92, Willakenzie 2018 Willamette Valley Chardonnay
It’s time to try a really great white varietal, Chardonnay, and from a locale in which Chardonnay produces a distinctive style, Oregon’s Willamette Valley! The DNA links point to Chardonnay being born in Burgundy in the 13th Century or earlier, probably from Gouais Blanc and Pinot Noir. In any event, Chardonnay permits a variety of styles especially depending upon locale. It has been cultivated widely worldwide, and has long been considered one of the noble grapes. Although some prefer little to no oak in their wines, Chardonnay has a strong affinity for oak aging and is worth a try both ways.
Our subject winery’s name WillaKenzie is a composite of the names Willamette and the McKenzie, two major rivers in Oregon’s Willamette Valley whose confluence is nearby in Eugene. WillaKenzie also refers to the prehistoric sedimentary soils in the Estate vineyards. The soils, deep well-drained silty clay loam over siltstone and sandstone, were deposited by ancient uplifted sea beds.
This wine is the third of three WillaKenzie wines that I am currently reviewing. Located in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA in the northern Willamette Valley, Oregon, the Estate is now part of Jackson Family Wines. The vineyards and winery are placed on three long inclined ridges, with the Tasting Room on the middle hilltop with views far into the picturesque landscape. The setting is gorgeous! For the background of the founders see my reviews,
WillaKenzie 2018 Estate Pinot Gris. and
Willakenzie Estate 2016 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.
Neutral straw in color, a major strength of WillaKenzie’s 2017 Estate Chardonnay lies in its understatement. It doesn’t need to broadcast. It gains veneration with each sip. Clearly, this wine tilts towards the Burgundy style, as opposed to tropical or California suntan, and represents Oregon’s cool climate appeal very well. Chamomile and mineral dominate the aromas with citrus, pomelos, and just a clue of lime zest on the palate. Underpinned with fresh acidity, this medium-light-weight begins lean but shows its fullness quickly while demonstrating character, complexity, focus, finesse, and good purity of its subtle fruit. Wanted, more Chardonnay like this one!
A sample for review.