Although best known for his Pinot noirs,
Ken Wright makes beautiful white wines in the French style. His Chardonnays
have long ageability, with structure to hold for years. These are elegant,
light, nervy wines to savor with fine food. The flavors are true to
the fruit and expressive of the terroir of the vineyards where the grapes
McCrone Vineyard is the source of one of
Ken's single vineyard Pinot noirs, and is now the source of one of
his 3 single vineyard Chardonays as well. The vineyard is located
in the Yamhill foothills and is densely planted, the soil is Willakenzie
type and is well drained and promotes earlier ripening.
Celilo Chardonnay 99
Celilo is one of the vineyards Ken
has produced Chardonnay from in the past, and this year, he is selling
it as one of his 3 single vineyard Chardonnays.
This is a unique vineyard situated
on a 1,000' bluff overlooking the Columbia River in the Columbia River
Gorge. It lies on the south face of Mount Underwood, which is currently
an inactive volcano. The soil is pulverized basalt, extremely porous
and loose, which promotes deep rooting.
The vineyard was planted in
1983. Unlike the Chardonnay grown in the hot eastern desert of Washington,
this is a much cooler site. As a result, the fruit retains more acidity
and the wine displays a clean mineral character. 575 cases produced.
Chardonnay Carabella Vineyard 99
Carabella Vineyard is known
for its excellent Dijon 76 Clone Chardonnay grapes. This year, Ken is
releasing this Chardonnay as one of 3 single vineyard offerings.Carabella
Vineyard is located on the east side of Parrot Mountain in an area known
as Ladd Hill. All of the fruit in this bottling is derived from the
Dijon 76 clone on 3309 rootstock. The soil type is volcanic in origin
and named Nekia. Elevation is 450' to 600'. 320 cases produced.
Chardonnay Oregon 1998
The 1998 vintage is Ken's third release
of the "Dijon 76" clone of Chardonnay from Oregon. Grown
in the Willamette Valley, this clone is convincing Ken that Chardonnays
of great depth and complexity can be made from fruit on his own hillsides.
He sourced two tons of Chardonnay from three different sites: McCrone,
Carabella, and Kircher vineyards, and blended them together for this
wine. Each of the sites produced a meager two tons of fruit per acre.
The juice was barrel fermented in 100% Vosges Forest oak and left
in contact with the original yeast (sur lees) until bottling. Racking
was performed with nitrogen pressure rather than a pump. The scents
of the wine are of honey and fruit, the flavor s are of true Chardonnay
fruit, a light hint of butter, a glyceriny mouth feel, and a finish
of oaky vanilla, balanced by lots of flinty mineral flavors. 481 cases
Chardonnay Celilo Vineyard
1998 sold out
The Celilo vineyard is very well regarded for the quality of its Chardonnay
fruit. Woodward Canyon, Panther Creek, and many other highly regarded
wineries source their Chardonnay fruit from Celilo. It is located
on a 1000' bluff overlooking the Columbia River in Washington State.
It lies on the south face of Mount Underwood, a currently inactive
volcano. The soil is pulverized basalt, extremely porous and loose,
which promotes deep rooting. The vineyard was planted in 1983, and
unlike Chardonnay grown in the hot Eastern Washington desert, the
site is cool. As a result, the fruit retains acidity and the wines
display mineral character and complexity.
574 cases of the 1998 were produced.
Melon de Bourgogne 1998 The fruit for the Melon is wholly from the Etoile Vineyard in the
Dundee Hills. The 3 acre site was planted in 1993 at an elevation of
700'. Thought the variety is one and the same as Muscadet, the characteristics
of the wine bear little resemblance to its' Loire Valley relative. Though
dry, there is a sense of sweetness and a strong apricot character to
the wine that complements spicy foods and Asian cuisine particularly
well. Scent of fresh grapefruit peel is followed by apple notes and
a clean, light finish. The color is clean crisp yellow with hints of
The wine was fermented in Vosges Forest oak until dryness and left in
contact with the original yeast (sur lees) to add texture. The 1998
is the last vintage of this wine- the vinyard has been grafted over
to Chardonnay. 447 cases were produced. sold out and he has discontinued this varietal
Pinot Blanc Freedom Hill 1998 Pinot Blanc is a lighter colored natural mutation of Pinot Gris.
The 1998 Pinot Blanc from Ken is the third crop of Pinot Blanc from
a new planting at the well known Freedom Hill Vineyard. After presing,
the juice was settled for one day to clarify and then racked to neutral
French oak barrels for fermentation. The new wine remained in barrel
with the original yeast (sur lees) and was not racked until bottling.
The scent of the wine is light, and the wines shows lots of mineral
flavors in a light but concentrated style. Crisp acidity and flavors
of lemon peel, a warm hint of butter and lots of complex mineral notes
complete the palate. 366 cases produced. ----- sold out