The Wine Gods have graced this southwest facing site with abundant sunshine, and it shines through in this wine. She offers layers of lemon curd, tangerine zest, pear, pineapple, and flecks of nutmeg and vanilla. The acid balance is nicely leveled; not as searing as the Chablis-esque 2011 vintage, but still very much at play as that is my style. Don’t be tempted to drink this nectar too cold! You will miss out on the soft texture that will envelop your tastebuds. The finish involves a nice snap of green apple and quince. It wraps up neatly and politely so as not to overwhelm. The goal of this wine is not to engulf and conquer but to strike the happy medium that Chardonnay so often can in a cool climate like the Willamette Valley. Only 78 cases were made. Order up now to secure your cases or forever hold your peace.
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
The 2013 Chardonnay Cuvée O is a blend of two puncheons, one new and the other first used in 2011. It has an understated, quite Burgundy-like bouquet, that new oak deftly integrated with subtle flint and smoke scents developing in the glass. The palate is clean and fresh on the entry with crisp acidity, lime and kiwi fruit, very well-judged acidity and a touch of shaved almond surfacing towards the finish. This is a superb Chardonnay from EIEIO. 93 points – Neal Martin
This was one of only four wines receiving 93 points from Wine Advocate in the April 2016 report, the highest score awarded. It was also the only Chardonnay in the group.
above, Yates Conwill Vineyard
Both the Cuvee O and Yates Conwill 2013 are sourced from Yates Conwill Vineyard which is comprised of the Dijon 95 and Dijon 76 clones in an equal ratio. Both were fermented in my unique way of placing the unadulterated juice in New French Oak barrels filled half full. Spontaneous fermentation takes off inside the closed barrels within a few days without the introduction of any “store bought” yeasts. Whatever might happen to be floating by starts and finishes the fermentation, both primary and secondary. When the fermentation is at its peak of activity, usually around two months after being placed in barrel, the wines are moved via inert gas pressure into Neutral French Oak Puncheon sized barrels where they remain until bottling. No lees stirring. No Mickey Mouse moves. No tricks. Trix are for kids. These are adult wines.
The 2013 vintage in Oregon ended up fine. There was a normal spring with “right on time” flowering and fruit set. Warm enough temperatures through the summer with just enough rain to keep things out of a high stress situation and then a bit of rain to keep it challenging during the physical harvest. White wines were not affected by the rains while some sites experienced more than others making it not only tough to get in and out of the vineyards but resulting in a bit of dilution in concentration. That said, if you knew how to manage the plumped up berries, you made fine wines. I feel that all of my 2013s, whites and reds are exemplary. The wines from this vintage suffer no lack of ripeness and all have great length.
below, Yates Conwill Chardonnay fruit