00 Wines: The Great 2017 Chardonnays

After nearly 40 years in the wine business, only a handful of times have we come across a producer with very little history that we bet will have a profound impact on how we think about where the greatest wines can come from.

Once again it's happened, and this time the game-changer is Chris and Kathryn Hermann’s 00 (Double-Zero) Wines in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

Willamette is of course synonymous with Pinot Noir. (The Willamette Valley Wineries Association proudly proclaims in 42-point type “We Are Pinot Noir” on its homepage.) But Chris and Kathryn believe (as I have for more than a decade) that Chardonnay has the greater potential to make history here.

And so, since their first vintage in 2015, they’ve gone against the grain, focusing almost entirely on Chardonnay. In 2016, they linked up with one of Burgundy’s most gifted winemakers, Pierre Millemann, who proposed a winemaking method of 60 to 80 years ago, intriguingly called “Black Chardonnay.” (Perhaps not coincidentally the likes of Coche, Roulot, Boisson-Vadot and Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey have all resurrected this arcane orthodoxy.)

Since 2016, the result at 00 has been Chardonnay of such breathtaking clarity, density of texture and surreal nuance that if served blind, you’d far more likely to think it was from Coche or Roulot than you would America's West Coast.

If you’re at all frustrated by the growing inaccessibility of the likes of Coche, Roulot and Ente—you will want to jump in feet first. We’ve already heard that ravenous Coche-starved cults are emerging among collectors, particularly around New York and Los Angeles.

That’s insured that the great 00 2017s have now all but sold out, largely by word of mouth. However, Chris and Kathryn have given us access to their remaining quantities of VGW Chardonnay, EGW Chardonnay, and Eola Springs Chardonnay.  

There’s much more to tell you about Chris and Kathryn’s brief odyssey, and the wines we’re offering. You can read reviews of the wines below, and learn more about how 00 does it, here

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