It all started back in 2002 on a family visit with Natalie and Cassandra to Black Butte Ranch. We were having dinner at the lodge and looking to explore the wine list when our waiter suggested a bottle of Kim Crawford Chardonnay from New Zealand.
I mentioned to him that we were not big buttery or oaky fans, he replied that this wine was done predominantly in stainless steel and it was crisp, light and bright with good acidity. Wow, was he right. We loved the wine.
Back at the winery we went in search of old vine Chardonnay. We found Dick and Patricia of Whispering Ridge Vineyard in the Ribbon Ridge AVA. I also discovered that Harry Peterson-Nedry had just started producing a stainless steel Chardonnay at Chehalem Winery called INOX, the first in the state.
The following year we made our first Rock Horse Chardonnay fermented in stainless steel, the 2nd one in the state. Which was very interesting since Oregon Chardonnay wasn’t at all popular but customers were open to the crispness the wine had due to the stainless steel fermentation.
One person in particular was David Holstrum, wine buyer for Blue Hour Restaurant in Portland. He enjoyed the wine so much he put it on their wine by the glass program and started telling the story of stainless-steel fermented Oregon Chardonnay. We made this wine for 4 years before our vineyard contract changed and we were without a source of old vine Chardonnay.
Sadly this was a time when there wasn’t a lot of Chardonnay planted in the valley. Fast forward to 2019 when we were offered some McDuffee Vineyard Chardonnay that was planted in 1985, so we decided it was time to bring back our Chardonnay. So here we are back to light, dry and crisp Chardonnay to pair with the wonderful white fish from the Oregon Coast. So as spring approaches, enjoy a glass or like me, a bottle to finish off your day.