Hope Well Wines Chenin Blanc Estate Eola-Amity Hills 2020
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Direct Press Selection | April 2022
Hope Well, founded by one of the country's most respected vineyard whisperers Mimi Casteel, is the liquid embodiment, quite literally from the ground up, of the commune between humanity and nature. Mimi quickly became the face of regenerative agriculture, an approach to farming that works to actively sequester carbon, healing the land and purifying air and soil. Her commitment to this exhaustive modality yielded amazing, highly sought after grapes, producing wines that really turned by head and blew my hair back (yes, I know I'm balding).
2020 was a year that broke many of our collective hearts. It's was especially difficult in Oregon, where the double gut punch of the Covid-19 pandemic and unprecedented smoke from wildfires made winemaking in the Willamette Valley nearly impossible. Mimi persevered, and made some spine-tingling good white wines. The 2020 Chenin Blanc was the first vintage for wine produced from the estate's Riesling vines grafted over to the notoriously finicky variety and the results were outstanding, but when considering what the year threw at Mimi, the wines should win some damn awards.
The Chenin grapes were harvested after the smoke dissipated and were pressed off skins right away, and fermented in neutral french oak. Beautifully ripe, with a nose of mandarin orange and cream. Bright, vibrant acidity lifts the medium-bodied palate up higher than I was initially expecting, creating a lightness to the power this wine has. Nectarine, fleshy pear and wildflower honey notes shine through. Nothing short of breathtaking. [Kirk Sutherland, April 2022]