Gran Moraine bottle and glass
Gran Moraine 2018 Dropstone Chardonnay.
InsideHook Highlights 5 Yamhill-Carlton AVA Chardonnays (That Are Shaking Up The Oaky Chardonnay Stereotype) 

Wine writer Kate Dingwall included 5 Yamhill-Carlton AVA winemakers in a recent article about finding good Chardonnay. These Oregon standouts are renewing faith in the variety by escaping the follies of past producers. 

Chardonnay has garnered somewhat of a bad reputation over the years due to mass-production and the over-use of oak to mask or hide mistakes. Luckily, there are many producers working hard to restore the grape’s true features.

…the best Chardonnay is so much more. It can be lean and sparkling, crisp and mineral-driven, or opulent and rich. It thrives in the north of France, the south of Chile and almost every region in between.   

Among winemakers around the world, the article specifically highlighted Yamhill-Carlton AVA producers who are making beautiful Chardonnay. 

From Willamette’s Yamhill-Carlton AVA – a particularly stunning collective of makers and growers — keep an eye out for Chardonnay from Nicolas-Jay, Soter Vineyards, Tendril Wine Cellars and Gran Moraine.

Looking to Try These Standout Oregon Chardonnays?
If you’re excited to jump into these lovely offerings, here are 5 Chardonnays from these Oregon wineries you have to try.

Belle Pente 

2019 Belle Pente Estate Chardonnay $39
“Our Chardonnay hails from a small, 2 acre parcel planted on a steep, south-west slope in 1999.  However, this estate designated bottling is only made in special vintages.  After a 3 year hiatus (since 2016), this 2019 version is a classic cool climate Chardonnay reflecting the best of this cool, classic vintage.  The vineyard was picked on two days, with 40% on the first day, reflecting more fresh, citrus attributes, and the balance picked 10 days later, allowing the fruit to develop more exotic, tropical characteristics and silkier texture.  This is a terrific example of the emerging style of Willamette Valley Chardonnay that combines the best of old world and new world traditions . Enjoy over the next 10 years with white fish dishes (especially halibut), fresh garden pesto, and goat cheese.”

Soter Vineyards

2019 Soter Vineyards Estates Chardonnay $60
“The Estates Wines represents our fascination with the breadth of great vineyard sites located throughout the Northern Willamette Valley. This wine is comprised of Chardonnay entirely from our Estate holdings, which includes but is no longer limited to our flagship property, Mineral Springs Ranch. With recent property acquisitions, and the perfection of long-term leases and grape contracts, we can now rely on secure, “Estate” controlled sourcing for all the wines that carry the Soter name.”

Tendril Wine Cellars

2018 Tendril Enchanter Chardonnay $50
“True to its name, the Enchanter has a captivating nose of pear, honeydew melon, mango and green apple. Flavors of apple, Meyer lemon, and starfruit are complemented by lively acidity and a slightly creamy mid-palate.”

Gran Moraine

2018 Dropstone Chardonnay $85
“Sourced from two prized blocks of Chardonnay on our Gran Moraine Vineyard, the 2018 Dropstone Chardonnay is a singularity in and of itself. It uniquely straddles the new world and old world, possessing mesmerizing and captivating confidence.”


2019 Les Coteaux Chardonnay $40
“The beginning of 2019 was wet but warm. May and June were warmer than average, giving great weather conditions for the bloom in early June. Then the summer showed moderately cool conditions, with higher humidity. After a warm and dry August, and veraison on the middle of the month, a rapid cool down with significant precipitations in September slowed down the maturation. Juggling between rainfalls, we harvested our Pinot noir grapes from September 19th to October 2nd. Requiring a meticulous sorting, followed by a precise destemming, the grapes had a good and dynamic fermentation, revealing an elegant structure with delicate aromas.”