Richard Erath bought this 49 acre property from the Dopp family in 1968 naming it Chehalem Mountain Vineyard (CMV). From the original planting only the weathered, ungrafted, dry-farmed 2.34 acres of block B-3 remains. As early as 1967 Richard began acquiring plant material from California, altogether bringing over 20 different clones of Pinot Noir to his nursery in the Willamette valley. While a good number of those clones turned out to be unsuccessful there is some mystery to the exact make up of clones he used within CMV, and more specifically, Block B-3; though it is known to be predominantly Pommard 04 and Wadenswil 2A. Pommard 04 was sourced from UC Davis which had been introduced in the early '50's by Professor Harold Olmo of UC Davis from cuttings taken directly Ch. de Pommard in Burgundy. The Wadenswil came from Wente vineyards in Arroyo Seco.
CMV is located in the far western edge of the Chehalem Mountains AVA. The higher reaches of the hills in Ribbon Ridge AVA provide a shelter-effect for the vineyard. The growing season tends to start slightly later while temperatures remain more consistent throughout the season providing uniform ripening. The soils are sedimentary based Wellsdale loam, which are fine textured, moderately deep though low in nutrients which limits vigor. The block's south facing position in the upper bench of the vineyard provide a natural defense against vine diseases via airflow and sun angle. All of these factors have allowed for, and contributed to, these vines approaching their 50th harvest. Additionally, the root systems of these old vines have dredged deep enough to allow them to maintain themselves very effectively and eek out a living in the even the most extreme of vintages. Consistently, though the yields are tiny, the harvested grapes are optimally pure and sound.
The resulting wine reflects a quiet confidence, filled with a bouquet of sweet & savory herbs, allspice and freshly turned earth surrounding a subtle core farmers-market-fresh fruits. The tannins are ultra fine and matched with effortless power and length. Elegance and refinement over all else.
Chehalem Mountain Vineyard: Chehalem Mountains sub-AVA, Clones- Pommard 04, Wadenswil 2A
Sourced from a vineyard planted in 1968 by Oregon pioneer Dick Erath, this complex and textural effort melds together brambly blackberry fruit with elements of spice, sassafras, and mocha. The wine is nicely layered through the lingering finish. It should continue to drink well through 2025. Editors’ Choice.