Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chehalem Winery Oregon Pinot Noir Ridgecrest (2006)

I have previously reviewed a wine from Chehalem, the Cerise, which was very good blend of Gamay Noir and Pinot Noir.  Chehalem (chuh-HAY-lem) is a vineyard in the Willamette Valley of Oregon that, like nearly all of the vineyards in the valley, produces some great Pinot Noir wines. 

Chehalem began with Harry Peterson-Nedry at the Ridgecrest Vineyards, one of the first wineries on Ribbon Ridge, northwest of Newberg, Oregon.  The vineyard's first release was the 1990 Ridgecrest Pinot Noir.  Fast forward sixteen years later, Clare and I were traveling through the Willamette Valley on our honeymoon and we stopped by the Chehalem tasting room.  We had the opportunity to taste a few of the winery's selections, both white and red.  We really liked the wines; and, as we did at every vineyard we stopped at, we purchased a bottle or two of their wines, including the 2006 Oregon Pinot Noir Ridgecrest.

The Ridgecrest Pinot Noir pours a perfect crimson red.  The edges of the wine show have a nice lighter red to almost clear ring, which shows that the wine aged nicely over five years. Even after all of that time, the aromatics of this wine are still fresh, full of red cherries, and blackberries.  There is a hint of pepper in the aroma.  The taste of this wine is much fruitier than some of the other Pinot Noir wines that I've had, which have tastes of darker fruit, earth and/or some spice.  The fruit is in the front of the wine and carries through to the finish. 

Like most red wines, this wine goes very well with red meats and red sauces.  In particular, I paired this wine with my Maccheroni alla Chitarra con Aragosta ed i Funghi.  The San Marzano tomato sauce, with just enough peperoncino, was a very good pairing with the fruitiness of this wine.

We picked up a bottle of this wine at the tasting room in Newberg, Oregon.  I checked the website and the Ridgecrest was not listed among the current offerings. Hopefully, newer vintages will become available.


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