Oregon Wine 2019

These Are the 5 Best Oregon Chardonnays Under $40

Division Wine's Will Prouty picks bottles that evoke "sunbathing on wet stone" or a sleek cat that could "maul you at any moment."

By Will Prouty Edited by Ramona DeNies September 23, 2019 Published in the October 2019 issue of Portland Monthly

Who picked these wines? Bottle raconteur Will Prouty opened Division Wine Shop & Wine Bar in 2011 with his wife, Danyelle, after a long tenure running the wine program at the restaurant Southpark.

Goodfellow Family Cellars 2017 Dundee Hills Chardonnay, Willamette Valley Yikes, this is delicious: luscious stone fruit, a little tropical, creamy, zesty freshness. Take everything you heard someone say about what’s cool right now, put it on a big rock, and smash it with a hammer into sand. Yeah, it spends time in wood! Wanna fight? Buy Division Wine, Great Wine Buys, $28

Belle Pente 2016 Belle Pente Vineyard Chardonnay, Yamhill-Carlton Some of the valley’s best wine moves through Belle Pente, at ridiculous value. This is entirely estate fruit from early 1990s vineyards, lovingly tended and hitting glorious stride. Orchard fruit, citrus, richness, and minerality: sunbathing on wet stone while angels peel apple shavings. Buy Division Wine, $36

J.K. Carriere 2015 Lucidité Chardonnay, Willamette Valley Sleek, supple, with a quiet power that extends beyond the lovely fruit. I imagine it as a big cat, moving with purpose, nothing extra, holding its energy confidently in reserve. This wine could maul me at any moment—it’s almost too silky. Buy New Seasons, Zupan’s, $34

Statera 2016 Eola Springs Vineyard Chardonnay, Eola-Amity Hills Meredith Bell and Luke Wylde source fruit from a few trusted sites and then jump right off the cliff. No teleprompter, no net: just minimal ingredients and intervention. This wine whispers, so unplug the router, put away your phone, dim the lights, and slow your Mustang down. Buy Division Wine, $37

J. Christopher 2018 Cuvée Lunatique Chardonnay, Willamette Valley Winemaker Jay Somers and his wife, Ronda, remind me of Portland 20 years ago, when it seemed like everyone lived in one big potluck dinner. Jay’s chardonnay approach is bright, fresh: Mâcon-inspired, with Chablis nerve and minerality. This one is aged in a blend of stainless and large neutral barrels, no malolactic; I feel cleaner just talking about it. Buy New Seasons, $25

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