Wine Reviews: Oregon

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 06-15-2019

It’s been a while since I’ve focused on some Oregon wines, but this week I have some special bottles that remind me why I fell in love with Oregon in the first place.

I’ve written a lot in the past about Troon Vineyard’s Applegate Valley wines over the years. With an organic and biodynamic approach and a seemingly endless desire to experiment with different varieties, blends, and styles, I’m always excited to see what they come up with next.

This was my first time tasting wines from Hazelfern Cellars, and I was immediately impressed. This is a family effort of husband-wife duo Bryan and Laura Laing, who founded this project in 2014. They started making wine together in their Portland basement in 2006 — fast forward to 2015, when they planted an estate vineyard with Pinot Noir, Gamay and Trousseau in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. If these two Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs are any sign, they have things honed in remarkably well. Seems to me a winery to watch in the future.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

thumbnail (15)2018 Troon Vineyard Côtes du Kubli BlancOregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $35
Light yellow color. So bright and inviting on the nose, a delightful saltiness and wildflowers and herbal tones, with apricot, lemon, green melon, some white tea and honeycomb. On the palate, there’s great depth of texture but also bright acidity and brisk minerality that pervade the wine. Juicy melon and apricot with tart lime, topped in all sorts of flowers, crushed chalk, white tea, salted almond – some mint and ginger elements that are really attractive. Beautiful stuff that may make doubters of white Rhone blends think again. 51% Viognier, 28% Marsanne, 21% Roussanne, aged six months in old French oak. (92 points IJB)

2017 Hazelfern ChardonnayOregon, Willamette Valley
SRP: $35
Light yellow color. Nose boasts lemon crème, apricot and orange marmalade, with ginger and honey, sea salt and chalk dust notes. On the palate, there’s a great balance between creamy depth and precise acidity, with minerals, saline and chalk dust notes. Lemons, apricot, orange and peach, with accents of ginger, graham cracker and floral perfume. Very pretty, elegant and balanced. Aged 11 months in 17% new French oak. (91 points IJB)

2017 Hazelfern Chardonnay Rock BlockOregon, Willamette Valley
SRP: $48thumbnail (14)
Rich yellow color. Intoxicating aromas of lemon curd, peach, nectarine, with crushed chalk, sea spray, ginger, mint and a lovely sense of breezy air over wildflowers. Plush texture on the palate, medium-bodied and creamy but full of zippy acidity. Fresh and tangy fruit (apricot, lemon crème, green melon), laced with complexities of ginger, honeycomb, chalk, crushed shells, sea salt. Nuanced graham cracker and vanilla elements woven in expertly. Lovely Willamette Valley Chardonnay that should age beautifully. (93 points IJB)

2017 Hazelfern Pinot Noir Robinson Family VineyardOregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
SRP: $48
Bright ruby color. Aromas of juicy raspberries, cherries, strawberries, along with rhubarb, violets, cocoa, spiced tea and wild herbs. On the palate this is bright and lively with moderate strength tannins and crisp acidity, and the balance is lovely. Layers of bright red fruits mix with complex notes of violets, mint, rhubarb, tobacco, black pepper. There are some savory and mineral undertones underneath that should come out more with time. This is a wonderful Pinot Noir that should ever better in a few years. Aged 12 months in 25% new French oak. (93 points IJB)

2017 Hazelfern Pinot Noir Ana Vineyard - Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
SRP: $48
Bold ruby color. The nose shows juicy raspberries and black cherries, red apple peel, along with savory elements, spicy herbs, anise, rose petals. On the palate, this is medium/full-bodied with a juicy texture but vibrant acidity, dusty tannins. Ripe but tangy cherries and plums, candied apple and raspberry, with a good mix of cola, birch, violets, some earthy, pine, floral, coffee complexities, too. This is balanced in its youth, but could benefit from aging as well. Aged 12 months in 29% new French Oak. (92 points IJB)

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