It was probably a little more then an hour, but the time went by quickly as I sat and tasted through the wines of Adelsheim with wine maker David Paige. I love hanging with wine makers. I liken it to hanging out with an assistant director of a movie. They give a different perspective to things and they love to share the nuts and bolts of what they do.

David Paige has a very interesting and insightful view of wine making in Oregon. As he put it, “We cannot mass produce in Oregon. The lay of the land does not allow it. Rolling hills and small lots of land restrict us from producing 5-7 tons an acre in the Willamette Valley. So, since we have to charge more for our wine, we had better give a superior product.” True to his words, Oregon has made its mark on the world scene with award winning pinot noir from many different producers all over the Willamette Valley. Adelsheim is to be included in that group of outstanding wineries from Oregon.

However, Oregon wineries… in particular those from the Willamette Valley are not one trick ponies. They have a lot to offer other then pinot noir.  I had a chance to taste many of the Adelsheim offerings with David as we talked. Here are my notes on the wines we enjoyed and I will include some of Davids insight on his approach to wine making.

2010 Adelsheim Pinot Blanc Bryan Creek Vineyard … $18.99

Pinot blanc is a tough sale on the store level. Many consumers are just not familiar with it. I believe once they try an effort like this they could be converted.

Aromas of ginger, apple, dusty rocks and hits of pear. Bracing on the palate with notes of lemon, lime and kiwi backed by a core of minerality. Mouthwatering wine with delicious apple skin notes on the mid-palate. Hits of lemon rind and grapefruit on a long, clean and bright finish. If you want the perfect wine with Northwest shellfish, I believe this might hit the mark. This wine benefits from Davids less is more approach  to wine making. He believes in very little manipulation allowing the fruit to express itself as it should be. As a result, this pinot blanc is expressive and vibrant.  89+ points

2011 Adelsheim Rose Willamette Valley, Oregon… $17.99

I am really not a fan of pinot noir rose simply because I find they lack any kind of vibrancy. However, David set me straight as to why this is the case. He pointed out that many wineries produce a pinot noir rose as a byproduct of actual pinot noir wine. (The red variety). Most wineries use the saignee method where they bleed off excess juice from the maceration process to concentrate their red wines. The excess juice, which is pink due to brief contact with red skins is used to produce a rose. In the case of pinot noir, which is a lighter red, you end up with a very weak rose.

So as he put it, Adelsheim wanted a rose so he told them, “Let’s make a rose, and not an afterthought.” As a result, Adelsheim’s rose is both delicious and vibrant. Aromas of ripe strawberries, cranberries and red plums. Soft and silky on the palate with notes of strawberries and Rainier cherries on the finish, followed by hits of apple skin. This rose has character, because they did not produce it with juice that was bled off to intensify their pinot noir. David made rose juice for the purpose of making a good rose. He succeeded.  90+ points

2010 Adelsheim Chardonnay Willamette Valley, Oregon … $18.99

Subtle aromas of apple, pear and hits of ginger spice. Apples all day on the palate backed by a vibrant acidity reminiscent of the pinot blanc. Very clean and crisp with hits of ginger and spice on the mid-palate. Just a touch of white pepper on the finish with hints of oak. This chard is NOT for those who like the oak laden buttered popcorn chards that are out there. By the way, I find that there are times when the BIG style is quite desirable. However, this chard is not big. Rather, it shows both finesse and arrogance at the same time.  A perfect compliment to mussels , clams or oysters it is both jazzy and delicious.  89 points

2010 Adelsheim Pinot Noir Willamette Valley … $28.99

Aromas of Asian spice, black tea and bright cherries with only the slightest hint of vanilla. Black tea and Bing cherries come through up front backed by some nice Asian spice elements on the mid. Nice long, pleasing finish with some cherry pit action going on. It  has excellent balance of fruit and acidity. This will age nicely over the next 10-15 years.   93 points.

2009 Elizbeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, Oregon … $50.99

Aromas of black raspberries and black cherries with hits of black tea and Asian spice. Concentrated notes of dark cherries come through on the palate with hits of oak and black tea. Nice balance on this wine with good acidity and fruit along with tiny hits of Asian spice. Give it 5-10 years if you have patience and you may be rewarded. I actually felt that the Willamette Valley (Regular) version is a much greater value.  90 points

After we finished up, I came away with a greater appreciation for the wines of Adelsheim and their wine maker David Paige. He is serious about what he does and it shows in the wines. I appreciate the less is more approach he takes in his wine making philosophy allowing the wines to express themselves as they should be without a lot of makeup. I have sold Adelsheim wines at my store with great success, and now I understand why.

Cheers! Stan The Wine Man


About Stan The Wine Man

I am a blue collar wine guy who has been in the biz for over twenty years. I work at a store in a tourist destination stop. I work hard at finding the best wine for the money. I love the challenge of learning my customer's palate so I can find the best wine for them, whether it is Petrus or white zinfandel. Cheers!
This entry was posted in Happenings and Whatever. and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply