Monday, December 2, 2013

Adelsheim: Crisp Whites and Elegant Pinots from the Willamette Valley

Adelsheim's Bryan Creek Vineyard, used with permission. (c) Kent Derek
Over the years I’ve come to realize that Adelsheim makes delicious wine on a consistent basis. From crisp Wednesday night whites to single-vineyard Pinots, they cover all the bases. One of Oregon’s founding wineries, Adelsheim planted their first vines in the Chehalem Mountains in 1972. Today, Adelsheim farms 229 acres of estate vines from 11 vineyards across the Willamette Valley.

I recently tasted through a bunch of Adelsheim’s new releases, and I thoroughly enjoyed all of them. The wines were received as trade samples and tasted blind.

2012 Adelsheim Chardonnay - Oregon, Willamette Valley
SRP: $22
Smells of honeysuckle, green melon, some orange zest and perfume notes, it all comes together quite nicely. Like whipped honey on the palate, but the acid sings all the way through. All sorts of melon flavors, mixed in with white flowers and honeycomb. There’s a sour-sweet note that reminds me of green apple Airhead candies, as strange as that may sound, but I like it. Still, it ends up as a clean and focused Chard. (88 points)

2012 Adelsheim Auxerrois Blanc Ribbon Springs Vineyard - Oregon, Willamette Valley, Ribbon Ridge
SRP: $25
Aromas of white peach, orange blossom, honeysuckle and a waxy note. Crisp acid, a whipped honey and waxy mouthfeel. White peach, green melon goes along with some lychee nut, candlewax and honeycomb flavors, with a hint of mineral on the finish. Not the most complex wine, but it’s got a unique style. Tasted blind, I wondered who slipped some Alsace into my Pacific Northwest samples. Turns out Adelsheim brought this grape (a blend of Pinot noir and Gouais Blanc) over from Alsace in the late 1970s. A rare varietal wine, and a fun one. (88 points)

2012 Adelsheim Pinot Gris Willamette Valley - Oregon, Willamette Valley
SRP: $19
On the nose, juicy white peach, white flowers, all sorts of fruit blossom-y notes. Some creaminess to the texture but this tingly acid soaks it all up. Racy, but full of lime, white peach and apricot. A sea salt note on the finish. A very precise and crisp wine that deserves the freshest of seafood. (89 points)

2011 Adelsheim Pinot Blanc Bryan Creek Vineyard - Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
SRP: $25
The nose is extremely floral, like a burst of orange blossom, honeysuckle and potpourri. Tangy on the palate, with tart grapefruit, orange peel and white cherry notes. Those flowers stick around on the palate, accenting the fruit. The finish is like white tea with lemon and honey, but the crisp acid lasts all the way. (88 points)

2010 Adelsheim Pinot Noir Bryan Creek Vineyard - Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
SRP: $75
Smells like currants and cranberries, along with spiced coffee and violets. I get the impression that the aromas are stunted at the moment, wound up, even after an hour of swirling in a massive Burgundy glass. Full on the palate, firm tannins, tangy acid. The currant and dark plum fruit have these concentrated and rustic themes. Juicy, some notes of tobacco and roasted red pepper. Mocha and toast, but not too much. Showing signs of future elegance, but a bit tightly-wound now. (91 points)

2010 Adelsheim Pinot Noir Elizabeth’s Reserve - Oregon, Willamette Valley
SRP: $55

Really intriguing aromatically. The first thing I notice is a goat cheese aroma. Seriously. It fades after a bit, morphs into this kind of mushroom thing, but on first pour: dead ringer for goat cheese. I get some rich cherry and raspberry as well, with some earthy and incense notes. Tangy acid matches up with firm tannins, and the wine shows a sense of grit and tartness. Bright red fruit is framed by notes of soil, roasted coffee and soy sauce. I think the complexity will only grow over the next five years or so. Blended from 12 vineyards across the Willamette Valley. (90 points)

2008 Adelsheim Pinot Noir Vintage 31 - Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
SRP: $180
Bold aromas of tangy cherries, red plums, along with a kick of red flowers, tobacco, cedar and nutmeg. Bright on the palate, framed with moderate acid, the tannins are fine-grained but show solid grip. The cherry and red currant fruit tastes snappy and fresh, and it’s backed up by notes of chewing tobacco, mint, roasted coffee and cedar. I like the zip on the finish. Seems to be drinking well now but will probably age well in the near term. I was more than a bit shocked at the price. A good wine, but — holy hell! — that’s a lot of money. (90 points)

2010 Adelsheim Syrah Calkins Lane Vineyard - Oregon, Willamette Valley
SRP: $45
Dark purple color with bright rims. Darker and deeper on the nose, with black cherries, currants, lots of loam and cedar, a bit of anise as well. Full-bodied with an incredibly silky texture. Fine tannins meet crisp acid. All sorts of red and black cherries and currants, equally matched with distinct olive, mushroom and tobacco flavors. The earthy aspects of this wine are really attractive. Integrated alcohol and moderate toast. Drinking well now right out of the bottle, but I’m sure this will improve over the next five+ years. Gorgeous stuff, and so elegant. I’d love to throw this in as a ringer in a blind Northern Rhone tasting. (93 points) 

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

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