98 POINTS: ROBERT PARKER’S WINE ADVOCATE - A tank sample, the 2021 Chardonnay
Freedom Hill Vineyard balances mineral character and racy acidity with surprisingly intense, exotic fruit. The nose offers grilled peach, elderflower, tarragon and ginger aromas with streaks of matchstick. Light-bodied and electric, the palate is packed with fragrant flavor layers, and it finishes long and flinty. I can't wait to see how this powerful, expressive Chardonnay comes together in bottle!
MISSION NOTES: Ken Pahlow and his wife Erica Landon have been making wine in Oregon’s Willamette Valley since 2008 when they first launched Walter Scott. Back then they shared a facility with Patricia Green Cellars, before transferring over to Evening Land alongside Dominique Lafon, and later Bethel Heights in the Eola-Amity Hills sub-AVA. Like many modern winemakers, Ken and Erica strive for a sense of place, a representation of terroir, and a purity of flavor in each of their wines. However, the big difference between Walter Scott and other winemakers in the region has been the reaction from critics and consumers alike, both of whom are completely freaking out over the Chardonnays from the 2021 vintage.
From the entry level La Combe Verte, fermented with 100% ambient yeast with full malo in French oak, to the Cuvée Anne marriage, to the single vineyard selections of Freedom Hill and Koosah, each of these Chardonnays delivers a complexity that is on par with some of the best wines of Burgundy—many of which sell for triple or even quadruple the price! As devotees of the Burgundian style, Ken and Erica have paid homage to the French profile, but the fleshiness of fruit from Oregon in 2021 adds an entirely new dimension.