Shea Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2017
Great for food pairing or delightful by itself, this Chardonnay has all the bright, crisp acidity one should expect from the varietal when grown in a cool climate. Melon, lemongrass and pear aromatics lead beautifully into a palate of green apple and stone fruits.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
This top-notch Chardonnay rests easy on the palate, rippled with citrus, apple, melon and guava fruit. Barrel fermented in French oak, 14% new, it’s fragrant in a toasted hazelnut tone and perfectly balanced around the fruit, barrel and acid components.
Limpid straw-yellow. Penetrating aromas of fresh pear, white peach and tarragon, along with building suggestions of chalky minerals and jasmine. Juicy and energetic on the palate, offering mineral-laced orchard and citrus fruit flavors that deepen slowly on the back half. The floral quality comes back strong on the incisive finish, which lingers with very good tenacity and tight focus. 14% new French oak.
Sleek and steely, with vibrant lemon and lime flavors, accented by a touch of minerality. Drink now.
Shea Vineyard, located in the Yamhill Foothills of Oregon's Willamette Valley, was first planted to wine grapes by Dick Shea in 1989 and 1990. Today the vineyard property consists of 200 hillside acres of which 140 are planted to wine grapes, largely Pinot Noir and a few acres of Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. The south facing vineyard sits in a viticultural region called the Willakenzie District. The soil of the vineyard is shallow and very well draining with sandstone subsoil. The vineyard has never been irrigated.
Currently the winery supplies several top Pinot Noir producers in Oregon (Archery Summit, Beaux Freres, Ken Wright, Panther Creek, and St. Innocent) and one in California (Sine Qua Non). The Wine Enthusiast in its annual review of Oregon wines in December 2000, wrote, "It is no coincidence that our two top rated wines... were made from fruit from Richard Shea's perennially superb Willamette Valley vineyard."
Yamhill-Carlton, characterized by pastoral, rolling hills composed of shallow, quick-draining, ancient marine soil, is ideal for Pinot noir and other cool-climate-loving varieties. It is in the rain shadow of the Coast Range to its west, whose highest point climbs to an altitude of 3,500 feet. Yamhill-Carlton is actually surrounded by mountains on three sides: Chehalem Mountains to the north, the Dundee Hills to the east and the western Coast Range to its west, which, when it lets Pacific air through, serves to cool the region.
Vineyards grow on the ridges surrounding the two small communities of Yamhill and Carlton and cover about 1,200 acres of this 60,000 acre region, which roughly makes a horse-shoe shape on a map.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.