Decoded: Oregon Chardonnay

While Chardonnay takes a distant third place in plantings in Oregon (behind Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris), more interest, investment and development has continued to be behind growth and plantings of the grape to develop its market presence and the potential diversity of its stylings.

Oregon Chardonnay runs the full gamut of the grapes wide-ranging styles; from oaky and buttery (for the Napa fans) to bright, acidic and crisp (for fans of Chablis/Bourgogne Blanc).  The first “established” plantings of Chardonnay in the Willamette Valley were documented on February 22, 1965.  David Lett of Eyrie Vineyards is credited for his role in the early plantings of Chardonnay and is known for his quote, “Oregon Chardonnay was always good when it was grown by people who understood Chardonnay.”  What he is referencing in the quote, and why it is so quotable, is due to the modern idea circulating about the resurgence or second wave of Chardonnay out of Oregon – which is false.

What has spread is the knowledge and influx of vintners who understand how to grow and produce high quality Chardonnays.




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