In terms of active Oregon winemakers, there aren’t many who can boast the type of resume that Harry Peterson-Nedry can. Maybe Dick Ponzi and David Adelsheim– that’s about it! He’s a total renaissance man. Armed with a degree in both Chemistry and English, Harry took a big risk in 1980 when he purchased the land that would turn into one of Oregon’s most famous vineyards, Ridgecrest. His planting helped establish the Ribbon Ridge AVA, one that is now home to many of the best wineries in the state.
But that’s not all. He manages two wineries that span across three different estate vineyards and represent six different AVAs. In creating both Chehalem and Ribbon Ridge wineries, The Peterson-Nedrys work with dozens of wines each vintage, making some of the best examples throughout the state of not only Pinot Noir, but Riesling, Chardonnay, Gamay Noir and others. In fact, the family’s work in championing all varietals in Oregon is so important, that it’s only fitting that their latest Wine Spectator Top 100 Wine of the Year appearance is for a white wine.
I sat down a few years ago and tasted the lineup of wines with Harry and his daughter and co-winemaker Wynne in their Newberg winery. Two of the nicest people you could meet, they explained each decision that went into the winemaking and aging process. Everything was a choice, well thought out in advance and with a purpose. Their unoaked Chardonnay, the Inox was lights out. My guess was it was the 2013 or 2014 vintage. They seemed quite pleased that I loved the wine because I think it’s one of theirs as well. There was no need to ask why it was made in stainless steel, the pure expression of fruit with a symphony of aromas and a crisp, citrus meets mineral cut.
This is the very best Chardonnay value in Oregon. That statement was true a decade ago and it’ll probably be true in another decade as well. It was true before being placed #58 on Wine Spectator’s 2021 Wines of the Year list, and it would be true even without the honor. It’s a great bottle of wine.
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91 Points, (Best Buy) Wine Spectator
This white bursts with aromas of peach blossom and lemon zest, taking on a lush, succulent texture toward a crisp finish. Drink now.
91 Points, James Suckling
A clean, pretty nose of sliced apples, apricots, lemons and jasmine. It’s medium-bodied with crisp acidity. Wonderfully fresh and zesty. Drink now.