National Wine Day is coming up on May 25, 2016. Deciding what to sip on such an esteemed occasion is no easy feat. This year, I recommend looking to a well-known American varietal from a growing region where it is newly acclaimed.
The state of Oregon has been on the map for decades as one of America's leading wine regions. Oregon's biggest claim to fame are its pinot noirs from the Willamette valley for their silky, smooth textures. (Such success comes as no surprise since the midpoint of Oregon's Willamette Valley lies at 45 degrees north latitude, the same as Burgundy's, from where the world's single most famous pinot noirs are produced.) When you marry optimal, Burgundian climactic conditions with the red and black fruit-forward nature of pinot noir grapes grown on the Pacific Coast, the result is a winning combination.
Oregon is also well known for its floral and aromatic whites, riesling being a personal favorite. (Brooks Winery proprietor Janie Brooks, board member of the International Riesling Foundation, jests that many an Oregon winery make and sell pinot noir to "keep up with their riesling habits.")
But lately I've been exploring Oregon chardonnays. A lover of great white and red Burgundies (which are universally made from chardonnay and pinot noir, respectively), I figure if I love Oregon pinots I might also fall in love with a few Oregon chards.
Such has absolutely proven to be the case. In honor of National Wine Day, cheers to these three great Oregon chardonnays.
In alphabetical order:
Boedecker Cellars 2013 Willamette Valley Chardonnay ($28)
Affordable and tasty, Boedecker Cellars' Willamette Valley chardonnay is a lovely and clean expression of the grape: offering classical tropical fruit flavors alongside nectarine and peach. www.boedeckerwines.com
D e Lancellotti 2013 Anderson Vineyard Chardonnay ($49.99)
Biodynamically-farmed, hand-selected grapes, this chardonnay offers a reall maritime character- with some seaweed and limestone, alongside rich and distinct classical "chardonnay" grape flavors of nectarine. www.delancellottifamilyvineyards.com
EIEIO & Co. 2013 Willamette Valley Chardonnay ($40)
With a one year old and a three year old, I can't help but feel a penchant for wine labels that reference nursery rhymes. That being said, there is nothing "childish" about this wine. Flavorful, full and lush, this Willamette Valley chardonnay is not only limited in production, with high "scores," but is a delightful combination of old and new world stylistically. A clear winner.
Follow Alyssa Rapp on Twitter @alyssarapp or on Instagram @alyssajrapp. She posts most of the wines that she tastes on the app Vivino.