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When you look at a soft shoulder bottle of wine, you can identify it as a Burgundy bottle and find Pinot Noir or Chardonnay inside. If you see a tall shoulder bottle, it is recognized as a Bordeaux bottle and we find Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon in those. Then there is the Albeisa bottle that has its own unique shape, between the Burgundy and Bordeaux bottle. And, it has the name "Albeisa" embossed around it. This name is a symbol, it is more than the bottle but what is in the bottle. It is about a place and people. I wrote about the story of the Albeisa bottle in the Napa Valley Register and share it here. To speak of the wines of Piemonte, Italy, little more needs to be said than Barolo and Barbaresco. The prestige of those two areas, as well as the entire region of the Langhe, is known by wine lovers around the world. But have you ever looked closely at a bottle of Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, or Arneis and seen the embossed words “Albeisa” printed around the shoulder of the bottle? Have you wondered why it is written on the bottle? Do you know the meaning of that word? The Albeisa bottle is a distinct element that symbolizes a region, a people, a tradition, and more.
Of course when you think about the Willamette Valley in Oregon, you likely think of it as a land of Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir definitely reigns in the region and as a likely partner, Chardonnay is also planted and well-regarded in the Willamette Valley. But, the Willamette Valley is far more diverse than you might think it is and there are a number of producers who are working with other grape varieties and these grapes are well-suited to the region. I explored some of these grapes in my column in the Napa Valley Register, which you can read here.
Say ‘Napa’ and people think Cabernet Sauvignon. Say ‘Burgundy’ and people think Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Say ‘Piedmont’ and people think Nebbiolo. Say ‘Oregon’ and people think Pinot Noir.
It is easy to think of the Willamette Valley in Oregon as one large Pinot Noir-producing region. After all, of the 24,436 acres* of vineyards, 16,536 acres* are planted to Pinot Noir. At the same time Pinot Noir was planted in the 1970s, Chardonnay was also planted. The Willamette Valley shares the same latitude as Burgundy, so it makes sense that if Pinot Noir is suited for the Willamette Valley, so is Chardonnay. However, there are only 1,941 acres* planted to Chardonnay.