2018 Big Table Farm “The Wild Bee” Chardonnay
What happens when Willamette Valley, Oregon, puts itself to making Chardonnay?
The answer’s pure magic. But for decades, nobody knew. The thought was there in the late 1970s – Willamette can grow exceptional Pinot Noir in the Burgundian mode. And if Burgundy also makes great Chardonnay, why not Willamette?
Alas, it almost was not to be. The clonal material—the physical Chardonnay grapes and their DNA—all came from California in the 1970s, with literally nothing else available. Oregon producers are at pains to tell you that California is not Oregon and they’re right. All that wonderful heat and sunshine can ripen huge clusters of California Chardonnay but when transplanted to Oregon, it was a recipe for bitter, underripe fruit. Literally, it’s like the tomatoes in your garden that didn’t get enough heat – they stayed green-tasting like crabapples, instead of luscious and juicy. Many producers in Willamette tried to get it right over the past 40 years, but to this palate, success was elusive.
Until now. This year we at Waterford have the joy of finally offering Big Table Farm “The Wild Bee” Willamette Chardonnay to our wine fans! It’s taken years to land this offering, but we finally got it.
Big Table Farm is the partnership between Brian Marcy and Clare Carver, founded in 2006. These dreamers with big hearts make wines that are soul-satisfying and deeply engaging on every level. This Chardonnay will intrigue you with its plush and wooing heart. And Brian and Clare have garnered serious critical acclaim – Wine Spectator Top #100 and Wines to Watch, Wine Enthusiast Winery of the Year and Most Interesting Oregon Winery Right Now, New York Times Top Oregon, International Wine Report Top #100 wines. In other words, I’m slow to the game and the wine cognescenti have spoken. This is downright yummy Willamette Chardonnay. As Clare puts it:
“This wine smells like warm apple pie and waxy white flowers. When you take your first sip, there is an explosion of acidity that brings the palate to life. Granny Smith apples are balanced with nuttiness and warm dough. The finish is bright and the acid lets you savor the apple, lemon and yeasty notes. This wine has a dry, focused, mouthwatering finish.”
There it is. I’d add that this is probably the best Oregon Chardonnay I’ve ever tasted. They make so little I really don’t know why I got this deal. But since I did, I’m loading up. I suggest you do the same!