Truly memorable wines begin with passion, develop with patience, and reward you with a fully realized expression of their unique place in the world. Experience it at Appassionata Estate, rooted in the Chehalem Mountains in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Learn more about Ernst Loosen’s vision for unhurried winemaking as we celebrate Oregon Wine Month.
Passion, Patience, Place
Appassionata Estate has been a passion project for the renowned German winemaker Ernst Loosen. Erni’s lifelong love for exploring the world’s great Pinot Noirs drew him to Oregon nearly three decades ago. Over many visits, collecting wines and friends along the way, he realized that something special was going on in the Willamette Valley and began to dream of making wine here himself.
Never one to merely dream, Erni launched a small collaborative project with J. Christopher Wines in 2005, bottling a very limited, highly selected Pinot Noir that he named Appassionata. A few vintages later, he put down roots in Oregon, purchasing 40-acres in the Chehalem Mountains, planting the Appassionata Vineyard, and building the winery. His long-term vision was to establish an enduring family estate, dedicated to growing and producing exquisitely expressive wines with extraordinary ageability. It has been two decades in the making, but that vision is now being fully realized.
Wines for the Ages
For Erni, the real character and complexity of a truly great wine does not emerge until it has developed maturity, which can only happen through time and cannot be rushed. Given time—in the barrel and in the bottle—a fine wine will clearly reveal the unique nature of its terroir, as well as the signature of its vintage. This is what Appassionata Estate strives for: wines that vividly express their origins, and that have the depth, structure, and complexity to reward long-term cellar aging.
To achieve that, we grow fruit of exceptional quality and practice unhurried winemaking, allowing the wines to unfold at their own tempo. Then we hold them for up to 10 years before release, giving them time to emerge in full harmony. When you acquire a bottle of Appassionata wine, it will just be entering the peak of its development–ready to drink now, and with many vital years ahead of it.
Rooted in the volcanically formed, flood-washed hills of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Appassionata Vineyards is dedicated to honoring and expressing the soil, spirit, and substance of this very special place. Our wines celebrate the unique geology and climate that make this region so highly prized by wine lovers and collectors of the world over.
Situated on a gentle knoll, with spectacular views of the Chehalem Mountain ridgeline to the north and the Dundee Hills to the south, our vineyards benefit from an extraordinary diversity of site exposures and soil types, both volcanic and alluvial. After more than a decade of über-meticulous, German-style farming to establish the vineyards, our goal is to transpose their distinctive nature from the soil to the bottle.
The Appassionata Estate vineyard comprises 17 acres of Pinot Noir, two acres of Chardonnay, and one acre of Sauvignon Blanc. Planting began in 2010 and proceeded, block by block, over four years. Vines also need time and patience to establish their roots and develop depth of expression. So it is only now, a decade later, that the estate fruit is primarily dedicated to the production of Appassionata wines.
The Appassionata Estate winery is nestled into the north-facing slope of the property. Built in 2010, it features energy-efficient underground barrel caves, solar-powered fermentation buildings, and a gravity-fed crush pad. An open-air tasting room and patio invite visitors to experience the wines while enjoying the winery’s buzzing, eco-friendly gardens and commanding views of the surrounding hills and vineyards.
The Pinot Noirs
Inspired by the three movements of Beethoven’s complex and dramatically expressive “Appassionata” Piano Sonata, the Appassionata Pinot Sonata features three distinct but thematically intertwined expressions of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.
Allegro Pinot Noir
The opening tier of Appassionata Pinot Noir bears the name of the Piano Sonata’s first movement, Allegro, which is the musical pace of a brisk walk. 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 for aging. It is bottled after 18 to 20 months in barrel, and released three years after the vintage. The Allegro Pinot Noir beautifully displays the beginning of bottle maturation and will age gracefully for many years.
Andante Pinot Noir
The second movement, Andante (gentle, unhurried) is held longer in our cellar after bottling and is released five years after the vintage. Made with the same patience and restraint, this bottling is selected to emphasize elegance and refinement, a style reflected in Beethoven’s own performance direction for this movement: “Piano e Dolce” (softly and sweetly).
Fortissimo Pinot Noir
Selected for the ultimate expressivity and longevity, the Appassionata Pinot Noirfinale, Fortissimo (dynamically forceful), is not released until 10 years after the vintage. This cuvée epitomizes what we are seeking in Willamette Valley Pinot Noir – a wine that combines brooding intensity with lilting frace and can stand alongside the classic wines of the world for generations to come.
The White Wines
Über Sauvignon Blanc
Very little Sauvignon Blanc is grown in the Willamette Valley, but it performs well in the section of our vineyard that stands out for its alluvial clay soil. The Über Sauvignon is fermented and matured in large-format acacia barrels, which gives it the textural benefits of wooden casks, but without any oak taste.
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. The wine’s elegant texture, fine structure, and extended maturation time ensure a long life for this vibrant Chardonnay.
The GG designation indicates a dry-style wine from a vineyard of special distinction – in this case, the old-vine Medici vineyard, planted in 1976. We farm this exceptional site, which is just a few miles east of the winery on the Chehalem Mountian ridge. The wine is fermented in a 3,000-liter, neutral oak German Fuder cask. It rests on the lees for two years, and then is held in bottle for three to five years before release.
Learn more about Appassionata Estate at www.AppassionataEstate.com and by following us on social media @appassionataestate.