Oregon wine: 2017 Ponzi Vineyards Laurelwood District Reserve Chardonnay ©Winerabble

Oregon wine: 2017 Ponzi Vineyards Laurelwood District Reserve Chardonnay

Laurelwood District
Chehalem Mountains
Willamette Valley

13.4% alcohol

Empty bottle weight:
25.0 ounces // 710 grams

Cork closure

Whole-cluster pressed

Made with 100% Chardonnay fruit, some from the Ponzi estate vineyards and the rest coming from three other neighboring vineyards in the Laurelwood appellation, this is really a cuvée of the Laurelwood District AVA– and the perfect wine to launch my deep dive into the appellation. Click here if you haven’t yet seen my Laurelwood District introduction and infographic. Taking into account that the Ponzi family planted their vineyard in 1970 and, if you’ll pardon the pun… they’ve got deep roots both in Laurelwood soil and the District. This Chardonnay is also the first bottle I saw with Laurelwood District AVA on the front label.

Sisters Maria and Luisa have taken over the winery, allowing parents Dick and Nancy to enjoy their retirement. In fact, the sisters, along with Dion Vineyard’s Johnson family (stayed tuned for tasting notes on their wines too), spearheaded the efforts to create the Laurelwood District AVA. It was officially designated as a wine-growing region in June 2020 and is nested within the larger Chehalem Mountains AVA.

After harvest, the Chardonnay grapes were whole-cluster pressed and fermented in French oak barrels, of which just 15% was new. All the wine then went through malolactic fermentation and rested on the lees for a year before racking and spending even more time in barrel, this time in neutral oak. While the aroma alluded to oak influence, the wine was actually quite crisp with nice texture and acidity.