Evening Land 2012 Chardonnay Eola
An odyssey for the senses. The creation of Evening Land Vineyards, now located in the Dundee Hills of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, has been an odd journey—a fact that makes its name all the more fitting. Founder Mark Tarlov, a New York native and admirer of the works of Homer, author of The Iliad and The Odyssey, […]
An odyssey for the senses.
The creation of Evening Land Vineyards, now located in the Dundee Hills of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, has been an odd journey—a fact that makes its name all the more fitting. Founder Mark Tarlov, a New York native and admirer of the works of Homer, author of The Iliad and The Odyssey, gave the winery on the opposite end of the country from his home state the ancient Greek name for the western boundary of the world. An attorney, film producer, and devotee of Pinot Noir, Tarlov formed a partnership in 2005 with a number of other investors—among them the Labruyère family of Burgundy’s celebrated Domaine Jacques Prieur—to produce the finest possible expressions of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, initially from California’s Sonoma Coast. Toward this end, he secured the legendary winemaker Dominique Lafon of Domaine des Comtes Lafon as a consultant, and his initial success encouraged him and the other owners to expand. Evening Land subsequently purchased its vineyards in Oregon, the Santa Rita Hills region of Santa Barbara County, and parcels in Burgundy’s Côte d’Or. Three gifted winemakers stepped in to oversee the day-to-day operations of these geographically dispersed enterprises: Isabelle Meunier in Oregon, Sashi Moorman in California, and Christophe Vial in France.
Still, despite critical and commercial success, Tarlov, who had labored to bring these investors together, resigned in 2012 as part of the multiregional business’s restructuring. Fortunately, Moorman and the sommelier Rajat Parr acquired an interest in the winery and took over operations, assuring the quality of future wines.
Evening Land still owns vineyards in California and France, but the jewel in its viticultural crown remains the Seven Springs Vineyard in Oregon, for which Tarlov, during his tenure, secured a long-term lease. Several esteemed local producers—including Domaine Drouhin and Adelsheim—have bottled the Pinot Noir from this 80-acre property in the Eola-Amity Hills, and collectors have long coveted the wines made from this fruit. Yet the Chardonnay is equally magnificent, as the 2012 Summum Chardonnay ($90) attests. Produced from Dijon clones, this seemingly delicate white possesses an intense bouquet and deep flavors that belie its delicate golden hue. Pear, peach, pineapple, and vanilla scents tantalize the nose, while surprisingly restrained and subtle notes of candied lemon, spearmint, and brine brace the palate before giving way to a calcareous finish. Although Tarlov continues on his own oenological odyssey, having founded Chapter 24 Vineyards (named for the last episode in Homer’s epic), his legacy at Evening Land lives on in this heroic vintage.
Evening Land Vineyards, eveninglandvineyards.com