Mission Codename Four barrels on a flatbed
OH LA LA! DOUBLE 92 points. A flashy, sexy, uber-polished Chard for your drinking pleasure. Priced fairly.
Ponzi has been lauded by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate as “a reference point for American Pinot Noir with Luisa Ponzi at the top of her game” while Paul Gregutt of Wine Enthusiast identified her as “one of the brightest stars among the new generation in Oregon.”
The Ponzi family moved to Willamette in the 60s with the goal of making world-class wines. Fifty years later, as one of the OG’s of Oregon, they are still delivering the goods.
Enough so that Bollinger took notice. The famed Champagne house acquired them last year.
Winemaker Luisa Ponzi learned a few things in Burgundy, where she got to work with the mythical Christophe Roumier before spending time at the famed Vietti in Piedmont. In fact, she was the first American woman to receive a certificate in enology and viticulture in Beaune, France.
This wine is deliciously buttery and rich. But not totally over the top. It has weight and opulence but remains graceful. It treats your taste buds to a mashup of lemon meringue, white peach, poached pears, and zippy citrus. Some wonderful minerality, too. It dishes out loads of ripe fruit up front, with a touch of acidity on the wings to keep it focused.
No wonder Antonio Galloni’s Vinous certifies that “Under the guidance of Luisa Ponzi, the quality of white as well as red wines from this pioneering producer have taken great strides upward… There’s always a generous character to Ponzi’s Chardonnays but they have an enviable track record for aging, even from hot vintages. Luisa Ponzi did post-graduate viticulture and enology studies in Beaune in the late 1980s and that influence shows in the wines’ structure and balance. That said, the Chardonnays are definitely not demure and drink extremely well on release as well.”
A recent Wine Spectator piece titled “The Ponzi Legacy” puts things into perspective: “Dick Ponzi came to Oregon in a flatbed truck. In the mix were his wife, Nancy, their kids, two cats, a dog, a canoe, a piano and four barrels of homemade wine… With no experience in viticulture or winemaking, the Ponzis set about planting a 20-acre vineyard in 1970… These days, Dick, 86, and Nancy, 79, have few day-to-day responsibilities at the winery. Nearly 30 years ago they had already started handing over the reins to their three children… It is indeed a legacy worth preserving.”
And with a rare almost BOGO deal, this is indeed a Chardonnay piling up. We did, and so should you.
92 Points, Editors’ Choice – Wine Enthusiast
“Recently sold to Champagne Bollinger, Ponzi is using the most recent releases to showcase the newly approved Laurelwood District AVA. Although the single-vineyard 2018 estate Chardonnays have already been released, this late-breaking 2017 reserve is all-estate fruit and shows the same careful winemaking as all the earlier releases. Toasty flavors of nutmeg, Key lime, crisp pear, and a lovely saline note combine gracefully, offering top-tier quality at a moderate cost.”
92 Points – James Suckling
“Spiced apples, apricot tart, lemon curd and honeysuckle on the nose with a touch of salted caramel. It’s full-bodied with excellent texture and bright acidity. Creamy and deliciously buttery, yet fresh. Drink now.”
What the Winery Says
2017 Laurelwood District Reserve Chardonnay
- Luisa Ponzi
- 100% Chardonnay
- Laurelwood District, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley
- Avellana, Aurora, Paloma, Alloro, Three Cedars
- Exceptionally fine loess over ancient basalt
- Late September 2017
- 20 months
- 10% new French oak