Chehalem – Pickle in a Glass


Author’s Note:  I actually meant to title this post “Heaven in a Glass,” but I was talking about pickles, I’m tired, and obviously, my brain has shut down for the night.   Now that it’s there, I think it’s kind of catchy.  Do not take this title to mean that Chehalem’s wines are bad.  They are my absolute, favorite wines.

It is finally sunny again. Today at lunch, I sat outside on a bench in front of the office and read a book. It was beautiful out, but it was a bit windy. I had to wear my extra sweater, and I had to brush my hair when I came back inside. But I’m certainly willing to deal with a little bit of wind for the sun! It has been so scarce lately, we really have to take advantage of it when we see it.

The other night, we tried a recently released 2009 3 Vineyard Pinot Noir from Chehalem Winery. Jon did some research about the vintage and the weather that existed in 2009. In the Willamette Valley, there was ideal springtime weather and a hot summer that combined to give an excellent harvest of fruit that could be picked at the ideal time. And it seems to have worked for Chehalem.

I find that many of the Pinots have a pickle nose (don’t worry, it isn’t a bad thing!), meaning that when I smell the wine, I smell that distinct smell of pickle. I have always found this odd, because I never read in reviews that other people think Pinot Noirs smell like pickle. Of course, it could be that there is a belief that having your wine smell like pickle could turn people away, and so it’s very hush hush. So, you heard it here friends, whether it’s just my smeller, or there’s an international conspiracy to cover up the truth, in my world, Pinot Noir smells like pickle. Fortunately for everyone involved, it doesn’t taste like pickle! But I’ve digressed.

I found this Pinot to be very robust. Not quite as robust as the 2006 vintage, but more so than the 2008 Pinots. Jon is really going to enjoy the Pinots coming out this year. I think Jon always secretly hopes that I will find a wine too strong for my taste – that way he can have it all. Unfortunately for him, I really enjoyed this wine. It is more robust than other Pinot vintages, but it is a well balanced wine with all the great Pinot Noir characteristics. Robust for a Pinot is something much softer than the typical varietal wines that come out of Washington – the Cabernets, Syrahs and Merlots. Pinot is the red wine that I can consistently enjoy! This was the first 2009 Pinot Noir that we have tried, and I think that this is going to be a great vintage. I can’t wait to do more sampling!

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