In addition to his legendary Pinot Noir, Chehalem founder Harry Peterson-Nedry produces superb single-varietal whites from the four main white grape varieties grown in the Willamette Valley--Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc. Last year, we convinced him to sell us some of his grapes and consult with us on making a small batch of a special blend of all four varieties. Real Wine IV was born.
Real Wine IV is primarily composed of Riesling. Chehalem's first Riesling vines were planted at Corral Creek in 1995, and the resulting wines have gained a cult-like following over the last ten years. Willamette Valley Riesling is particularly reflective of the climate and site, and Peterson-Nedry describes it as "the Pinot Noir of white wines." Corral Creek's 3.4 acres of Riesling vines are situated on Laurelwood soil (a brown, silty clay loam), which is a consistent ripener and a great source of blending fruit.
The Riesling gives IV its aromatics of peaches, honey, apricots, and melon. Peterson-Nedry blended in Chardonnay to give the wine extra richness, Pinot Gris for its minerality, and Pinot Blanc to add a tropical quality--think guava and pineapple. The result is a dry wine with singing aromatics, and a bright clean finish. Folks living in year-round warm climates will love it because it's refreshing. If you live in colder climes, drink it as an aperitif or with fresh fish. It would look great around the holiday table, too. This wine is meant for consuming in its youth, it's not an ager.
Note: For better or worse, it's becoming increasingly clear that cork is on its way out. There is just too much wine made in all corners of the world, and the cork forests of Portugal just can't keep up. A few years ago the Alcoa company designed a glass enclosure that's a recyclable alternative to cork or other synthetic closures. The first time we saw it was in a winery in the Pfalz. The German winemaker explained that the enclosure is reusable, and doesn't deplete natural resources. A few years ago, a small company in McMinnville, Oregon began manufacturing a similar enclosure. You'll find their Vino-Lok enclosure on this first release of IV.