[review] Oregon has not always been famed for its innovative wine industry—it was established during a different era in America, when an idealization of going back to the land, a vision of a lifestyle focused on wine, and faith in one’s own abilities could stand-in for a business plan.

Adelsheim Vineyard played a major role in bringing that vision to life as one of Oregon’s founding wineries. From planting the first vineyard in the early 1970’s to farming 237 acres in the north Willamette Valley today, a great deal of learning, experimentation and collaboration has contributed to the company’s and their region’s success.

Adelsheim Principals Chad Vargas, David Adelsheim and Dave Paige

Adelsheim Principals Chad Vargas, David Adelsheim and Dave Paige

In 1971, Ginny and David Adelsheim purchased the 19 acres that would become Quarter Mile Lane Vineyard. They shared a dream with a handful of families that Oregon’s climate and land could one day produce serious wines. A home was built, vines planted, and in 1978, the first commercial wines were produced. Over four decades, Adelsheim Vineyard grew up with Oregon’s wine industry.

The early dreams have become a reality and today the Adelsheim team is still dedicated to raising the bar with every growing season requires ceaseless attention to detail – from managing the crop size vine by vine to controlling 180 individual Pinot noir fermenters – while staying focused on the big picture. At their core, they are about crafting wines in a style consistent with their place.

Adelsheim combines traditional and state-of-the-art techniques to produce wines that show elegance, complexity, balance, and richness in their aromas, flavors, and texture. While we hadn’t tasted Adelsheim before this year, we’d have to agree they are raising the bar in every way possible. They made us fall back in love with Pinot Noir!

Wine tasting at the acclaimed boutique Oregon winery Adelsheim

Wine tasting at the acclaimed boutique Oregon winery Adelsheim

The 2008 Vintage 31 Pinot Noir that had us mesmerized and slightly intoxicated is a rare wine celebrating the 31st harvest at Adelsheim Vineyard. It is made from the four most exceptional barrels in the caves and represents the pinnacle of Willamette Valley viticulture and winemaking in the sought after 2008 vintage. It was a very good year….

Heady, smoke- and spice-accented red fruit and floral pastille aromas have impressive clarity and vivacity.  Deeper cherry and blackberry qualities on the palate, which shows a silken texture and strong back-end lift.  Closes smooth and very long, with superb focus and sweet tannins adding grip.  The dense, rich, layered, structured Pinot that demands at least 3 – 4 years of additional cellaring. It reflects the quality of the vintage in a big way. A wine you won’t easily forget.

Harvesting Pinot Noir grapes at the Adelsheim Winery

Harvesting Pinot Noir grapes at the Adelsheim Winery

We asked the team about the next step now that Adelsheim is solidly on the map as one of the most sought after Oregon wines. “It is our goal to be known as one of Oregon’s great wine producers. We will accomplish that by continuing to invest in great sites and talent.  We will be leaders in our industry, becoming a sustainable yet genuine force for economic and social growth in our state. We will collaborate with our industry colleagues to find innovative ways to market our region and its wines to the world so they have a global presence.

We are still true believers in the unique pleasures of Pinot noir and the amazing white wines of Oregon’s north Willamette Valley. The singular climate and the inimitable sites of this place are what allow us to create these memorable wines. It falls to us to explain their seriousness to the world.”

Adelsheim 40 Year Anniversary from Ben Garvey on Vimeo.