Laurel Ridge Winery 2018 Chasselas Doré

Staying true to the vision

David Teppola was one of the 1970s pioneers of Oregon wine, making several vintages with his business partner, Charles Coury (who famously smuggled grape vines from France in a suitcase).

Where to plant vines? For most early winemakers, they headed straight for the rich, deep volcanic Jory soils. But David understood that wine grapes grow best when the vines struggle and strain to grow. Tough growing conditions mean that the plant shifts its energies to reproduction (the grapes) rather than expansion (the vines).

So, he bucked the conventional wisdom and sited his vineyard in the nutrient-poor, sandy loam of the Yamhill-Carlton area. His peers thought he was crazy, planting vines up on the slope he called Finn Hill. But David was right. Today, Yamhill-Carlton is one of the finest wine-growing regions in Oregon.

David passed away in 2006, but his dream lives on. His wife, Susan, continues to operate the winery according to his vision, supported by his daughters, Kira and Maija. Sustainability remains at the center of everything they do at Laurel Ridge – and it means wines that highlight the fruit and the terroir, not winemaker fussiness.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Laurel Ridge Winery, Carlton, Oregon
2018 Chasselas Doré

Quick, tell me four things about Switzerland. Hmm... They have tall mountains. They observe strict neutrality in international politics. They make fine high-precision watches. And, fondue!

Well, that’s the story of the national wine of Switzerland, Chasselas. It’s a grape that thrives in high-elevation cool climates. It’s a wine that’s so delicate winemakers refer to it as a “neutral” wine. As a result, it requires high-precision winemaking so as to not overwhelm it with barreling or yeast. And hey, it’s fabulous with fondue!

It’s very rare in the United States, where it is commonly known as Chasselas Doré. It is the perfect trifecta for a Cellar 503 unusual varietal; unrecognizable (to most people), difficult to pronounce (until someone tells you it’s “shass-uh-laas”), and small-production.

This Laurel Ridge edition is a beautiful, floral, dry white. Beautifully aromatic apple blossoms, stone fruit and honeysuckle, soft and delicate on the palate with notes of peach, wild blueberry and delicate herbs. Don’t put this white wine in the refrigerator. The lovely characteristics of fruit and flower only come out to play at room temperature.

A Cellar 503 selection in September 2019, Unusual Varietals Yamhill-Carlton | Chasselas Doré

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