August 11, 2008

Oregon vineyard maps, part 3: Chehalem Mountains

After the Dundee Hills and McMinnville AVAs, let’s turn our attentions to Chehalem Mountains. Find a copy of the Chehalem Mountains AVA map from the Oregon Wine Board and The Map Store here.

When you look over this large area, a few things become clear. First, there are two American Viticultural Areas detailed here, Chehalem Mountains and Ribbon Ridge. Second, Chehalem Mountains is a sprawling AVA with three or four subregions and varying soil types of volcanic and sedimentary orgin. Third, Ribbon Ridge is the distinct north/south flank tucked into the western edge of the Chehalem Mountains.

The Chehalem Mountains AVA begins in the south with Parrett Mountain, an old basalt pile with some of the rockiest vineyards in all of the northern Willamette Valley. Previously I wrote about the diversity of the Le Cadeau Vineyard. I’m also a fan of McKinlay wine, so check out the two pieces of McKinlay vineyard as well as the Ladd Hill Vineyard also bottled by that producer.

Other vineyards that catch my eye are J.K. Carriere, the very high quality label produced by Jim Prosser, and Carabella vineyard, a label I’ve never tried but one I notice more and more I notice in others’ bottlings, such as Dedaleus. Before seeing this map, I didn’t know that Lemelson, over in the Yamhill-Carlton district, has the Chestnut Hill Vineyard here.

Moving north, the next subregion is, for lack of a better term, the Oregon Highway 99W corridor. In here I’ll place Chehalem winery’s Corral Creek vineyard, Rex Hill, the newer Nicholas vineyard, and the vastly increased plantings of the Pamplin Family / Anne Amie on Bell Road that aren’t exactly shown completely on this map. From the Pamplin Family Winery and the more established Marylin Vineyard, newer plantings that seem to be labeled as Justin Grant and Louise (not to be confused with Cristom’s Louise vineyard) actually wrap all around from Marylin.

If you take the Bell Road short cut from 99W over to North Valley Road, in this area you’ll see my favorite unplanted site. It’s the top of the hill above Bell Road where the road wraps around, directly above where August Cellars Vyd is printed on the map. (You have to love those topo lines on these maps.) Currently it all looks like hay, but someday perhaps it will be vines. What an exposure.

Now to the west, along North Valley Road to the next subregion, the southern flank of the Chehalem Mountains proper. First, at Springbrook Road there’s a vineyard I’ve long observed without knowing whose it was. Until now. It’s the Ellis Vineyard of Adelsheim, I think half pinot noir and half I’m guessing chardonnay. Then the tiny Le Privé vineyard and the notably steep Medici vineyard. You can see it from Newberg; it runs high up a direct south slope. Beautiful, but probably tough farming.

Then along North Valley Road (watch your speed, even if it’s straight). There’s a bench at the base of the steeper mountain slope with well known sites such as Rex Hill’s Jacob-Hart, various Adelsheim sites, Vidon, and further along, Adelsheim’s home vineyard, Bergstrom’s de Lancellotti, and, naturally, the respected Chehalem Mountain Vineyard.

The rest of Chehalem Mountains is the more remote northern area, truly the most sprawling. From the east, there are sites made notable by Siduri wines in Santa Rosa, CA. Siduri’s made Oregon wine down south for more than a decade, these days mostly from Aubre Vert (misnamed “Arbre Vert” here), Hawks View, Shaw Mountain (not shown, but also off Edy Road), and more recently Beran Vineyard to the northwest.

The rest of that northern area of the AVA is sporadically planted, with some small Ponzi vineyards, Gypsy Dancer from the former owners of Archery Summit in the Dundee Hills, and a few others I honestly have never heard of. Beyond the AVA boundaries to the northeast, you’ll also notice a few sites from Cooper Mountain Vineyards, and the original Ponzi Estate Vineyard, just outside of Beaverton.

Next time, a closer look at Ribbon Ridge.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, McKinlay 1997 is great. I've been enjoying 2005 Merlot recently. My cousin Matt does a great job with all his vines. Wish he had a marketing spot like Wine Library TV with all of the hooks into social software.

Found it because I am a librarian seaching pomenol, which is similar to pomerol. Found out that a pomegranate variety can grow in a wet climate. Susan McKinlay