2012 Yates Conwill Chardonnay

2012 Yates Conwill Chardonnay 2017-09-13T09:29:11+00:00


110 cases produced


This is the stuff dreams are made of. No kidding. This is one big, yet balanced Chardonnay but without all of the typical flavors of the ubiquitous Chardonnays. This is more akin to Grand Cru White Burgundy, if you are into that sort of thing.

And if you have ever had a great Grand Cru from a great vintage and from a great producer you will know what I mean when I use the word “transcendent” to describe what this wine is like.

There are aromas that defy description and flavors so deep AND so broad on the palate that everyone who has had the pleasure of drinking this wine stops talking. All become quiet and confounded with the complexity that continues to evolve in the glass with warmth – and even with being opened on the counter for over one week.

This is truly amazing wine.


The Vintage

The 2012 vintage will go down as the most profound since 2002 in Oregon. The wines are drinking well currently and will continue to drink well for a decade or two.

We had perfect weather (as in not too much of anything other than slow ripening without any pressure from any outside influence). Wineries were picking when they wanted and not because the weather was breaking down. If a winemaker wanted light and lovely they could pick at that point, if they wanted massive and super ripe flavors they could attain that goal as well.

This is a great vintage to load up with from all producers from Oregon as there are plenty of great wines available and all are made the way the winemakers wanted to make them. No excuses due to Mother Nature.

The Vineyard: Yates Conwill Vineyard

This vineyard is proving to be a great site for me with both the Chardonnay and the Pinot as I have worked with this site since the 2008 vintage. Farmed by Results Partners to perfection, or as quoted in the Wine Advocate “like a Bonsai garden”, this southwest-facing site just west of Carlton is well loved.

This is the same fruit in the same 50:50 ratio of Chardonnay 76 and Chardonnay 95 as last years amazing Grand Cru Chablis-like Yamhill Carlton Chardonnay. Mother Nature had a different plan in 2012 and produced the grapes to evolve into a larger scale Chardonnay, not necessarily alcohol large, but as in deep yet attainable flavors, textures and aromatics.

There is no searching here: it is obvious and profound. This is an enlightening wine.

The Process

Freshly pressed Chardonnay juice goes right into all of my newly purchased French oak barrels filled to only half capacity. Native fermentation starts in approximately three to five days within these half filled barrels. Around two months later,  I need these barrels for my Pinot noir, the Chardonnay is now at a rapid fermentation and I gently rack the wine into larger Neutral French oak “puncheon” sized barrels  for further fermentation using the newly emptied barrels for my Pinot noir. A nice way to save money while using your barrels “twice” in one vintage so to speak… No lees stirring, no additions nor further movement of wine were made other than SO2 additions just before bottling.

My Impressions

Aromas of peach nectar with lemon evolve into a nectarine tart with lemon custard. A second inhale produces Uni with a nearby Masu of sake. Wait for another minute and Marzipan with salted caramel emerge.

This is all before even drinking in the wine. Once imbibed, the texture is initially smooth and mouth coating, making you think there is residual sugar (there is not) and then there is a nice juicy clean finish due to the acid level. Between the start and the finish are intense flavors of Mirabelle plum, lemon zest, lemon grass, pear and roasted peaches. If you wait, the finish comes back with the umami of clean low tide and someone grilling fruit in the background.

Crazy aromas and flavors abound. And this goes on and on…

The Closing

I sincerely suggest that you order enough of this wine to drink over the next five to ten years, as this is the reason you probably got into wine as a hobby: the rare experience where there is so much going on in the wine that it takes your talk away, which can be a good thing now and then.


Additional Information


Fruit Source: Yates Conwill Vineyard
American Viticultural Area: Willamette Valley
Sub AVA: Yamhill Carlton
Soil Type: Gellatly + Willakenzie
Planted: 2005
Exposure: Southwest
Elevation: 260 – 390 feet
Clonal Selection: Dijon 76 + Dijon 95
Harvest Date: October 8th
Yield – TPA/YPV: 1.8 TPA
Fermentation: Native primary and secondary
Barrels: Read the notes above
Production: 110 cases of 750ml bottles

Laboratory Results

titratable acidity 5.0 g/L
pH 3.57
volatile acidity (acetic) 0.78 g/L
ethanol at 60F 14.11% vol