Ponzi Vineyards

Chardonnay Reserve 2017

Laurelwood District, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley

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In the early 1990s, Luisa Ponzi lived and worked with one of the greatest white wine producers of Burgundy while continuing her studies in viticulture and winemaking. The Chardonnay she experienced there became a passion and, upon her return to Oregon, a mission. She has been one of the most outspoken advocates of Chardonnay in Oregon, with nearly 3 decades’ experience in experimentation with clones and soil types, and we can say today is making some of the most compelling Chardonnay in the United States.

Ponzi was in fact one of the first to plant and produce Chardonnay in Oregon, in the early 1970s. The difficulties with those early vintages for producers in Oregon was due to the use of a warm-weather clone brought from California, which could not ripen fully in Oregon. In the early 1990s Ponzi started planting Dijonclones, and that change altered the path of Oregon Chardonnay. Luisa went further, experimenting with additional clones and rootstocks, and then with the vinification. It’s safe to say that Luisa Ponzi’s breadth of experience with Chardonnay in Oregon is unparalleled.

Now labeled with the Laurelwood District AVA designation, Oregon’s first soil-based AVA, the 2017 Chardonnay Reserve features a new label design with a textured effect that resembles the layers of the Laurelwood soils. 

Vineyard

The 2017 Chardonnay Reserve is a true expression of America’s newest AVA, featuring Ponzi’s original 1970s historic estate chardonnay and LIVE Certified Sustainable Avellana and Aurora Vineyards blended with Paloma, Alloro, and Three Cedars Vineyards all planted on Laurelwood soil in the Laurelwood AVA. Each of the sites in this wine offers a different aspect, vine age, and root depth. This subregion of the Chehalem Mountains spreads across the northern slopes, largely protected from coastal rains, allowing the basalt soils to retain water in the spring and slowly, evenly drain throughout the growing season, bringing an inherent balance to the grape and a measured intensity to the wines.

Winemaking

Harvest: Sep-Oct 2017
Variety: 100% Chardonnay
Fermentation: whole-cluster pressed and fermented in French oak barrels (10% new) with partial wild yeast. Malolactic fermentation was spontaneous and 100%.
Aging: 20 months in barrel, 12 in very neutral oak, 3 months in bottle

Vintage

The 2017 vintage was a welcome throwback to more classic vintages after five consecutive warm years. The winter was unusually cold and snowy. That extended into a cool spring, delaying bud break by a few weeks into April and bloom following suit in late June. The summer was dry and warm for the most part, although there were plenty of grey skies due to smoke from fires in the north and east. Fortunately, the Willamette Valley was spared any effect from the smoke and may have even benefited from some protection from sunburn in the hottest part of the summer. Fruit set was very large, so judicious fruit thinning was required to maintain quality and control volume. Harvest began in late September and long mild days ensued. Cool nights kept acids brilliant and bits of rain here and there ensured beautiful conditions for ripe, clean fruit with mature skin and seed tannin. Reminiscent of recent 2010 and 2011 vintages, 2017 will be one to enjoy immediately and for the long term.

Tasting Note

“This gorgeous floral nose holds notes of white lavender and jasmine mingled with aromas of nutmeg, clove, white pepper and key lime. The mouth is a collage of meringue, peach, D’anjou pear and citrus surrounding a silky sweetness that lingers with a salty, slate minerality on the finish.” –Winemaker Luisa Ponzi

Food Pairing

This fresh, cool-climate style of Chardonnay pairs well with salty and creamy dishes, such as fresh oysters, trout amandine, creamy risottos, or simply roasted chicken with lemon and herbs.

Color

White

Grape Varieties

Chardonnay

Appellation

Laurelwood District, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley

Farming

LIVE Certified Sustainable

Alcohol

13.4%

Suggested Retail Price

$40.00

Reviews

"Sleek and pretty"

Wine Spectator -

"Sleek and pretty, offering multilayered pear and toasty spice flavors that fan out on a polished finish." - TF

"Creamy and deliciously"

James Suckling -

"Spiced apples, apricot tart, lemon curd and honeysuckle on the nose with a touch of salted caramel. It’s full-bodied with excellent texture and bright acidity. Creamy and deliciously buttery, yet fresh." - J.S. 

"Top-tier quality at a moderate cost"

Wine Enthusiast -

Editors' Choice 

"Recently sold to Champagne Bollinger, Ponzi is using the most recent releases to showcase the newly approved Laurelwood District AVA. Although the single-vineyard 2018 estate Chardonnays have already been released, this late breaking 2017 reserve is all-estate fruit and shows the same careful winemaking as all the earlier releases. Toasty flavors of nutmeg, Key lime, crisp pear and a lovely saline note combine gracefully, offering top-tier quality at a moderate cost." - P.G. 

More on Ponzi Vineyards Chardonnay Reserve 2017

Trade Materials

Other Wines by this Producer

Pinot Gris

Willamette Valley

One of the original and most recognized Oregon and U.S. Pinot Gris producers, Ponzi was a major influence in establishing Pinot Gris as the first quality white grape variety in Oregon. Ponzi's Pinot Gris is an irresistably aromatic and expressive wine, and serves as a first encounter for many wine drinkers with Oregon wines and the Ponzi estate.

Pinot Blanc

Willamette Valley

Pinot blanc was planted at Aurora Vineyard in the early 1990s, taking advantage of an ideal portion of the 80-acre site. This versatile white wine is a wonderful alternative to Pinot gris. Beautiful floral aromas of jasmine and magnolia mingle with notes of lychee, lemongrass, beeswax and green tea mochi with a touch of cardamom. The textured mouth is reminiscent of shortbread and the freshness of rainwater and wet slate with bright, juicy acidity that encourages another sip.

Laurelwood Pinot Noir

Laurelwood District, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley

For over 50 years, the Ponzi family has farmed 140 acres of certified sustainable vineyards all planted on Laurelwood soil. Situated along the Northern ridge of the Willamette Valley, these ancient soils are comprised of fractured basalt layered over with a fine, windblown sediment called loess. A decade-long effort by sisters Maria and Luisa, alongside their neighbors has resulted in the recognition of Oregon’s first soil-based AVA, the Laurelwood District. The inaugural 2017 vintage boasts the new label design, with a textured effect that resembles the layers of the Laurelwood soils. 

Tavola Pinot Noir

Willamette Valley

Tavola is Ponzi's delicious early release Pinot Noir, a fruit-forward wine with soft tannins, made primarily from younger, lower elevations vines. Meant for early consumption, it is an unbeatable value for quality Pinot Noir. 

Classico Pinot Noir

Willamette Valley

The "classic" representation of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, this wine encapsulates the experience, innovation, top vineyard sources, and expertise of the pioneering Ponzi family. Among the first to make Pinot Noir in Oregon and the United States and, since the start, among the very best. 

Pinot Noir Reserve

Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley

Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Noir Reserve is the epitome of restrained power. It hails from estate grown fruit on Laurelwood soils in the Chehalem Mountains, including from some of Oregon’s oldest vines. This remarkably complex wine is handcrafted with tremendous attention to detail.

Aurora Chardonnay

Willamette Valley

Oregon Chardonnays present an unparalleled combination of bright acidity, texture and freshness of fruit on the mid-palate. Winemaker Luisa Ponzi’s goal is to allow the wines to express these characteristics each vintage through single vineyard expressions. Aurora yields an elegant wine with bright acidity and fruit.

Avellana Chardonnay

Willamette Valley

Oregon Chardonnays present an unparalleled combination of bright acidity, texture and freshness of fruit on the mid-palate. Winemaker Luisa Ponzi’s goal is to allow the wines to express these characteristics each vintage through single vineyard expressions. Planted in 2006, Avellana yields a richer, weightier style of Chardonnay as compared to the Aurora single vineyard wine.

Aurora Pinot Noir

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Aurora means sunrise and represents an unparalleled combination of bright acidity, texture and freshness of fruit on the mid-palate. Winemaker Luisa Ponzi’s goal is to allow the wines to express these characteristics each vintage through single vineyard expressions. Aurora yields an elegant wine with bright acidity and fruit.