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The children (Page Knudsen Cowles and two of her three brothers) of Cal Knudsen are carrying on his tradition with the creation of Knudsen Vineyards in 2013, focusing on Pinot Noir from grapes their father planted. Pioneering winegrower Cal Knudsen first planted Knudsen Vineyards in the early 1970s, making this one of Oregon's landmark vineyards. The vineyard is located just north of Stoller Vineyard in the Dundee Hills and is a mix of old vine blocks planted in the 1970s and 1980s, and new high-density blocks planted with Dijon clones in the 1990s. The vineyard also has smaller plantings of Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.
Knudsen partnered with Dick Erath to create Knudsen-Erath where Knudsen grew the grapes and Erath made the wine. Their partnership lasted until 1987 and they remained lifelong friends. At that time, Argyle Winery was beginning and Knudsen supplied the grapes for the new winery. In 1990, he sold his holdings in Earth Winery, invested them in Argyle and became its chairman, a post he held until retiring in 2007.
The first wine, all of 100 cases, was an estate Pinot Noir from the 2012 vintage. An inaugural Chardonnay was released from the 2013 vintage. They were made by Rollin Soles of ROCO (and previously the winemaker at Argyle) and current winemaker Nate Klosterman. The wine is sold through a mailing list, select retailers, and the website.
2014 Knudsen Vineyards Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Chardonnay
13.5% alc., pH 3.27, TA 0.63, 275 cases, $45, screwcap. This vineyard is home to the oldest plantings of Dijon Chardonnay clones in Oregon dating back to 1990. That year, Allen Holstein, the vineyard manager, established over 8 acres of Dijon clones 76 and 96 in Jory soil in the Dundee Hills. This wine is a blend of Dijon clones 76 and 95 planted in 1995. Aged 6 months in French oak barrels, 20% new. · Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Inviting aromas of white peach, lemon oil, shaved oak and floral goodness lead to a discreetly concentrated and thoroughly satisfying citrus-driven wine offering considerable complexity. Additional fruit flavors of pear and apple mix amicably with subtle oak driven notes of vanilla and spice. The lemon-infused finish is driven by a bright cut of acidity as the wine literally slides off the back of the palate. One of Oregon’s finest Chardonnays. Score: 94. Reviewed March 12, 2016 ARTICLE »
2013 Knudsen Vineyards Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Chardonnay
13.5% alc., pH 3.39, TA 0.60, 125 cases, $45. Dijon 76 and 96 clones. 100% malolactic fermentation. Barrel fermented 6 months in primarily older French oak barrels with 35% new and 6 months in bottle. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Elevating aromas of fresh citrus and apple tart. Delicious array of layered flavors, including lemon, pear, apple, baking spice, honey and caramel. Impressive depth of flavor in a clean and invigorating style, offering a lemon-drop-fueled finish alive with flinty acidity. An exceptional wine that will impress even diehard white Burgundy devotees. Score: 94. Reviewed April 20, 2015 ARTICLE »
2013 Knudsen Vineyards Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 200 cases, $55. A blend of grapes from three different blocks including clones 777 and Pommard. One of Willamette Valley’s oldest vineyards, established in 1971. · Light reddish purple color in the glass. This wine has one of those noses you want to go on sniffing, featuring cherry, cranberry relish, graham and sous-bois. The cherry flavor bursts on the palate, caresses the mouth, and persists on the finish. A touch of red strawberry and spice box adds interest. A cozy wine with modest tannins, a juicy grip, and a crisp finish filled with bombastic cherry goodwill. Score: 93. Reviewed September 3, 2015 ARTICLE »
2012 Knudsen Vineyards Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 100 cases, pH 3.42, TA 0.58, $55. Harvest Brix 23.7º. Wädenswil 2A and Dijon 777 clones planted in Jory soil in 2000-2004. Aged 16 months in 10% new French oak. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Beautifully perfumed with scents of cherry, sous-bois, spice and sandalwood. Elegant, caressing and comfortable in style, with good depth of cherry, raspberry and strawberry fruit flavors augmented with a riff of savory earthiness. Easy to like, with fine tannins and a satisfying fullness on the finish. The cherry fruit sticks to the finish like glue. Don’t be dissuaded by the delicate color of this wine, as it has a pleasing melange of broad flavors. This bottling is reminiscent of The Eyrie Dundee Hills Pinot Noirs in style and character. Score: 92. Reviewed October 21, 2014 ARTICLE »