2009 Lemelson Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay

This past winter, I had the joy of visiting Lemelson Vineyards and sampling their award-winning wines for an article I wrote for Take Root Magazine.

Located in the north Willamette Valley near the town of Carlton, Lemelson Vineyards specializes in Pinot noir grown proudly from certified organic vineyards. Owned by Eric Lemelson, the winery produces around 12,000 cases annually from its seven different vineyard sites scattered through the valley.

Even though best known for their single vineyard Pinot Noirs, Lemelson also creates a dry Riesling, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay – and no stop is satisfied without sampling their full range of varieties.

Recently featured in an article by the New York Times, Lemelson’s 2009 Reserve Chardonnay won over editors with its unique, subtle flavors that point to its birth in Oregon – an honor that I agree is well deserved for this wine.

Typically I don’t drink a lot of chardonnay unless it completely unoaked. There is just something about drinking wine reminiscent of butter that doesn’t appeal to me. All I can think about is sticking a straw in a bucket of movie theater popcorn butter and taking a swig. But with this wine I just couldn’t get enough. I drank the entire bottle in small, little glasses to savor each ounce.

Striking a lovely balance between the light and citrusy stainless steel varieties of Chardonnay that many Oregon wineries are known for with the traditional oaked style, Lemelson’s creation combines the best qualities from the two styles for its own delicious recipe.

With a light yellow color like pear juice, the wine demonstrates an attractive clarity on the nose and palate. Showing off in the aroma, the Chardonnay smells like hot, wet stone with a touch of citrus zest and continues with the hard tones into the taste. Even without a fruit flavor influence, I love this chardonnay’s perkiness on the tongue and medium to medium high acidity. Sliding through the mouth with a luscious cream and silky texture, Lemelson’s Chardonnay starts with a zip of tartness that slowly eases out to subtle nutty vanilla flavors on the finish.

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