Ken Wright Cellars Willamette Chardonnay

Ken Wright Cellars Willamette Valley Chardonnay

WHY WE LOVE IT

  • All of the vineyards for this wine are located in the sub-AVA’s of the Northern Willamette Valley AVA.
  • The soils are Willakenzie and Wellsdale and have ancient marine sediments.
  • Organically certified with high-level nutrition-based farming.

Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay

Elaboration: Aged 8 months in neutral French oak barrels.

Tasting Notes: Juicy white peach and fresh pear are surrounded by complex notes of honey, vanilla bean and hints of butterscotch. A mouth filling palate, backed with vibrant acidity that carries through to a long finish.

PRESS

2021 – 92 Jeb Dunnuck

2022 – 92 James Suckling

PRODUCER BACKGROUND

The seed for a career in wine was planted squarely in Bourbon country of Lexington, Kentucky. While waiting tables to put himself through school, Ken was exposed to fine wines from regions around the world. The passion became avocation when Ken left the Bluegrass State to attend enology and viticulture classes at UC-Davis. Eight years were spent winemaking for Ventana Vineyards, Chalone and Talbott Vineyards in Monterey County of California’s central coast.

Friends from the Willamette Valley piqued Ken’s interest in the region when they would visit, and a trip to the Dundee Hills in 1976 convinced him that this was where the finest Pinot noir in North America was being grown. In 1986, with family, belongings and 10 barrels in tow, Ken moved to McMinnville and started Panther Creek Cellars.

His concept of focusing on vineyard-designate bottling began during those years at Panther Creek and was cemented as a core philosophy in 1994 when Ken Wright Cellars was founded in historic downtown Carlton. Ken now makes a single vineyard bottling from 13 vineyard sites in the Northern Willamette Valley. Given his appreciation of sense of place, it was a given that Ken would contribute to the locations and industry near and dear to his heart. Instrumental in organizing the six new American Viticultural Area (AVA)’s in the Northern Willamette Valley that define in detail the distinct growing areas within the region, he wrote the proposition for the Yamhill-Carlton AVA and served as the association’s first President.

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Print Review Shelf Talker (2021 – 92 Jeb Dunnuck)