Adelsheim is a working dream in Willamette Valley

Having a dream is one thing; having vision is another. Many fantasize about planting vines and making wine. Few have the discipline to pull it off successfully.

David and Ginny Adelsheim were inspired to establish a vineyard in the Willamette Valley of Oregon after a trip to Europe in 1971. Throughout their 41-year history, they have always taken their success and re-invested it in their dream. They had a plan and they worked the plan.

At first, they just expanded upon their facility, then they expanded and upgraded their winery and purchased and/or leased more land. After this, they invested in people, hiring both a winemaker and a viticulturalist. With a solid product and the people behind it to keep it that way, they revamped their tasting room in a continuing effort to put best foot forward.

Success didn't land in their lap. They worked at it every day for decades. Their steady growth has been coupled by vision and pre-plan, and the pay-off is impressive: quality wines that just keep improving.

If you haven't tried a wine from Adelsheim in a while, I highly recommend:

Adelsheim Auxerrois, Ribbon Ridge, Oregon 2011 ($20). This white is crafted from a little-known gouais blanc x pinot cross called auxerrois. Gouais was a plebian grape variety grown throughout northeast France early on. Together with fromenteau, it was one of the two most widely planted grapes in Champagne before vignerons switched to chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. One of its offspring, auxerrois, delivers a high-acid quaff that is fairly neutral aromatically. In the Adelsheim version, the fruit is understated … just a little pear, but this subtle undercurrent is coupled by waves of minerality. The wine is pure stone juice. It's a delectable, crunchy white. Enjoy with seafood.

Gouais blanc, also known as weisser heunisch, is the mother of many French and German varieties.

Gouais blanc x pinot* crosses include: aligoté, auxerrois, gamay blanc, gamay noir, melon and sacy grape varieties.

Gouais blanc x (wild grape x Traminer) crosses include: riesling and elbling.

Gouais blanc x chenin blanc gave us colombard.

*Because pinot noir, pinot gris and pinot blanc have the same genetic makeup (just different phenotypes or outward expression of those genes), it is impossible to determine which member of the pinot family crossed with gouais blanc.

Wallace Brook Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon 2009 ($20). Wallace Brook is a second label from Adelsheim … and, honest and true, the label itself is a little lackluster. But don't be deterred. The wine is positively first class. This is a stunning pinot noir. It is as smooth as satin and beautifully perfumed with vanilla, violet and explosive, vibrant raspberry fruit. The wine packs such energy that you feel as if you have just tapped into a fresh mountain stream. One sip is so provocative, it commands another. If you just purchase one bottle, you will deeply regret it.

Adelsheim Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon 2010 ($35). This wine is a dramatic foil to the Wallace Brook. It has more depth and less fruit. There is a tight mineral core encased within dark plummy fruit. The tannins are taffeta smooth while still maintaining a little grip. The wine is very akin to a deep mountain lake. Serious and still.

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