Stangeland Vineyards & Winery Review
Address: 8500 Hopewell Rd., NW Salem,Oregon 97013.
Phone Number: 800-301-9482
Tasting Hours: Apr-Dec: Sat-Sun 12:00-5:00 and by appt.
Region: Willamette Valley AVA, Eola-Amity Hills AVA, Oregon
Reviewer: Rob Boss
Review Date: 12/13/2013
Reviewer: Rob Boss
(Photos by Jai Soots)
Stangeland probably isn’t the smallest winery I’ve ever seen, but it’s got to be close. Parking seems tricky at first but isn’t hard after you figure it out (back into a space). We were waved in by the tasting room maven as he unlocked the doors, and he promptly set up our glasses, chatting pleasantly as he did his opening duties. Walking into the tasting room is something like walking into a college student’s house, with its requisite clutter and old but comfortable furniture. But attention is quickly, if not instantly, drawn to the barrels that are stacked to more or less make a wall, dividing wine production and lab areas from the rest. Almost all of the space is used to produce wine, and whatever is left over is a tasting room. That’s fine.
The first pour, a 2010 Chardonnay, showed an over-oaked nose but it had a bright acidity and a tart green apple flavor that was refreshing. A rosewater note usually identifies a Gewurtztraminer, and Stangeland’s 2011 edition is true to the varietal but shows only a subtle touch; not as much as others but it’s there. Juicy apple and star fruit follow.
Next up we went to Pinot Gris from two vintages. The 2010 showed pears on the nose, with more, bright pear and apple flavors, Granny Smiths in particular. The 2011 Gris was more forward. Same flavor profile as the 2010 but it was more forward and definedlike it was the 2010 times two.
One of the stars of the show was the 2011 Rose of Tempranillo. Although the nose was a little shy with just a whiff of strawberry, the palate was full of happy berry flavors. Bright, ripe strawberry that shouts a hell yeah, thanks to 1.4% residual sugar. This is a delightful rose.
But Pinot Noir is what the Willamette Valley is all about, and the 2009 Vermeer Vineyards offered a beautiful, earthy, brambly nose. There was the usual all things red typical of the vintage, but there’s a beautiful, earthy core that’s like tasting the roots of the 30 year old vines. This wine was a one of a kind in the Stangeland line up, made from 100% Dijon clones.
Things got even more interesting when they opened the 2008 Stand Sure Vineyards Pinot. We paused just a moment to let it open up and were rewarded with cherry and strawberry aromatics, followed by cherry and strawberry flavors. A field blend of Pommard and Wadenswillalways right up my alleybrings great aromatics and focused, integrated young fruit flavors.
Next and also freshly opened was the 2008 Stangeland Estate Pinot Noir, which meant another long pause. Fortunately, the veteran staff were fun, offering their perspective of working with the wine over many years. After a few minutes of enthusiastic swirling, we were rewarded with a nose of crushed raspberry and cherry. The palate was integrated and defined strawberry, raspberry and cherry flavors, and still plenty of tannins. The wine is about a year shy of mature at this point but it’s beautiful.
Often asked is the question of How do you know it needs another year? and one of the easiest ways to guess is by opening a bottle that’s a year olderwhich our affable tasting room mavens were happy to do, in the interest of comparison (these guys are great). My tasting notes for the 2007 Estate Reserve start with, Oh my intense. There’s something of a spicy explosion of clove, vanilla and cherry pie upon raising the glass. The wine still has plenty of structure, with classic strawberry, raspberry, and cherry flavors and a nice, long, musing finish. This is an outstanding wine.
Stangeland is an outstanding winery, all in an operation the size of a moderate house. The crew is warm and hospitable and carry themselves with the easy confidence and pride that happens when they know their product is great. The more excited we got about their wine, the more excited they got and kept opening great stuff for us to try. That got results when we spent a little over budgetfair warningbut Stangeland’s wines offer very good value in relation to their peers and their service is second to none.