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
Scents of lemon, lime, caramel and Wheatabix are delivered with a straightforward juicy freshness and a lasting impression of richness.
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.
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.
2018 Van Duzer Corridor Trois Johan Vineyards Chardonnay
$36 | 91 points
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.
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.
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.
2017 Eola–Amity Hills Seven Springs Estate Chardonnay
$35 | 92 points
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.
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.
2018 Willamette Valley Chardonnay
$30 | 93 points
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.
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.
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.
2018 Eola–Amity Hills Cuvée Anne Chardonnay
$40 | 94 points
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.
Like what you read? Subscribe today.