Normally Laurel Ridge does not enter wine competitions. We typically find ourselves too busy in the cellar making sure each wine is the best version of itself that it can be or in the tasting room showcasing our beautiful wines. We also make such small amounts of most things, we often don’t like to spare bottles for competitions as there is usually just enough of every bottle to be enjoyed by our wonderful club members and guests. But this spring something special happened.
Jason Lett at Eyrie Vineyards invited us to join him in submitting our Chasselas Doré to the worldwide Chasselas competition at Château d’Aigle in Switzerland. Jason has been calling us to participate for several years saying the Swiss are aware that we have Chasselas vines here in Oregon and they are eager to have us participate. So much so that they pay the entry fee into the competition and pay for the freight to get the wines to Switzerland (which costs more than a first class plane ticket!) This past spring, Jason had told Lucas that Eyrie has been competing for several years but had yet to receive a medal, but Jason seemed happy to participate in the Swiss festivities and we thought well, why not? We are one of only three vineyards in Oregon that grow this interesting and unusual Swiss varietal, the vineyards united by the deep roots we share as part of the re-founding of the Oregon wine industry- the connection being Charles Coury (with whom David Teppola was invested in the late 1960’s) and David Lett.
Submitting our bottles of ’22 Estate Chasselas Doré to the Mondial competition had become a distant memory as we have been busy this year opening our Bend tasting room and ironically preparing our vineyard to receive some young Chasselas vines. Imagine our shock and delight when we were called in early July by a judge for the competition and found out we were awarded a silver medal. The jury— composed primarily of European judges, including representatives from various highly prestigious world wine organizations and federations— had decided our Chasselas Doré could hold its own. Amazing is not a strong enough word. It brought tears to our eyes. The ironies abound. This is our oldest vineyard. It is 43 years old. It was planted in the spring of 1980— the same year that David and Susan met. It is on its own roots. Our larger 50 acre vineyard on the hill, planted on own roots in 1981, succumbed to phylloxera in 2006. But our Chasselas soldiered on. It is old and phylloxerated now, producing almost nothing- only 40 cases in 2022. To have that tiny, struggling, 1 acre vineyard produce a silver medal in an international competition is astounding. We could not be prouder.
Read more about the competition from Michael Alberty on Oregonlive!