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Adelsheim Vineyard: Still Good After All These Years

David and Ginny Adelsheim were part of the wave of Pinot Noir pioneers who launched wineries in the Willamette Valley in the 1970s. Unlike so many of the others, however, David Adelsheim did not immigrate to Oregon. He moved to Newberg from Portland with his wife in the early 1970s, planted 15 acres of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling in the Chehalem Mountains in 1972, released his first wines in 1978, and became one of the most successful and iconic wineries in the valley.

Adelsheim Vineyard now farms over 170 acres of vines in nine estate vineyards and produces 42,000 cases of wine annually in a modern 35,000 square foot winery at Calkins Lane Vineyard. The winery was completed in 1997 and expanded in 2008, and has four underground barrel caves. Co-owners Jack and Lynn Loacker joined Adelsheim Vineyard in 1994, and assisted in the financing and planting of a 120-acre site on Ribbon Ridge, the source of much of the Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes since 1998.

David Adelsheim remains a revered figure in Oregon wine after having participated as a respected spokesperson on practically every important issue facing the Oregon wine industry over the years. He remains quiet and unassuming, with a charming sense of humor, all attributes that belie his considerable achievements.

Winemaker David Paige has been at Adelsheim since 2001. Typically, Adelsheim’s wines undergo pre-fermentation maceration and slow, cool fermentations. The wines are bottled after spending 10-12 months in French oak barrels. The Adelsheim Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir blend remains the workhorse of the winery. Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir and vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs are the prestige bottlings. Multiple other varietals are also produced.

Tastings are available at the winery at 16800 NE Calkins Lane in Newberg from 11:00 to 4:00 daily. Guided in depth tours of the winery are offered by appointment (503-538-3652). The wines are available on the website at and through retail distribution (the single vineyard Pinot Noirs are only sold in the tasting room and to wine club members).

I visited Adelsheim Vineyard and tasted a number of fine wines with David Paige and David Adelsheim. All the wines show the effects of the lighter 2007 Oregon vintage but they have plenty of charm and are notably bright with crisp acidity.

2007 Adelsheim Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., 17,425 cases, $32. This bottling has been made since 1979. A blend of multiple vineyards including 7 estate vineyards in the Chehalem Mountains AVA (75%) and 9 other vineyards in other parts of the Willamette Valley (25%). 60% of the wine is Pommard 5 and Wadenswil clones. 100% de-stemmed, 6-day pre-fermentation maceration, aged in French oak barrels. · Slightly muted aromas of red Pinot fruits. Tasty berry melange of strawberries, raspberries and cranberries. Elegantly styled with lively acidity on a clean finish. A dependable daily drinker.

2007 Adelsheim Vineyard Elizabeth’s Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., 1,192 cases, $48. Since 2000 this has been a “best of winery” reserve, the best barrels from the best lots. 4 to 6 day cold soak, inoculation with commercial yeast, aged in 30% new French oak barrels for 10 months. Named after David Adelsheim’s daughter. · Intense aromas and flavors of cherries and berries, both red and black, with a subtle hay note. Discreetly concentrated and well-crafted with enough structure to last in the cellar for up to ten years.

2007 Adelsheim Vineyard Boulder Bluff Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., 240 cases, $58. From a 10-acre Chehalem Mountains vineyard bought by co-owners Lynn and Jack Loacker in 2000. The vineyard is planted to a Burgundy clone called AS2 and another of unclear origin also planted at Adelsheim’s original Quarter Mile Lane Vineyard in 1974. Soils are basaltic in origin. The grapes were de-stemmed into open-top fermenters followed by a 4 to 6-day cold soak. Aged in 33% new French oak barrels for 10 months. · I liked this wine for its rich pure black cherry and black raspberry fruit, its undertones of spice and roasted hazelnuts, its smooth mouth feel, and its clean and zippy finish. Very impressive classy juice.

2007 Adelsheim Vineyard Calkins Lane Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

249 cases, $58, club release September 1, 2009. Dijon clone 667 and Wadenswil. · Scents of red fruits, hazelnuts and hay. Discreet core of perfumed red fruit with brisk acidity on the mildly floral finish.

2007 Adelsheim Vineyard Bryan Creek Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

280 cases, $68, club release September 1, 2009. From a 20-acre leased vineyard located across the road from the original Quarter Mile Lane Estate Vineyard. A single-vineyard bottling has been produced since 1998. Basaltic, clay-loam soils at 700+ foot elevation. Clone is Pommard 5 planted in 1989. Aged 10 months in 33% new French oak barrels. · Light garnet color. More delicate this vintage but still delivers plenty of pleasure. Rich mid-palate array of red and black fruits which are powerfully flavored. Acidity is toned down compared to other vineyard-designates. Plush, velvety mouth feel with soft ripe tannins. Very drinkable now and quite enjoyable.

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