Wine Review: 2012 Chehalem Chardonnay Inox Willamette Valley, Oregon

Chardonnay is made in many different styles everywhere it is grown, oaked or non-oaked. Some winemakers go bone dry and others stop fermentation when there is still a little residual sugar left so it is slightly sweet. In Oregon, producers have never been in agreement about what particular style should stand as representative for Oregon Chardonnay. The argument for a signature style revolves around the concept consumers need to be able to reach for a bottle and be able to identify the style by where the wine originated. Maybe labeling residual sugar content and if wood or stainless aging were used would be enough. Then everyone could just make whatever style they like without worrying if it is representative of the regions style. Nevertheless this wine was aged in stainless steel hence the name Inox (Inoxydable is French for stainless steel) and there is .03% residual sugar. 

The grapes for this vintage were sourced from Chehalem’s three estate vineyards, Corral Creek, Ridgecrest, and Stoller. Wynne Peterson-Nedry took over the reins at Chehalem Winery from her father Harry Peterson-Nedry a couple of years ago joining the ever increasing ranks of second-generation winemakers in the Willamette Valley and it appears the quality remains high.

The wine smells of honeysuckle, pear, apple and citrus. An all-out assault of the palate ensues with citrus, pear, and baked pastry. The textures are crisp and the acidity approaches bracing, and then turns ultra-refreshing palate-cleansing libation perfection. I like a wine when it crescendos just short of shrill then finishes impressively. Applicable culinary pairings are endless. An intense racy ride on the grape-train to flavor town, Inox from Chehalem delivers a delicious, distinctive Chardonnay that represents the Willamette Valley well.

Rating: Excellent (91) | $19 | 14.1% ABV

Chehalem Chardonnay Inox