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Chehalem (‘Chuh-hay-lum’) is an American Indian word meaning “gentle land” or “valley of flowers.” This winery was initially owned by Harry Peterson-Nedry and Bill and Cathy Stoller. Peterson-Nedry has been growing grapes in Ribbon Ridge since 1980 and was the first to plant in this part of the Willamette Valley.
The first wine, a Pinot Noir, appeared in 1990 when the winery was founded. Prior to that, Peterson-Nedry planted a vineyard on Ribbon Ridge while working other jobs and started experimental winemaking in his garage. Peterson-Nedry formed a partnership with Bill Stoller in 1993 when the Stollers were planting their 125-acre vineyard in the Dundee Hills. The Stoller Vineyard remains one of Chehalem's main grape sources.
Chehalem has three distinct estate vineyards, Ridgecrest (originally 37 acres of own-rooted Pommard and Wädenswil planted in 1980; this vineyard was the first in the Ribbon Ridge appellation), Stoller, and Corral Creek (32 acres surrounding the winery).
The Reserve Pinot Noir is chosen from select barrels, primarily from Ridgecrest Vineyard and is a textbook Willamette Valley Pinot treat. A blend of the three vineyards, "3-Vineyards Pinot Noir," is an excellent value-priced wine. A number of well-crafted white Alsatian varieties and an unoaked Chardonnay are produced as well. The signature Chardonnay, Ian's Reserve, is a vineyard designate from Stoller Vineyard. Production is 100% estate grown.
The winemaker became Wynne Peterson-Nedry, Harry's daughter, who has worked at the winery since 1980. She obtained a degree in chemistry from Bryn Mawr College and a master's degree in enology and viticulture from UC Davis in 2008. She joined the winery in 2009 working side-by-side with her father and became the winemaker in 2012. Total production is 20,000 cases (45% Pinot Noir). The viticulturist was Chad Douglas.
In February 2018, Bill Stoller became the sole owner of Chehalem Winery and Corral Creek Vineyard. Shortly thereafter, Wynne departed as winemaker. Chad Douglas left Chehalem in 2017. Jason Tosch then joined Stoller Family Estate as VP of Vineyard Operations and took over all vineyard management duties for Bill's vineyards at that time.
Bill and Harry divided Ridgecrest with Harry owning about 48 acres. Stoller owns 29 acres of Ridgecrest, of which 16 are currently planted.
A tasting room is open at 106 S Center St., Newberg. New labels appeared in 2013, replacing the former abstract paint compositions with photographs taken in the vineyard.
2014 Chehalem Three Vineyard Willanette Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 6,625 cases, $32, screwcap. Winemaker Wynne Peterson- Nedry notes, “In Oregon, the bar has been raised to demand this be our calling card for the Willamette Valley and the vintage. A proud introduction before the more pampered wines are later released.” Primarily Corral Creek and Ridgecrest vineyards with a small amount of Stoller Vineyard. Aged in a small amount of new French oak barrels. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. The aromas gain traction over time in the glass, offering scents of cherry, raspberry and herb garden. Light in weight, with flavors of black cherry, dark red berry and savory herbs framed by integrated tannins. Some noticeable length and intensity on the finish. Score: 89. Reviewed August 29, 2016 ARTICLE »
2013 Chehalem Ian’s Reserve Willamette Valley Chardonnay
12.0% alc., , $40, screwcap. A reserve barrel selection of wines from Stoller and Corral Creek vineyards. Dijon clones. Aged in 31% new and 26% onceused French oak barrels. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Nicely appointed with aromas of ripe pear, lemon curd and custard. Satiny smooth in texture, with robust flavors of lemon, brioche and crème brûlée. Admirable balance and some length on the crisp, stone-ground and citrus-driven finish. Score: 92. Reviewed July 9, 2016 ARTICLE »
2012 Chehalem Ian’s Reserve Stoller Vineyard Dundee Hills Oregon Chardonnay
13.9% alc., $40, screwcap. Dijon clones. Aged in French oak barrels, 34% new and 33% once-used. · Moderately light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Complex aromas of lemon custard, crusty apple pie and spice along with a hint of reduction lead off. Nicely composed, strutting a clean and bright personality that is full of sunlight, with flavors of lemon, green apple, baked pear, caramel and toasty brioche, finishing on a soprano note with lemonlime acidity. Score: 92. Reviewed July 9, 2016 ARTICLE »
2012 Chehalem Stoller Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.58, 426 cases, $50. Harvest Brix 24.2º-24.5º. Aged 11 months in 100% new French oak barrels, 50% new and 445 1-year-old. Crossflow filtered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Extremely fragrant with hi-tone aromas of dark raspberries, cassis and toasty oak. Suave on the palate, with robust, flavors of black raspberry, black plum, tea, and spice framed by mildly grippy tannins. Somewhat earthy, with a tug of oak in the background. Impressive fruit intensity and finishing length. Score: 91. Reviewed March 16, 2015 ARTICLE »
2012 CHEHALEM Ridgecrest Vineyards Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Reserve Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.65, 463 cases, $80, screwcap. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 42% new and 42% once used. This is the winery’s top-of-the-line wine and is the first vintage Wynne was responsible making in total. Ridgecrest’s 28th harvest. A rare hailstorm in the spring on Ribbon Ridge clipped the crop short to half normal and helped to concentrate the wine even more. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Penetrating aromas of black cherry syrup with a compliment of nutty oak. A robust mid weight plus wine that offers both power and elegance. Very soft in the mouth, with an intense charge of well-ripened boysenberry, blueberry and pomegranate fruits and a touch of cedary oak in the background. The finish has impressive staying power and there is enough structural tannin to predict a long life ahead. Score: 92. Reviewed September 29, 2015 ARTICLE »
2008 Chehalem 3 Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.1% alc., pH 3.64, 4,529 cases, $27, screw cap. 45% Stoller Vineyard, 30% Corral Creek Vineyard, 25% Ridgecrest Vineyard (all estate). Always the first Chehalem Pinot Noir released (February, 2010). Aged 9 months in 23% new, 33% one-use and 44% multiple-use French oak barrels. · Demure fruit aromas with a heavy slug of toasty oak and toffee. The oak is less noticeable on the palate with pleasing flavors of strawberries and black raspberries framed by mild and slightly astringent tannins with balanced acidity. Hints of tea and pepper add interest. An everyday drinker. Good. Reviewed January 27, 2011 ARTICLE »
2008 Chehalem Stoller Vineyards Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., $36, screw cap. · Aromas of dark red cherries and berries, generously oaked. Very demure and reserved red berry flavors which are rather linear. Soft and smooth with a well-proportioned tannic backbone and oak playing a supporting role. Like many 2008 Pinot Noirs from Oregon, this one needs more time in the cellar. Potentially charming. Good. Reviewed March 2, 2011 ARTICLE »
2006 Chehalem Willamette Valley Pinot Gris
15.5% alc., $19. Alsatian bottle, screw cap. 0.6% residual sugar. · Scents of pear, honey, and fermenting white grapes. Brioche, melon and citrus on the full palate with a faint hint of sweetness. A distinct rich style in the Alsatian mold. Reviewed March 26, 2009 ARTICLE »
2006 Chehalem Cerise Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 391 cases, $24. 80% Gamay Noir, 20% Pinot Noir. “Cerise” is cherry in French. This wine is analogous to passetoutgrains in Burgundy which is made for drinking while the highly structured Pinot Noirs develop. Cerise has been produced since 1992. There are two acres of Gamay Noir planted at Ridgecrest Vineyard, a 55-acre planting on a 176-acre property which pioneered grape growing on Ribbon Ridge in 1980. Aged 9 months in barrel, racked twice, sterile filtered. · The nose is restrained, showing blue and black berries, oak and some good barnyard. The wine offers black grape flavors with respectable richness and body. Anise and pepper notes add interest and the dry finish has a spirited grip of citrus zest. A good change up from the sea of Pinot Noir. Reviewed March 26, 2009 ARTICLE »
2006 Chehalem 3 Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.8% alc.,4,053 cases, $32 screw cap. Chehalem (Chuh-hay-lum) is a local Calapooia Indian word best translated as “gentle land” or “valley of flowers.” Chehalem has 260 planted acres on 600 total acres in three AVAS (Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills and Ribbon Ridge). Chehalem was launched in 1990 by Harry Peterson-Nedry along with Bill and Cathy Stoller. This wine is the first release of the vintage and is ready to drink. It is sourced from three estate vineyards: Ridgecrest (25%), Stoller (60%), and Corral Creek (15%). Aged 9 months in 25% new, 27% one-use, and 48% multiple-use French barrels. DE filtrated. · Bright confected strawberry and cherry scents similar to a Beaujolais wine. A pleasing core of earth-kissed red fruit which is lightly weighted with a short, dry finish that leaves a little heat in its wake. Reviewed September 15, 2008 ARTICLE »
2006 Chehalem Corral Creek Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir
15.3% alc., 299 cases, $44. Corral Creek Vineyards surround the winery and were planted in 1983 by John and Diane Howieson, founders of Veritas Winery, from whom the vineyard was acquired in 1995. This 28- acre vineyard is predominantly planted to Pinot Noir. Soils are Laurelwood. Visible from Highway 99W, Corral Creek is a much photographed vineyard. Aged 11 months in 39% new French oak barrels. · Aromas of rose petals, red fruits, oak and loam lead to medium-weighted flavors of black cherries which are delicately spiced, oaked and tart. Nicely balanced and somewhat elegant with decent cherry aromas that offer some persistence on the finish. Reviewed December 17, 2008 ARTICLE »
2006 Chehalem Ridgecrest Vineyards Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir
15.2% alc., 587 cases, $44. Chehalem has had this bottling since its first release in 1990. Ridgecrest is a 55-acre vineyard on a 176-acre property. This site pioneered grape growing on Ribbon Ridge and dates to 1980. The soils are Willakenzie. Native yeast fermentation, 30% whole cluster, 6-10 days premaceration, aged 10 months, racking twice, with 50% new French oak barrels. · A powerhouse of a wine with intense aromas of crushed black cherries, spice, soy and roasted nuts. Mouth-coating with copious sweet, tangy black fruit that grabs a hold and persists on the finish. The racy acidity predicts a long life ahead. Reviewed December 17, 2008 ARTICLE »
2004 Chehalem Reserve Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Chehalem (‘Chuh-hay-lum’) is an American Indian word meaning “gentle land” or “valley of flowers.” This winery is owned by Harry Peterson- Nedry and Bill and Cathy Stoller. Chehalem has three distinct estate vineyards, Ridgecrest, Stoller, and Corral Creek. The Reserve Pinot Noir is chosen from select barrels, primarily from Ridgecrest Vineyard. Website: www.chehalemwines.com. · Very nice restraint here but plenty of zip and zing. The balance is right on. This is almost too good for mortals. Reviewed August 6, 2007 ARTICLE »
1999 Chehalem Jacob-Hart Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc.. · Slightly oxidized, but still a decent drink. Rich nose of cherries and vanillin and a pleasing mid-palate sweet fruit array that was fading. Reviewed March 27, 2007 ARTICLE »