2011 Woodward Canyon Chardonnay
*Editors' Choice* Woodward Canyon makes one of Washington’s most interesting Chardonnays, blending fruit from the old vines at Celilo in the Columbia Gorge, with estate-grown grapes from the western end of the Walla Walla Valley. In this cooler vintage, the wine remains beautifully proportionate, round and fruity, with pretty apple, pear and peach highlights. There is a light dusting of spice, and a lick of caramel on the finish.
Fresh and lively, with juicy pear and grapefruit flavors that are shaded with a hint of spice as the finish lingers intently. Drink now through 2015. 733 cases made.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Pale bright yellow. Lemon drop and spicy oak aromas lifted by a subtle herbal element. On the palate, the intense lemon drop and spicy oak flavors are complicated by a saline note and framed by firm acidity. Very well done but not yet complex; I'd wait a year or two on this one. Finishes slightly warm but smooth, with lingering lemony fruit. This is the only chardonnay release from Woodward Canyon in vintage 2011.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Comprising two-thirds fruit from Celilo Vineyard in the Columbia Gorge and one-third fruit from the estate’s oldest vines (primarily old Wente selections) – each barrel-fermented separately, with malolactic transformation arrested in selected barrels – the Woodward Canyon 2011 Chardonnay captures both fresh pear and apple juiciness as well as subtle creaminess, exhibiting a palpable sense of extract without significant weight or heat. In fashion not atypical for its vintage, it came out at only 13.3% natural alcohol even after being picked very late. A faintly bitter fruit pip edge adds stimulation to a juicy, if for now at least, not terribly complex finish. I would plan on enjoying this over the next 2-3 years.