2019 Hundred Suns Winery, Chardonnay, Old Eight Cut, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
The beautifully crisp and energetic Old Eight Cut Chardonnay by Hundred Suns Winery is an outstanding, Chablis like wine that is bursting with mineral and steely grace as well as a bright layering of lemon, apple, pear and tangy stone fruit with hints of wet stone, clove, bitter almond paste and a touch of leesy toast. This snappy Chard was a brilliant companion to a lobster roll and will be great with traditional Bay Area holiday cracked crab and or a roast turkey feast. Made by ex Beaux Freres winemaker Grant Coulter and his wife Renée Saint-Amour, this Chardonnay joins their awesome lineup of Willamette Valley Pinots along with some exotic bottlings of Gamay, Grenache and most recently a rare Willamette Valley Vidon Vineyard Syrah, with some tase tasting efforts seeing whole cluster, carbonic fermentations and the use of terra-cotta amphora. Grant, who is from the Monterey Bay area, something I learned after meeting him briefly when I visited Beaux Freres at harvest time back in 2008, is one of my favorite Oregon winemakers and I have been thrilled with these Hundred Suns wines, once I found out about them. Coulter is also the head winemaker and vineyard manager at Flaneur Vineyards, where he makes some fabulous wines as well, including as expected some riveting Willamette Pinots, a few of which I’ve really enjoyed, along with Chardonnay and a sparkling wine, that I hope to sample in the near future.
This bottling of Coulter and Saint-Amour’s Old Eight Cut Chardonnay is their first white wine under their label, which then founded in 2015 and Hundred Suns Wine’s first vintage of Chardonnay. The new Old Eight Cut Chardonnay grapes were sourced, as the winery notes, from two organically farmed vineyards in the Eola-Hills. Firstly, the Bracken Vineyard, which sits between 630-730 feet on a combination of volcanic soils (Nekia, Ritner, Witzel and Jory) of varying depths that shows in the unique mineral focus in the wine along with the Koosah Vineyard, a stunning high-elevation site perched at 1,000 feet. Coulter adds that both lots were whole cluster pressed into 500 liter neutral puncheons, well seasoned French oak, and saw a natural slow indigenous fermentation, then the Chardonnay was allowed to mature with 11 months of sur lee aging, that Grant explains helped produced a wine with bright acid, stone fruit, and floral aromatics, which do indeed play roles on the medium bodied and lively palate. This exceptionally well made hand crafted wine is a killer value, joining the Pinot version in the Old Eight Cut line, and I highly recommend scoring it while you can, as these are very limited items, also I suggest exploring the upper end of the range of single vineyard Pinots, which are absolutely stunning along with the mentioned Gamay, one of my favorites, and the brand new Super Moon Syrah, both of which I just got and will review soon. In the last few years the quality of Oregon whites has really jumped up, where we only saw Pinot Gris a while ago, especially the Chards, like this one show huge potential, but be sure to explore Willamette Valley Pinot Blanc and Riesling. Get on the Hundred Suns mailing list and taste the exciting future of Oregon wines!
($30 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive