2007 Brick House Chardonnay
" I'm in love with their Burgundian chardonnay, which manages to be rich, creamy, silky and spicy without seeming oaky. Fresh notes of fennel and tarragon compliment a mineral-laden pear-apple palate that finishes with a gorgeous ripe oranges and white pepper.
This is such a luxurious wine that you'll want to savor each sip."
---Katherine Cole, The Oregonian
Can the love of wine constitute a vice? If so, that wine is white Burgundy -- the most elegant, ethereal and expensive rendition of the Chardonnay grape in the world.
At Brick House we have adapted the traditional practices of winegrowers in the villages of Puligny, Chassagne and Meursault to produce chardonnay expressive of our own distinctly Oregon “terroir.”
We grow four chardonnay clones from the Dijon series (Nos. 75, 76, 78 & 95) on our sedimentary soil just north of the winery. The fruit travels all of 40 feet from vineyard row to crush pad, where it is loaded whole cluster into a computer-controlled membrane grape press.
The juice is moved directly into seasoned French oak cooperage where a gentle, native yeast fermentation is encouraged. We long ago eschewed the use of new oak cooperage for the chardonnay out of the belief that excessive exposure to wood too easily masks the beauty of this magical grape. The resulting wine rests for 18 months on its gross lees before being moved into a settling tank prior to bottling. Out of the belief that fine sediments contribute important flavor components and natural preservatives, the wine is bottled without filtration.
1990. The barn was home to a third generation
of owls. The eaves of the old house were swarming with honey bees.
And in a field to the south, a great yellow earth mover pushed
over the last remaining trees of what was once 16 acres of filberts
(hazelnuts) to make way for the first planting of Pinot noir at
It was about then that we first heard that Oregon State University
had acquired some pretty exciting new plant material from vineyards
around the village of Meursault, France. These Old World plantings
are recognized as the source of some of the world's finest Chardonnay.
Word was the college, as OSU is known among farmers in the valley,
was going to sell some to growers and nurseries on a first come,
first serve basis.
By May of 1990, our first order for three of the new Dijon
Clones (see Pinot Noir for an explanation
of the phrase ) reached the college's Foundation Seed and Plant
Material department. We were among the first to obtain and plant
three clones that promise to forever change Chardonnay from Oregon.
Prior to the introduction of the Dijon clones, Chardonnay in the
Willamette Valley had been the exclusive domain of the clone 108,
a hardy, workmanlike family of vines that thrived in the warm
climes of California. But it struggled around the 45th parallel
in Oregon. Difficult to ripen, it made for outstanding wines in
only the warmest of years. The new clones hailed from a climate
similar to our own. It was as if cool Burgundian Springs and long,
mild summers were programmed into the Dijon Chardonnay clones'
They flourished in the block
just north of the barn. The first commercial
harvest of clones 75, 78 & 96 produced a rich, intense 1995
Chardonnay. That year, we planted two more adjoining acres of
clones 76 and 96. In 1997 the clones demonstrated that even in
exceptionally short, cool Oregon vintages, they produced consistent
ripeness and outstanding quality. A third planting was completed
in 2000. Brick House currently has 3.5 acres devoted to Dijon
The wine is barrel fermented in a blend of French and Oregon oak.
Like all Brick House wines, we rely solely on indigenous yeasts.
The wine remains on its lees for 16 months, moving only after
malo-lactic fermentation is complete from new barrels to older,
neutral wood. Like the Pinot Noir, the Chardonnay is bottled unfined
Here: watch the grapes ripen!