8/11/2023 — Rare and at perfect peak legendary Chardonnay

Offer available as inventory lasts.

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Hi everyone –

This is a limited offer on a bottle of wine made by a legend — and it can teach you a ton.

It’s from Adelsehim Vineyards of Willamette Valley, and it’s one of the final wines with David Adelsheim’s fingerprints on the winemaking before he handed off his CEO position and semi-retired in 2017.

And it’s at the best price in the country for this wine. More details on why are down below.

The legend himself, David Adelsheim (who was born in Minneapolis!)

Quick background: Adelsheim Winery

David Adelsheim is a living legend in the world of wine. He and his wife, Ginny, are part of the founding families of the Willamette Valley wine industry, founding their winery in 1971 on the heels of David Lett planting the first Pinot Noir just over the hill from their property.

They were self-described hippies and artists. They were moving to the country to make pottery and paint, but the wine bug started to settle in the valley. David was working as a sommelier in Portland restaurants and, through perseverance and luck, created a tiny winemaking operation.

Fast forward a bit, and the early success of the Willamette Valley wine industry started to have severe implications in the valley, and David foresaw the possible destruction of the rural character (and the infant wine industry) as more Portland suburbanites rushed to the hills to buy land with a view. So he spearheaded the laws, the first in the nation, to regulate and protect the valley’s rural character from development.

Then came the writing of the wine laws of Oregon, the most strict in the nation, which also came from the pen of David Adelsehim.

On top of that, the development of the American Viticultural Areas of Willamette has basically been orchestrated by a handful of people, with Adelsehim leading the pack.

In other words, we owe a ton to this man.

The “50 years of Adelsehim” timeline. View it here.

David also spearheaded an INCREDIBLE ten-part video interview series with the founding families of the Willamette wine industry. His first interview was with Diana Lett of our beloved Eyrie Vineyards.

Why this is special

Ahead of leaving his full-time duties at the winery he founded in the 1970s, David Adelsheim wanted to pursue one final project: making a wine that showcases the Chehalem Mountain AVA, a viticultural area that David was fundamental in creating. He wanted to make two wines, one Chardonnay and one Pinot Noir, that to him, symbolized what Chehalem Mountains AVA was all about.

The two wines from this project are a couple of the best wines made in Willamette Valley: the Breaking Ground Pinot Noir and the Staking Claim Chardonnay.

This is a bit of history

It was David Adelsheim that, during a visit to Burgundy in the 1970s, saw something odd to him: the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were ripening at the same time. This wasn’t the way it should be, he told his French friends, for his Chardonnay consistently ripened two weeks after the Pinot Noir, often having to be picked a touch underripe due to the winter rain coming in. This easily explains why Willamette Valley Chardonnay was crappy in the 1980s and 1990s. It wasn’t on anyone’s radar.

“Oh, you have the wrong clone of Chardonnay,” the French friend said, “Maybe someday you will have the Dijon and Burgundy clones, which sound like they would work better.”

Upon returning home, David Adelsheim got to work bringing in the Dijon clones of Chardonnay, which revolutionized the Willamette Valley white wine reputation. This was not an easy task, and it took about 15 years, but eventually, the Dijon clones were imported and pronounced clean and healthy by the Universities, then released to the wineries.

As a result, knowing this is one of the last Willamette Valley Chardonnays that David had a hand in winemaking, it’s a piece of history.

What’s it like

Stunning. Full stop.

A touch of age has done this good. A few years in the bottle has evolved a creaminess that counters and dances with the acidity. (I hesitated to say that, because “creaminess” can be seriously misinterpreted by many people to mean oaky and buttery … WHICH THIS IS NOT!)

Detailed layers of apples and pears, but with a streak of minerality that sews it together. If this were a Burgundy, I would put it in the Montrachet category (at about 5% of the price of a Montrachet). It’s that good.

After popping it, I enjoyed two glasses and returned the bottle to the fridge. The next day and the day after, the wine was not only intact but seemingly better, showcasing the balance this wine possesses. Today, as I write this, I’m on day five of it being open and it’s still tasting great.

In terms of when to drink this, this wine is AT PEAK NOW, so plan a special night around it at some point in the next 6-9 months. The perfect pairing would be grilled salmon, lobster tail, or shrimp and grits with some sweet corn.

Why the discounted price?

It’s a simple story of “whoops.”

The winery accidentally sent twice as much as the local distributor ordered, but it would have cost too much to return the extra inventory back to Oregon.

So the winery, being a quality operation, credited the distributor, which then forwarded to us an offer we couldn’t refuse. Because of the way we design these offers (without pricing on this page, only on the order page when the wine is available), the discounted price will not show up on the radar of Google, thus keeping the price integrity of the wine intact. (That’s a bit of insider’s knowledge for you on why importers and wineries are loving our Friday offers and are coming to us with more and more deals every week.)

Buying advice

I’d grab at least two or three bottles, if not more. This is stunning stuff, and if you only buy one, I guarantee you’ll regret not buying more when you have that last sip.

Thank you, everyone! We couldn’t do this without you!

Jason Kallsen
Sommelier and founder/owner of Twin Cities Wine Education

Offer and special pricing are available through Monday, or as supplies last

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