Vidon Vineyard 2015 Estate Apollo Chardonnay, Chehalem Mountains, $60

Korean War veteran Don Hagge spent much of his post-Navy career as a physicist with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, particularly missions 7 through 13 of Project Apollo. This launching of the Apollo Chardonnay signals another stage in the Space Exploration Series by this octogenarian grower/winemaker near Newberg, Ore., and he doted on this single, once-used Billon barrel with medium-plus toast. Dijon clones 76 and 95 harvested Aug. 31 in just the second vintage from his pastoral estate in the Chehalem Mountains are presented with a color of honey followed by rich aromas of lemon custard, dusty Bosc pear, vanilla and toasted almond. The six months in barrel yield rich flavors of pear butter, honeydew melon, pineapple and butterscotch, and yet the grapefruit and lemon oil finish makes it rather refreshing and quite complex – an acid-driven, reserve-style Chardonnay.

Rating: Outstanding!

Production: 25 cases

Alcohol: 12.9%

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