Dick and Nancy Ponzi moved their young family to the Willamette Valley in the late 1960s with a spirit of adventure and a passion for making world-class Pinot Noir. After many research trips to Burgundy and an extensive search for the ideal location, they purchased 20 acres on a small farm just southwest of Portland, Oregon. It was a daring risk--at the time, the Pacific Northwest was not thought to be a place to grow Pinot Noir, but Dick and Nancy realized the northern Willamette Valley's climate was ideal for cool climate varieties. Pinot Noir cuttings were planted, and in 1970, Ponzi Vineyards was founded.
Ponzi Vineyards continues to set the standard for Oregon's viticultural innovation while maintaining an unwavering commitment to a tradition of winemaking excellence. For the last 25 years, this philosophy has been carried on by the Ponzi family's second generation: President and Director of Sales and Marketing, Anna Maria Ponzi, and Winemaker Luisa Ponzi.
All 130 acres of the family-owned vineyards are LIVE Certified Sustainable, the world's highest standard for sustainable viticulture and enology. Driven by the concept that the varietal must match the terroir and climate, Ponzi Vineyards continues to set the bar for Oregon and remains at the forefront of the nation's top wine producers.
The 2016 Ponzi Chardonnay Reserve is a blend of Ponzi's LIVE Certified Sustainable Avellana and Aurora Vineyards' Chardonnay with those of Paloma, Alloro and Three Cedars Vineyards. All the grapes were planted on Laurelwood soil in the Chehalem Mountains AVA and the Eola-Amity Hills AVA (Sunset View and Bunker Hill).
The fruit was whole-cluster pressed and the juice moved to French oak barrels (15% new) and fermented in barrel using partial wild yeast. Malolactic fermentation was spontaneous and 100%. Lees were stirred once a week for 6 months and racked after 12 months to very neutral oak. After 20 months of total barrel age, the wine was moved by compressed gas to tank for blending, and then bottled by gravity.
Stylistically this wine blurs the lines between top-flight Cali Chardonnay and the more mineral-inflected Chardonnays from Burgundy. It is widely considered one of Oregon's top examples...
92 Points! The 2016 Chardonnay Reserve has a lovely nose of apple pie, hazelnuts, honey, cream and mushroom with notes of cheese rind and a spicy undercurrent. The medium-bodied palate has a creamy texture and savory character, with juicy acidity and a long finish. - Erin Brooks, robertparker.com
93 Points! This is a complex chardonnay with a wealth of ripe peaches and pears, framed in attractive, grilled-cashew and praline nuances. The palate has very composed texture and freshness and delivers a sturdy, concentrated impression with pears, lemons and grilled hazelnuts to close. - JamesSuckling.com
93 Points! With both quality and interest in Oregon Chardonnay at an all-time high, it's a pleasure to see one of the state's founding wineries offering its reserve-level effort at a price well below the competition. Supple and sexy, this is buoyed by juicy acids atop tangy flavors of gooseberry, green apple, grapefruit and Meyer lemon. But don't think it's sour: those flavors round out into a palate pleasing, lightly toasty finish, with the extra details that native yeasts often provide. Editors' Choice - Wine Enthusiast