The Grapes of Willamette Valley |
Chardonnay, perhaps one of the most misunderstood wine grape varietals on the planet. This well-known varietal originates from the Burgundy region in eastern France, but is now grown in almost every wine grape growing region in the world.
Chardonnay has been commonly referred to as the “Winemakers Grape,” because of its versatility. The Chardonnay grape itself is somewhat of a chameleon as its flavors are fairly neutral but highly influenced by climate, fermentation styles, oak vs stainless steel and a myriad of other elements and techniques. The wines made from this grape run the gamut from the leanest most delicate styles to opulent, creamy, buttery, oaky powerhouses.
Let’s not forget as well, that Chardonnay is an important component in the making of many sparkling wines, or champagne. ‘Blanc de Blanc’ literally translates into ‘white from white’ and those wines are made solely from Chardonnay grapes.
The Willamette Valley has definitely found its sweet spot where stainless steel, neutral oak and concrete eggs have become the vessels of choice for producing clean, crisp, interesting Chardonnay wines. This new Northwest revolution has been responsible for how this misunderstood grapes’ popularity has simply flourished in this region.
We at A Great Oregon Wine Tour, love introducing ‘ABC’ drinkers (anything but Chardonnay) to a style they’ve never tried nor even knew existed, then witnessing the looks of surprise and delight on their faces.
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