Celebrating Oregon Wine Month – Loosen Bros. USA Monthly Newsletter

Apr 26, 2024 | J. Christopher, Featured, Appassionata

Each May we’re dedicated to the celebration of Oregon Wine Month – a time to toast the rich tapestry of winemaking that flows through the verdant landscapes of Oregon. Oregon wine country is a treasure trove of viticultural diversity, boasting an impressive array of 23 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs). Each region offers a unique narrative of terroir-driven excellence, championing both the art and science of winemaking. This month, we’re uncorking the stories behind three of Oregon’s illustrious wine regions, and spotlighting the age-worthy wines from Appassionata Estate, and the single-vineyard expressions from J. Christopher Wines.


Oregon’s Illustrious Wine Regions

The Chehalem Mountains AVA

The Chehalem Mountains AVA spans over 100 square miles and lies just 19 miles from downtown Portland and 45 miles from the coast. It boasts elevations ranging from 200 to 1,633 feet, leading to varied temperatures and rainfall patterns. The region’s rich geological history, with soils ranging from sedimentary seabeds to red volcanic soils, offers a diverse foundation for vineyards.

The Appassionata Estate vineyard that surrounds the winery showcases 11 distinct soil types alone, providing a palette of terroir possibilities to work with. This geological diversity creates a fascinating landscape for viticulture. While wines from this AVA display diverse characteristics, the basalt soils prevalent in the Appassionata Vineyard typically yield well-structured, minerally driven, and fruit-forward Pinot Noirs.


Medici Vineyard Riesling Block

The Riesling block of the Medici Vineyard

Medici Vineyard

This excellent site is situated on the south-facing Chehalem Mountains slope, just a few miles east of the Appassionata winery. The oldest blocks were planted in 1976, producing lovely, distinctive Pinot Noir and Riesling fruit. The old vines bring complexity and layers of minerality, with less of an emphasis on overt fruitiness, making this an ideal site for the Appassionata and J. Christopher winemaking styles.


The Dundee Hills AVA

The Dundee Hills AVA is situated approximately 28 miles southwest of Portland and 40 miles inland from the Oregon Coast. Shielded by the Coast Range from extreme weather conditions, this region receives an average of 30 to 45 inches of rainfall annually, mostly falling outside the growing season. This appellation features a series of hills formed by volcanic activity and tectonic shifts. It is renowned for its fertile, red volcanic Jory soils, derived from ancient basalt and comprised of silt, clay, and loam. Typically reaching a depth of four to six feet, these soils offer excellent drainage for high-quality grape cultivation. Pinot Noir from the Dundee Hills is known for its elegant fruitiness and profound earthy flavors.

Kolb Vineyard

The Kolb Vineyard

Kolb Vineyard

The Kolb Vineyard is a lovely three-acre site in a tucked-away corner of the Dundee Hills. Its 25-year-old, ungrafted Pommard vines produce complex wines with pure fruit and an elegant structure.

La Colina Vineyard

La Colina is one of our favorite vineyards in the Dundee Hills. Its high-elevation, gentle slopes, and Jory clay soil produce delicate wines with red fruits, lovely floral aromas an intriguing mélanage of baking spices.


The Eola-Amity Hills AVA

The Eola-Amity Hills AVA, situated approximately 15 miles south of the winery, encompasses nearly 38,000 acres extending from Amity to Salem. Similar to the Dundee Hills, this series of hills, ranging from 250 to 750 feet in elevation, was formed by intense volcanic and tectonic processes over millions of years. In shaping the wine style of this AVA, two main factors stand out: the shallow soils and the influence of the Van Duzer Corridor.

The shallow, rocky soils, primarily volcanic basalt mixed with alluvial deposits, offer excellent drainage, leading to grapes with high flavor concentration. The Van Duzer Corridor, a passage through the Coast Range, enables cool ocean breezes to enter from the west, significantly lowering nighttime temperatures. This natural cooling effect aids in preserving the grapes’ bright acidity and solid structure during their maturation.

Bieze Vineyard 2019

The Bieze Vineyard

Bieze Vineyard

This site sits high up in the Eola-Hills where it benefits from the cool ocean breezes that flow in through the Van Duzer Corridor, a break in the Coast Range. This allows for longer hang time, as the grapes ripen more slowly while retaining superb acidity. The Pommard clone of Pinot is grown here in soils formed from layers of volcanic basalt.


New and Upcoming Releases from the Willamette Valley

Wine bottles in the barrel cave

New and Upcoming Releases from Appassionata Estate and J. Christopher Wines

2020 J. Christopher Lunatique Rouge

New release – available now!

This cuvée combines the elegant, fruity notes of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir with the bold, structural complexity of Walla Walla Syrah – this pairing of seeming opposites is not crazy, it’s delicious!

2020 Appassionata Chardonnay

Upcoming release

An intense expression of Chardonnay, this wine has energy and persistence both in the aroma and on the palate. There is a kinetic edge to the dark fruit aromatics, followed by a dense, rounded fruit and stone texture on the palate. The impressive body and depth are held together in lively balance by the taut acid structure, which ensures a long life for the wine. A wine built for long-term cellaring, at this young age it benefits from a few hours of exposure to air, which allows its natural harmony to emerge.

2022 Appassionata Über Sauvignon Blanc

Upcoming release

Very little Sauvignon Blanc is grown in the Willamette Valley, but it performs well in the section of the Appassionata Vineyard that stands our for its alluvial clay soil. With layers of exotic fruits and a seamlessly harmonious structure, the Über Sauvignon Blanc goes above and beyond the ordinary.