USA / Portland, Willamette ValleyAdd to my wine list
2020 Division Chardonnay 'Un', Willamette Valley
Division Winemaking Co.
Portland, Willamette Valley
Nervy acidity and stone fruit layered with a strong savoury core, the Chardonnay 'Un' continues to get better and better each year featuring some the Willamette Valley’s best site. Years of matching the right barrels and fermentation techniques for each site has taken this wine to the next level!
The 2020 vintage in the Willamette Valley was incredibly challenging in many ways, beyond the operating impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The growing season was nearly perfect with ample rainfall through most of June. What followed in and July was warm dry conditions, not atypical for the region. However, in early September, a strong hot and dry wind event that led to several wildfires kicking off in the nearby western Cascade foothills. The persistent east to west winds for nearly 10 days, which are atypical, led to both high and low level smoke pinballing back and forth from the coast trade winds through the valley. Our Gamay sites were fortunately spared the worst of the smoke impact, partially because they were less ripe than other varieties and didn’t absorb as much of the smoke compounds, but the wildfire event led to difficult harvesting conditions nonetheless.
Chardonnay is perhaps the most malleable grape variety that we know of. It amplifies and latches on to where it came from, what it is fermented in, and nearly every growing or winemaking choice in a pronounced way. That is why we love it so much, but because of this, we were concerned that the wildfires would have an outsized voice in the wine. It's the little things with this grape though that mean so much and subtle changes to our protocols for this vintage ended up meaning so much. For this year, we hard settled the juice prior to fermentation and kept things a bit warmer to most the ferments quickly. Shorter élevage with lees from the prior vintage all led up to wines that showed purity of where they are from, but perhaps a little less focus on the vintage.