Chemistry Pinot Noir Rosé Bubbles NV, Willamette Valley
Cost: $19-21
F inding just the right wine to go with your meal can be tricky. In fact, many great chefs pick the wine first and then build the meal around that.
Some foods that I like are really tough to pair, such as Latin American food, Asian food and spicy dishes in general. But there is one go-to wine in all those situations: sparkling wine.
I suppose there are some foods that are not good with sparkling wine–something with sauerkraut perhaps?–but there aren’t many.
So when we had Japanese-style fried rice I reached for the Chemistry Rosé bubbles. It was a great choice.
In the glass the wine is a beautiful deep pink, with lots of bubbles and inviting aromas of peach and watermelon. The taste is dry, but not bone-dry, with flavors of watermelon and strawberry and a creamy texture. It’s a lively, rich wine that makes you smile with each sip.
Chemistry is a joint venture between two of the best known Oregon wineries, Stoller and Chehalem, which make excellent premium wines. By joining forces the wineries somehow manage to keep prices of the Chemistry wines down. It helps that both wineries are owned by the same person, Bill Stoller.
The winery says Chemistry wines are made for those everyday moments, and at these prices, they are perfect for a weeknight dinner when you want a good wine.
Winery: The joint operation of Chemistry is the brainchild of Bill Stoller, who owns Stoller Vineyards and Chehalem Winery.
Stoller has deep roots in the vineyards. He was raised on the family farm outside of Dayton, Oregon.
After earning a business degree and an MBA, Stoller co-founded a staffing company that became the largest privately-held staffing company in the world. He later founded a human resources outsource company.
All that allowed him to pursue his passion for wine.
Henry Peterson-Nedry bought his first land in the early 1980s and planted Ridgecrest Vineyards in the spectacular soil of Ribbon Ridge. He founded Chehalem Winery in 1990 and released his first wine, Ridgecrest Pinot Noir.
He was one of the first to plant grapevines in the Willamette Valley and soon many others followed.
In 1993 Stoller and his wife Cathy bought part ownership in Chehalem Wines from Stoller’s friend Peterson-Nedry. Later that year the family turkey farm that had been established in 1943 by Bill’s father and uncle ceased operation. The Stollers bought the property from Bill’s cousin and decided to plant vines.
The Stollers planted their first 20 acres of pinot noir and chardonnay in 1995. The estate is the largest contiguous vineyard in Dundee Hills, and the wines are produced from 100 percent estate fruit.
Stoller built the winery with conservation and preservation in mind. The winery features gravity-flow technology, and it was the first in the world to receive LEED Gold certification, which means it is sustainably built and environmentally friendly.
The 4,000-square-foot tasting room is a stunner, with floor-to-ceiling glass garage doors that are opened in nice weather. You feel like you’re sitting in the vineyard. The south-facing roof is covered with solar panels. As you sip your wine you look out to the hillside vineyard.
My wife and I visited the property with friends four years ago and rented one of the Stoller guest houses set among the vines. The guest house we stayed in is one of three available to rent. All are set in the vineyards and provide a memorable wine experience.
The winery was named 2014 Northwest Winery of the Year by Wine Press Northwest, Oregon’s Best Tasting Room by USA Today, and one of Oregon’s Most Admired Companies by the Portland Business Journal.
In 2008 the Chehalem vineyards and winery became certified sustainable by LIVE, a group that supports environmentally and socially responsible wine growing.
Last year Peterson-Nedry decided to concentrate on his vineyard and sold his share of the Chehalem winery to Stoller. So now Bill Stoller runs both Stoller and Chehalem as well as a couple of other brands. It is a seamless transition as both families share values such as sustainability and innovation.
The Chehalem vineyards are in the Chehalem Mountains, Ribbon Ridge and Dundee Hills viticultural areas in the Willamette Valley.
Chehalem became the sixth Oregon winery to achieve B Corp Certification, which assesses companies to ensure they meet the highest standard of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability.
Goes with: We had this wine with Yakitori style fried rice, a Japanese dish that has plenty of soy sauce. It’s the soy sauce that makes this such a difficult food to pair with wine.
I have made Yakitori chicken on the grill, and I love the flavors you get from the soy sauce, ginger, green onions and saki that goes into the marinade. It takes time to prepare and then you have to let the chicken marinate.
But the dish we had for dinner was simplicity itself because I bought it in the frozen food section of Costco. All I had to do was put the plastic bag full of fried rice in the microwave, and in about four minutes we had dinner.
The box even offered a serving suggestion: pack the rice in a bowl, turn the bowl upside down on your plate, and it looks the same way they serve it in Japanese restaurants. Because the dish is loaded with vegetables as well as pieces of chicken, we didn’t need a side dish. But we did add cut up pieces of vegetables to serve as a salad.
This would be a nice wine with a weekend brunch, especially when we get to the point of being able to have group gatherings again. It pairs with nearly every food.
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