If you haven’t yet discovered why Oregon’s Pinot Noirs are considered among the best in the world, this is a wine to try.
Not only is Chehalem’s 2018 “Chehalem Mountains” Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley a superb example; it’s also one of the top Pinot values from Oregon, with a suggested price of $30 but available for a few dollars less at some stores.
The wine is drinking beautifully right now. Raspberry and blueberry flavors along with green tea, earth, and mineral notes are supported by crisp acidity that makes it a refreshing wine to drink with foods like roast chicken or grilled pork chops. Subtle use of oak keeps the wood component a background note.
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This balanced, relatively lean wine — with ABV at a moderate 13.5 percent — showcases some of the best qualities that Oregon’s Pinot Noirs have to offer. Stylistically, the wines call to mind Burgundy more than California, though there is something about them, in the fruit and the structure, that says they are from Oregon.
Owned by Bill Stoller, who also produces wine under Stoller and other labels, the Chehalem Winery goes back three decades and draws on three separate vineyard sites with distinct terroirs. The largest is the Stoller Vineyard, a property purchased by the family in the 1940s to raise turkeys and planted with vines in the early 1990s.
As for the 2018 Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir, try chilling it for 15 to 20 minutes in the fridge to make this delightful wine even more refreshing. I have no doubt that it will be a hit as you serve it this summer and beyond.