“Hands stained from dirt and fruit, aches through your back and legs. As farmers, we’re looking for good soil. You can feel its texture, you can cup it in your hands and smell it.
“This isn’t dirt, this is soil: it’s alive, it has a lot of distinctness from one place to the other. It’s a unique opportunity to use our skills as good farmers on pieces of land that are rich with history and flavor.”
According to the Coelho Winery website. the Coelhos believe that good winemakers are farmers first. The Coelhos see themselves as farmers first, as down to earth people who love to listen and love to share.
Since 2016, Coelho’s winemaker Chris Bertsche handles all aspects of wine production by saying “No problems, only solutions.” Chardonnay is winemaker Chris Bertsche’s go-to varietal, but with many of Pinot Noir and only 1.5 acres of Chardonnay, it’s clear that Coelho as a winery is really serious about Pinot Noir as well.
But don’t let all that Pinot Noir make you ignore their luscious Chardonnay grown on Missoula flood sedimentary soil. The winemaker’s passion for Chardonnay comes through: even though they only have 1.5 acres of Chardonnay grown in the famous Van Duzer Corridor AVA where the cold air from the Pacific rushes in, they sent me three different versions to compare (scroll down for more).
Because the Pinot Noir in Oregon is so darn good, in general people have passed up the Chardonnay. And Oregon is also more well known for a different white wine, pinot gris, rather than Chardonnay.
Which is a huge mistake as far as I am concerned: Oregon’s dry farmed Chardonnay is so expressive: lively, complex, and food friendly.
Discovering and tasting Oregon dry farmed Chardonnay from wineries that responded to a call from samples has been so eye opening and refreshing to Sue and I as we are more likely to land in the ABCer camp than not. These three came from that call for dry farmed Oregon Chardonnay; please note I don’t see whether they are dry farmed on their website and they are not listed as a member of the Deep Roots Coaltiion which you can read more about here.
However, we are happy to recommend these well made wines on Chardonnay Day!
- Cheese plate
- Salmon egg rolls with teriyaki sauce
- Strawberry salad
- Shrimp scampi
Coelho means bunny or rabbit in Portuguese, so the image of a rabbit is common iconography at Coelho, and the Portuguese heritage of the husband and wife Coelho is also important.
Coelho Vineyard 2016 Chardonnay SRP $35
Color: Pale gold, buttercup
Nose: Grass, ocean breeze, saline, pineapple, guava
Palate: bright, tart, acidic, fresh pineapple, eureka lemon, very clean and bright
Pairing: Great Chinese food wine, it does well with the sweet sauces that Chinese food generally has with it. Fantastic with our goat cheese topped with sundried tomatoes. Loves the earthy salad and berries in the salad. Not great with the shrimp.
Apreciação 2015 Chardonnay SRP $35
Color: Pale gold, buttercup
Nose: Seafoam, like the beach, butterscotch, ponderosa pine, piney forest
Palate: Really really tart, first sip made Sue pucker, tart acidity and butterscotch.
Pairing: The butterscotch yumminess really comes out with the salmon egg rolls. It does so well with the teriyaki sauce. Fantastic with the fresh goat cheese topped with sun-dried tomatoes. Good with potato chips making me want fried chicken with this wine. Great with aged gouda. Great with the bitter greens, bringing out a sweetness in the wine. The shrimp scampi became creamy partners; the parsley is also lovely with the wine.
Apreciação Reserva 2015 Chardonnay $50
Color: Pale yellow
Nose: Grass and lemons, lemongrass, nutmeg, vanilla
Palate: Creamy richness with tons of acidity, lemon curd, lemongrass. Nice viscosity
Pairing: Very nice with the salmon egg rolls making us think how great salmon would be with this wine. It handles the ginger teriyaki sauce for the egg rolls, so this is a wine that could also stand up to an asian meal. The Reserva is so fantastic with the scampi –true to Chardonnay pairings. Serve this wine with rich buttery seafood dishes.
So on Chardonnay Day, Thursday May 21, what will be in your glass? Will it be from Oregon?
For more ideas, stay tuned for more Chardonnay Day ideas including wines from around the world!