knit.


iOTA
2018 Eola–Amity Hills Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Chardonnay

$36 | 92 points

As pale as lemonade, this wine’s scents of citrus, apple and salt carry a fruit-blossom bitterness. The flavors are substantial, with the mineral notes contributing finesse to the texture.


David Paige
2018 Willamette Valley Chardonnay

$30 | 93 points

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Former longtime winemaker at Adelsheim, Dave Paige is releasing this wine under his own label. He puts half of the blend through malolactic conversion, and is largely laissez-faire from there. The result feels limpid, bright and tense, with flavors of clarified apple nectar and a whiff of smoke.


Domaine Drouhin Oregon
2018 Dundee Hills Arthur Chardonnay

$35 | 93 points

Exuberant and forward, this wine has scents of orange peel and litchi, its flavors generous and juicy, its texture broad but energetic. After a day, the fruit becomes still more pronounced, more pineapple and spiced apple, framed with judicious oak.


Iris
2016 Willamette Valley Chalice Estate Chardonnay

$30 | 93 points

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From a cool Willamette Valley vineyard well south of Eugene, this 2016 is all nuts and white flowers when first poured, the aromas beguilingly savory and fine. Initially rich, with golden apple flavors, the wine develops a fine weave of acidity to cradle the fruit, rendering it lean and balanced. This has the poise to age.


Johan
2017 Van Duzer Corridor Johan Vineyards Chardonnay

$36 | 93 points

Aged in a mix of used barrels for 18 months, this bracing, complex chardonnay offers rich scents of caramel and honeycomb overlaying brisk, tense, salty citrus fruit. The interplay is fascinating, and should continue to develop complexity in the cellar.


Drouhin Oregon Roserock
2018 Eola–Amity Hills Chardonnay

$35 | 93 points

From 11 acres of chardonnay planted a little over a decade ago, this opulent 2018 is firm and shapely, benefitting from the coolness of the Roserock vineyard, near Salem, and of the Oregon summer. It leads with scents of honey and peach, and has a hazelnut breadth.


Walter Scott
2018 Eola–Amity Hills Cuvée Anne Chardonnay

$40 | 94 points

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Drawn from five Eola–Amity Hills vineyards, Cuvée Anne is a showstopper made in a flinty style, a penetrating lemon-oil scent beneath smoky lees notes. And yet the flavors are juicy and bright, all mouthwatering apple and honey, the wine finishing sleek, floral and delicate.


The wines in this newsletter were chosen by our editors, from our tastings for the October 2020 edition. After our editors made their selections, we offered wineries the opportunity to promote their Best Buy award with a bottle image and brand links.


This story appears in the print issue of October 2020.
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