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Chris James Cellars

Chris James Cellars 2017 Pinot Noir Blanc

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Beth Barnes and Chris James say their vineyard is “off the beaten path” – and they’re right about that. This is one of those over the river, through the woods, up a dirt wagon road, miles from cell phone range wineries.

But once you’re there – wow is it worth it! Stunning views of the entire valley from the gorgeous deck outside their new tasting room make your trek worth the effort.

On their first date, Chris told Beth that he would some day be a winemaker and live on a vineyard so she would know what she was getting in to. But she may not have quite realized what was in store: When they bought this 60-acre property, there wasn’t even driveway access –the only way in was through the neighbor’s horse pasture. It was covered in Douglas fir and not ready for grapes.

But after clearing the land, they’ve got eight acres of vines planted, first with Pinot Noir, and many more unique varietals coming. Which is exactly what Chris loves. When I met with him I must’ve tasted more than 10 wines and he kept rattling off more that were in the barrel!

Chris James Cellars

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Chris James Cellars, Carlton, Oregon
2017 Pinot Noir Blanc

I still love to pour Pinot Noir Blanc wines for folks. It always takes a minute for their minds to adjust. Wait, this isn’t red? Nope! These wines are perfect for hot summer days when you really want your favorite red but can’t stand the idea of drinking something that isn’t perfectly chilled.

The folks at Chris James picked the grapes for this wine on the early side and then treated them like white grapes. They very lightly pressed them allowing for mostly “free-run” juice resulting in this light, pretty, floral wine.

You’ll get aromas of white flowers, jasmine, roses, peach, and apricot. And you’ll get flavors of delicate rose petals, just ripe Mt. Hood strawberries, and the flavor of a juicy white peach. The hints of Pinot Noir are there, but this is perfect with fish tacos or that meat and cheese platter when you just can’t bear cooking.

A Cellar 503 selection in July 2018, Summer Wines Chehalem Mountains | Pinot Noir