De Ponte Cellars 2014 DFB Melon de Bourgogne

"Women make better winemakers!"

"Women make better winemakers!" she said, with a twinkle in her eye. As winemaker Isabelle Dutartre is fond of pointing out, they baby the fermenters, multitask with ease, and "we are not afraid of a little cleaning!"

Isabelle brings a quintessential laid-back French attitude to her wine - "it's just grapes!" - that belies her intense attention to detail. She began making wine in France at a trade high school, working her way up in the male-dominated French wine industry. It wasn't easy, but she made a name for herself and soon caught the eye of several Oregon wineries.

For about 5 years in the late 1990s she commuted between France and the Willamette Valley but moved here with her family in 2009 to concentrate on making Pinot Noir and Melon de Bourgogne at De Ponte Cellars. She likes the challenge of working with these grapes to express their unique site in the Dundee Hills and the differences between vintages.

And like so many women pioneers, she's ready with a hand up for those coming behind. She is ably assisted by assistant winemaker and tasting room manager Suzanne Oliver, the niece of owners Scott and Rae Baldwin, who often totes her young kids into the winery, too!

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

De Ponte Cellars, Dayton, Oregon
2014 DFB Melon de Bourgogne

Melon de Bourgogne. A glorious white wine, perfect for Oregon, and yet still under-the­-radar. Why is it perfect for Oregon? The French consider Melon to be the best wine on the planet to pair with seafood.

In Oregon, it has a bit of a fascinating history. In the 1980s, quite a bit of Melon was planted here - but it was all mislabeled as Pi not Blanc. Once discovered, much of it was torn out and replanted with true Pinot Blanc.

What little is left has quite a cult following here in Oregon. The Melon grapes at De Ponte come from 40-year-old vines, likely the oldest Melon planting in Oregon. And De Ponte is famous for specializing in Melon, the only white wine they produce.

The Melon has delicate aromas of pear and apple with hints of citrus and almond. Aged on the lees in stainless steel gives it a rich texture while retaining bright acidity and the minerality that Melon is known for. The candied lemon flavors and the mouthwatering finish make this wine a perfect pairing for paella, smoked fish, or any seafood you like!

A Cellar 503 selection in May 2017, Women Winemakers Dundee Hills | Melon de Bourgogne

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