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Recently, I enjoyed (really enjoyed) sitting in the vineyards of Stoller Family Estates of Oregon. Being treated to lunch on the terrace overlooking the vineyards festooned in fall colors and tasting through some of the most exceptional wines of Oregon made for a much-needed reconnection to why I write about wines. Stoller Family Estates fulfills one of my favorite aspects of wine writing: beautiful well-made wines with a deep-rooted story in the region.

Stoller's vineyards are established on what was once a quite successful turkey farm. Bill Stoller, owner of Stoller Family Estates reflected on the land where his family once raised about three-quarters of all turkeys growing in Oregon. Stoller's father and uncle bought the land in the 1940s and raised turkeys on it for five decades. Stoller's connection to the land was firmly established during his childhood when he worked on the farm.

When the family stopped its turkey operations in 1993, Stoller realized the potential and acquired the land with the vision of creating a legacy in the Oregon wine industry. He was well aware that the sloping, rocky terrain with its low yielding soil was the ideal terroir suited for planting of world-class vines.

The hills are planted mostly with pinot noir and chardonnay. These are the wines the estate is known, but the rosé is a gem in the Stoller portfolio.

When walking the beautiful property the strategically placed vines get your attention but also the ahead-of-its-time gravity-flow winery. Stoller is a LEED Gold and LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology) certified winery and considered one of the premier sustainable wineries in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, Stoller was the first LEED Gold certified winery in the world. Gravity flow offers a gentler approach to winemaking allowing a reduction in the amount of energy used in wine production.

The Stoller Family Estate was named No. 1 "Tasting Room in the Nation" by the 2018 USA Today 10 Best Readers Choice. Just another in its impressive accolades for this exceptional winery and the first winery I will return to on my next Oregon adventure.

THE VALUE

2018 Stoller Family Estate Chardonnay, Oregon (about $22 retail)

THE SPLURGE

2017 Stoller Family Estate Reserve Pinot Noir, Oregon (about $45 retail)

Lorri Hambuchen is a member of London's Institute of Wines and Spirits. Contact her at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, P.O. Box 2221, Little Rock, AR 72203, or email:

uncorked@thewinecenter.com

Food on 11/27/2019

Print Headline: Stoller Family Estate visit rekindles love of wine

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