2015 Megan Anne Cellars, Chardonnay $49.75
Winery info: Washington winemaker Mark McNeilly (of Mark Ryan Winery) and his wife Megan have long been enamored with the Willamette Valley and its wines. In 2014 they collaborated with former Evening Land winemaker Isabelle Meunier to launch Megan Anne Cellars, producing Willamette Valley wines that offer a “softer, more feminine side of the Mark Ryan Winery family.”
Winemaker: Quebec-born and Dijon-trained Isabelle Meunier, one of Oregon’s most acclaimed winemakers.
Grapes: 100% Chardonnay, aged 10 months in 15% new and 85% second- and third-fill French oak
Vineyard source: Kindred Vineyard in the Dundee Hills AVA, and Wilson Fjord Vineyard, in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA.
Flavor profile: A lovely and enticing combination of rich, luscious texture and flavors of toast and stone fruit, balanced by freshness and soft minerality. Finishes warm and satisfying.
Production/Availability: 175 cases
Drinkability: Very drinkable now, but it has the potential to develop even more complexity with cellaring.
Food Pairing: Try it with crab cakes, scallops, salade Niçoise, roast chicken… Very versatile!
2014 Viola Wine Cellars, Barbera in Barrique, $29.75
Winery info: A small urban winery in Portland, begun in 2002 by Darryl Joannides, a long-time afficiando of Italian food and wine. It became a fulltime venture in 2012, and focuses on Italian-inspired wines, sourced primarily from the Columbia Gorge AVA, using organically-grown grapes as much as possible.
Winemaker: Darryl Joannides
Grapes: 100% Barbera, barrel aged for 12 months in new and used French barrique, followed by extended bottle aging.
Vineyard source: Dugger Creek Vineyard, on the Oregon side of the Walla Walla Valley.
Flavor profile: It shows the bright acidity of the Barbera grape, nicely balanced by subtle layers of wood tannins from the oak aging. Inviting and rich, with flavors of dark plum.
Production/Availability: Only 75 cases so it is somewhat limited.
Drinkability: Very approachable now or anytime over the next five years or so
Food Pairing: Very versatile: try it with roast chicken, grilled steak, pork dishes, or risotto with wild mushrooms, polenta, or pasta with red sauces.