2022 Evening Land, Chardonnay Eola-Amity Hills "Seven Springs"
2022 Evening Land, Chardonnay Eola-Amity Hills "Seven Springs"

2022 Evening Land, Chardonnay Eola-Amity Hills "Seven Springs"

Oregon, United States 2022 (750mL)
Regular price$45.00

2022 Evening Land, Chardonnay Eola-Amity Hills "Seven Springs"

To some Oregon wine observers, Evening Land and its “Seven Springs Vineyard” might seem like relatively new kids on the block. Yes, there have been some high-profile personnel shifts over the years, but the heart and soul of the operation—Seven Springs—has been a fixture in the Eola-Amity Hills for more than 35 years. In addition to being the “home” vineyard of Evening Land, its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes are coveted by a host of other top producers, including Adelsheim, Domaine Drouhin, Cristom, Evesham Wood, and Penner-Ash. As Willamette Valley vineyards go, Seven Springs is now a bona fide “Grand Cru,” and its stewards at Evening Land—led by the dynamic duo of Rajat Parr and Sashi Moorman—are bottling wines that stand toe-to-toe with the best of Burgundy. It doesn’t hurt that one of the world’s great masters of Chardonnay—Burgundy vintner Dominique Lafon—lends his expertise to Evening Land as a consultant, but ultimately, it starts with that pristine Seven Springs raw material. It’s tempting to label this well-priced ’22 as a “game-changer,” but really, it’s merely the latest in a long line of impeccable wines. This, unequivocally, is a new standard-bearer for American Chardonnay.

At this point, it’s almost impossible to count the sommelier-turned-winemaker Rajat Parr’s various wine projects. Ditto for his longtime collaborator, Santa Barbara winemaker Sashi Moorman, who serves as the managing partner of Evening Land Vineyards as well as Domaine de la Côte and Sandhi in California. These guys are incredibly busy, and extremely well-traveled, and they employ many of the farming and winemaking techniques that have become popular in Burgundy. They have led the charge toward organic farming (with some biodynamic practices) in Seven Springs, and their choices around when to harvest and what kind of cooperage to use are all geared toward (a) preserving vital acidity and energy and (b) fostering a sense of balance and terroir-transparency.

As we have learned over the years, the Willamette Valley has numerous sub-appellations with distinctive terroirs, like the iron-rich, volcanic Jory soils of Eola-Amity Hills. Within this sub-AVA, you’ll find the sun-soaked, east-facing vineyard of Seven Springs, which has been farmed biodynamically for the past decade (it is certified by LIVE, an organization that oversees environmental and responsible winegrowing). Moreover, Seven Springs has been “dry-farmed”—i.e. not irrigated—since the beginning, which is always a roll of the dice. The water stress the vines experience helps limit vigor and infuse a smaller crop of grapes with greater concentration.

The Eola-Amity Hills also sit in the Van Duzer Corridor, a natural break in Oregon’s Pacific Range which shuttles a constant stream of cool air like a bullet train throughout the summer. This lengthens the growing season and helps preserve the all-important acidity that distinguishes great, age-worthy Chardonnay. Fruit for today’s 2022 was sourced from an especially cool, high-elevation block within Seven Springs. Grapes were whole-cluster-pressed to a combination of used French oak barriques and larger Austrian puncheons (from the fashionable cooper Stockinger) for fermentation, after which the finished wine was aged roughly six months in barrel—and one more in tank—before bottling.

In the glass, the ’22 Seven Springs is a pale straw-gold with green highlights at the rim. The aromatics are a fresh, perfumed mix of yellow and green apple, green pear, lime blossom, wildflower honey, and crushed chalk. The palate is medium-bodied and tightly coiled, promising many years of graceful aging ahead. One’s first reference point upon putting my nose in the glass is Puligny-Montrachet—the energy and minerality are there, with an extra layer of ripe, textured fruit that lands you in Oregon. Much in the same way that Oregon Pinots capture the “savory” side of that grape, this Chardonnay delivers a level of minerality you don’t always find in the New World. If you’re enjoying a bottle now, decant it about 30 minutes before serving in large Burgundy stems. This wine still has a lot more to say, so be sure to grab a healthy supply for your cellar, so you can revisit it five or 10 years down the line. Cheers!

2022 Evening Land, Chardonnay Eola-Amity Hills "Seven Springs"

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