The fruit for this wine was harvest from old, ungrafted Riesling vines (planted in 1976) in the Medici Vineyard, an exceptional site in the Chehalem Mountains AVA, located just a few miles from Appassionata Estate. The Appassionata Riesling is made following the traditional winemaking approach that Ernst Loosen uses for his Dr. Loosen GGs — fermented in a 3,000-liter German oak cask and matured on the full lees for 12 months before bottling. The extended lees contact allows the wine to clarify and find its own harmonious balance naturally.
Ernst Loosen’s Pinot Noir passion project in Oregon.
Passion. Patience. Place.
Appassionata is the culmination of renowned German winemaker Ernst “Erni” Loosen’s vision of establishing a high-end, European-style winery and vineyard in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Rooted in Old World traditions, the winery is dedicated to crafting exquisitely expressive Pinot Noirs and white wines with extraordinary ageability. Driven by Erni’s belief that the true character and complexity of a wine doesn’t emerge until it has developed maturity, Appassionata Estate holds its wines for up to 10 years, ensuring they are ready to enjoy upon release.
A lifelong enthusiast of the great Pinot Noirs of the world, Erni began exploring Oregon’s Willamette Valley nearly three decades ago. After many visits to the region and tasting numerous wines, he recognized that Oregon Pinot Noir has the potential to age well. In 2005, Erni realized his dream of producing an Oregon Pinot Noir when he launched Appassionata as a collaborative project with J. Christopher Wines. After several vintages of bottling Appassionata as a limited, highly selected Pinot Noir, Erni decided to put down roots in Oregon. He purchased 40 acres in the Chehalem Mountains, near Newberg, planting the Appassionata vineyard and building the Appassionata Winery.
Inspired by the three movements of Beethoven’s “Appassionata” Piano Sonata, the winery crafts three distinctive Pinot Noirs that are thematically intertwined expressions of the Willamette Valley. The Allegro cuvée is selected from barrels that show a precocious liveliness and will drink well after three years, but is still built for aging. The Andante is released five years after the vintage and is selected to emphasize elegance and refinement. The Fortissimo is the pinnacle of Appassionata’s Pinot Sonata, crafted for its longevity and expressiveness, and not released until 10 years after the vintage. Appassionata also produces a barrel-fermented Chardonnay, a Sauvignon Blanc produced in Acacia barrels and a dry Riesling inspired by the historical winemaking techniques of Erni’s great-grandfather.
Guided by the three core principles of patience, passion and place, Appassionata is committed to growing exceptional quality fruit and practicing unhurried winemaking, allowing the wines to unfold at their own tempo. The wines are then given time to develop, both in the barrel and bottle, so they can clearly reveal the unique nature of their terroir, as well the signature of the vintage.
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Appassionata Chardonnay is the expressive summit of this classic Burgundian variety in the Willamette Valley. Fermented and matured in large (500-liter) oak casks, it rests on the full lees for two years before bottling. It then rests in our cellar for another year before its release, three years after the vintage once it begins to reveal the unique nature of its terroir and signature of the vintage. The silky texture is met with notes of stone fruits and focused acidity built to enjoy now and to age gracefully over many years.
Very little Sauvignon Blanc is grown in the Willamette Valley, but it performs well in our cool-climate and the section of our vineyards that stands out for its alluvial clay soil. The Über Sauvignon is fermented and matured in large-format acacia barrels, which gives the wine the textural benefit of wooden casks, but without any oak taste. The 2021 has brisk acidity that is balanced by a creamy texture — a fantastic drinking experience full of citrus, stone fruit, vivid acidity and a flavorful finish.
This cuvée is a selection of barrels that show a precocious liveliness and expressivity that will drink well as a youthful wine but is built to age. Bottled after 18 to 20 months in barrel, and released three years after the vintage, the Allegro beautifully displays the beginnings of bottle maturation that is only revealed with time and cannot be rushed. The 2019 is delicately textured, but dark in tone and richly flavored with an insistent edge of black cherry fruit, and a juicy, lifted finish.
The Andante Pinot Noir is made with patience and restraint and is selected to emphasize elegance and refinement. Held in our cellar longer than the Allegro, the Andante is released five years after the vintage. The 2017 exhibits great aromatic and textural finesse, with delicately pretty fruit and a silky, harmonious texture. The hint of extract sweetness that emerges on the finish is exactly what we’re looking for as Pinot Noir matures.
The Fortissimo is selected for ultimate expressivity and longevity of Oregon Pinot Noir, and it is not released until 10 years after the vintage. This is the epitome of expressive excellence that we are seeking in Willamette Valley Pinot Noir — a wine that combines brooding intensity with lilting grace and can stand alongside the classic wines of the world. The 2012 is muscular and full-bodied, with a deep color and seamless structure. In this phase of maturation, tertiary aromas begin to show a profound complexity and subtle earthiness that only develops with bottle age and cannot be accelerated.