2018 Crowley Wines, Four Winds Vineyard Chardonnay, $39.75
Winery Info: Founded by Tyson Crowley, who honed his winemaking skills working with Rob Stuart (Erath), Doug Tunnell (Brickhouse), and Jim Prosser (J.K. Carriere) before becoming assistant winemaker at Cameron Winery, where he produced the first barrels of his own wine in 2005.
As his winemaking expanded, he moved the winery to its current location at August Cellars studio in Newberg. His focus remains, as always on producing transparent, terroir-driven wines that are elegant and exciting and expressive of both vintage and place. He has close relationships with all of his growers and sources fruit exclusively from sustainably and dry-farmed, family-owned vineyards.
Winemaker: Tyson Crowley
Grapes: 100% Chardonnay, 75% Wente clone (own-rooted) and 25% Draper (from younger, grafted vines). Aged 20 months on the lees in barrel (about 37% new).
Vineyard: Four Winds Vineyard in the McMinnville Coast Range with shallow volcanic soil over a base of weathered basalt. Crowley manages the vineyard and has helped customize it to produce fruit that meets his complexity goals for his wines.
Flavor Profile: A lovely, elegant Chard, with flinty notes of wet stone and herbs and flavors of dried apricot, citrus, and pear. The Wente clone gives the wine expressive fruitiness, while the Draper clone adds balancing acidity. With richness from the malolactic fermentation and great complexity from the lees aging.
Availability: 182 cases produced. There is a small amount left of this wine.
Drinking Window: Lovely now or over the next three years or so.
Food Pairing: Try it with pan-seared scallops with fennel purée or a buttery roasted chicken with mushrooms and slow roasted tomatoes.
2017 Soléna Estate, Domaine Danielle Laurent Pinot Noir, $49.75
Winery Info: French native Laurent Montalieu grew up on the island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, but returned to his family home in Bordeaux during the summers and for high school, during which time, he developed his interest in viticulture. After studying in Bordeaux and working at top wineries, both in France and in California, he eventually became a partner and winemaker at Oregon’s WillaKenzie Estate. While there, he and his wife Danielle bought an 80-acre estate as a wedding gift to each other. (They registered with premium nurseries to receive Pinot Noir vines as their wedding gifts!) In 2003 Laurent left WillaKenzie to focus exclusively on his own winery with his wife, which they named Soléna.
Winemaker: Laurent Montalieu
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, from Dijon, Pommard, and Swan clones. Aged in French oak, 10% new.
Vineyard: Their 20-acre estate vineyard, Domaine Danielle Laurent, located in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. It is located next to Shea Vineyard and planted on predominantly Willakenzie soil.
Flavor Profile: After a string of hot years, 2017 was a return to a more classic Oregon vintage, producing wines with good acidity and balanced tannins. This Pinot is smooth, elegant, and very expressive, with notes of raspberry, darker fruit, and wet stone, plus subtle earthy undertones, typical of the vineyard.
Availability: There is very little of this vintage left.
Drinking Window: Enjoy now or up to 2027.
Food Pairing: With its complexity this Pinot would pair well with game birds, savory root vegetable dishes.