#24 – 2009 Chehalem ‘Ridgecrest Vineyard’ Pinot Noir – Ribbon Ridge, Oregon

Estimated retail: $45

Chehalem doesn’t quite qualify as being part of Oregon’s “Founding Farmer’s,” who first planted in the region 50 years ago, but they are unquestionably one of the state’s pioneers. Owner/winemaker emeritus Harry Peterson-Nedry began in Oregon in 1980 at Ridgecrest Vineyards. He and Chehalem have been beloved and well-respected ever since. They are also the most ardent supporter of screw-top closure wines in Oregon. Harry’s background in manufacturing and degree in chemistry has been well applied over the years and is one of the reasons he is such a big believer in screw-tops. He has done the science and has been testing the process for more than 15 years.

The Ridgecrest Vineyard is their original estate vineyard. It sits up on an area known as the Ribbon Ridge (a region that has become very prized thanks to Chehalem and Beaux Frères). The combination of higher elevation and older vines consistently yields some of their most powerful wines. It’s planted to a mixture of clones with the Pommard version being the most significant. Each clone of Pinot brings different flavor profiles to the mix, helping add nuance and depth to the final wine. The 2009 is an elegant rendition. There’s a lovely medley of vibrant red fruit, soft floral notes, hints of musky earth, tea leaf, and surprising minerality. This is a fantastic pairing to some wild salmon cooked en papillote (in wax paper) with a mixture of mushrooms, garlic, sorrel, and a touch of butter. ∞

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