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Posts from the ‘Chardonnay’ Category

2008 J. Rochioli Chardonnay River Block Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Rochioli is one of the true pioneers in Russian River Valley, with a winemaking history dating back to the the late 1950′s. In 1987 Rochioli released their first estate wine, the 1985 Rochioli Pinot Noir. Although best known for their world class Pinot Noir, Rochioli also produces remarkable Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

River Block Vineyard is the portion of Rochioli Vineyard situated nearest to the Russian River. The winery recently published a detailed map of the Estate Vineyard that is required viewing for fans of the winery.

Bright gold in color. 14.2% ABV. Intriguing nose of lemon oil, match stick and butterscotch. Rich, lush and creamy. Medium to full body with acidity in spades. Meyer lemon, pears, creme brulee and toast on the palate. The finish is long and smoky. Really elegant Chardonnay but missing some of the bright tropical notes I typically adore in the Rochioli Chards. Drink over the next 1-2 years.

My rating: 91 points.

The single vineyard designate Chards are released each Spring and are only available to long time mailing list members.

At present time (and for the foreseeable future) buying from Rochioli via the mailing list is not an option. The Estate wines do show up at retail periodically, and the winery’s Russian River Valley tasting room is still open for public tasting. They may only be pouring a couple of wines, but it’s a great opportunity to buy a bottle for a picnic on their lovely patio and a few more to bring home for the cellar.

I’ve blogged about Rochioli previously in the The 2017 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings and the Fab 5 of Mailing Lists.

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2007 J. Rochioli Chardonnay River Block Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Rochioli is one of the true pioneers in Russian River Valley, with a winemaking history dating back to the the late 1950′s. Although best known for their world class Pinot Noir, Rochioli also produces remarkable Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Rochioli recently published a detailed map of the Estate Vineyard that is required viewing for fans of the winery.

River Block is a 13 acre parcel of Rochioli Vineyard planted in 1989.

Shimmering gold in color. 14.2% ABV. Sensational nose of honeysuckle, lemon oil and pears. Full bodied with bright, racy acidity. Just a hint of toasty oak. Lemon curd, peach, apple and minerals on the palate. The wine finishes strong. At or slightly past it’s prime but delicious nonetheless. Drink over the next year.

My rating:  91 points.

The current version is $65 off the mailing list.

At present time (and for the foreseeable future) buying from Rochioli via the mailing list is not an option. The Estate wines do show up at retail periodically, and the winery’s Russian River Valley tasting room is still open for public tasting. They may only be pouring a couple of wines, but it’s a great opportunity to buy a bottle for a picnic on their lovely patio and a few more to bring home for the cellar.

I’ve blogged about Rochioli previously in the The 2015 Zinfandel Chronicles Power RankingsReflections on Two Days in the Russian River Valley and the Fab 5 of Mailing Lists.

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2013 Efeste Chardonnay Lola – Bottle Notes

Efeste, pronounced like the letters “F-S-T” strung together, was named after the last names of founders Helen & Dan Ferrelli, Patrick Smith, and Kevin & Angela Taylor. Efeste is located in the Warehouse District of Woodinville, Washington. Peter Devison took over full-time winemaking duties when Brennon Leighton left to work with Charles Smith in 2012.

The Lola Chardonnay is sourced from Evergreen Vineyard

Gold in color. 14% ABV. Beautiful nose of stone fruits, honeysuckle and minerals. Rich and creamy with bright acidity. Peach, honey, lemon oil and creme brulee on the palate. The finish is long and succulent. Delicious Chardonnay. Drink over the next 2-4 years.

My rating: 92 points.

The 2013 Lola is available at retail and the winery for $35.

Efeste has one of the best white wine programs in the state of Washington and the red wines are also exceptional. The wines are readily available at retail, via the wine club and at the winery.

I’ve blogged about Efeste previously in The Great Whites of Washington.

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2009 Dehlinger Estate Chardonnay – Bottle Notes

Dehlinger Winery is located in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County and was founded in 1975 by Tom and Carole Dehlinger. Eva Dehlinger took over winemaking duties in 2007. Known for their Pinot Noir, Dehlinger also makes Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah.

The grapes for Dehlinger Wines are largely grown on the Estate Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. The initial vines were planted in 1975 and followed by subsequent plantings through 1989.

Gold in color. 14.9% ABV. Super nose of lemon oil, creme brulee and vanilla bean. Medium to full bodied with perfect acidity. Great mouthfeel which is the calling card of all Dehlinger wines. Pear, apple and honeysuckle on the palate. The finish is exquisite. Gorgeous Chardonnay that somehow melds the best of the old world and the best of the new world. Drink over the next 1-2 years.

My rating: 92 points.

Dehlinger Winery has a great reputation among wine connoisseurs. Wine writers have consistently given strong reviews while praising the winery for its uniqueness, quality, consistency and value. About 75% of their wine is sold via the mailing list. Amazing wines that are well worth the search.

I wrote about Dehlinger previously in the Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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2011 Under the Wire Chardonnay Sparkling Brosseau Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Under The Wire is a collaboration between Chris Cottrell and Morgan Twain Peterson and was founded just a few years ago. Inspired in part by the grower Champagne movement the project aims to make California Sparkling wines from a particular vineyard and vintage. Current vineyards include Bedrock, Brosseau, Hirsch and Alder Springs.

Brosseau Vineyard is located in the heart of the Chalone Appelation high above the Salinas Valley. The vineyard was originally planted in 1980.

Straw colored with tiny bubbles. 12% ABV. Pretty nose of green apples, fresh ginger and yeast. Somewhat thin on the palate with light acidity. Flavors of fresh bread, pear and hazelnuts. The wine lacks the crisp finish I expect in a sparkling wine. Hoping for a better showing from the ’12 version. Sorry Morgan but I got to call them as I see them.

My rating: 87 points.

Under The Wire released their second set of wines this past Spring. I’d encourage you to sign up for the mailing list as I suspect the wines will be hard to come by in the upcoming years. The Brosseau Vineyard Sparkling Chardonnay was $60 direct from the winery.

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2006 Williams Selyem Chardonnay Allen Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Williams Selyem Winery began when Ed Selyem and Burt Williams started making wine as a hobby in 1979 in Forestville, California. Their first commercial release was in 1981, and in less than two decades they created a cult-status winery of international acclaim. Setting a new standard for Pinot Noir winemaking, they put Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley at the forefront of the best Pinot Noir regions in the world.

Today, John and Kathe Dyson, who purchased the winery from Burt and Ed in 1998, work with winemaker Jeff Mangahas to carry on the passion for Pinot Noir without compromise. Other varieties bottled at Williams Selyem include Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Chenin Blanc.

Allen Vineyard is on Westside road in the heart of the Russian River Valley.

Shimmering gold in color. 14.6% ABV. Powerful nose of butterscotch, honey and pears. Medium body with just enough acidity. Honeysuckle, caramel apple and marzipan on the palate. Something is a little off here. My experience with this wine is that it ages well for at least a decade. This particular bottle appears to be slightly maderized. I’ve had this wine since it was released so poor storage is not the issue. Disappointing. Drink soon.

My rating: 86 points.

Williams Selyem can periodically be found at retail, but the mailing list is highly recommended.

I wrote about Williams Selyem recently in Reflections on Two Days in Russian River Valley and The 2015 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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2009 Kosta Browne Chardonnay One Sixteen – Bottle Notes

Kosta Browne began as a dream shared by Dan Kosta and Michael Browne. In the summer of 1997, while working at John Ash & Co. restaurant in Santa Rosa, California, Dan and Michael decided to pool their tips and venture into winemaking. Eighteen years later, Kosta Browne is one of the most sought after Pinot Noirs in all of California. At present time they produce three appellation Pinot Noirs, eight single vineyard Pinot Noirs and a Chardonnay.

The One Sixteen Chardonnay is comprised of fruit from seven vineyards centered on the Green Valley neighborhood of the Russian River Valley.

Bright gold in color. 14.6% ABV. Pretty nose of lemon, apple and butterscotch. Medium body with bright acidity. Pure and precise. Creme brulee, pear, ginger and honeysuckle on the palate. Gorgeous Chardonnay and a really impressive first effort from the Kosta Browne team. Aging beautifully. Drink over the next year or so.

My rating: 93 points.

The 2014 version was just released and is $58 via the mailing list. As I mentioned in the Fab 5 of Mailing Lists, Kosta Browne is one of hardest lists to crack. Maybe so, but you’ve got nothing to lose by putting your name on the waiting list. Good luck!

Kosta Browne fared well in last year’s version of The 2015 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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2007 J. Rochioli Chardonnay Sweetwater Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Rochioli is one of the true pioneers in Russian River Valley, with a winemaking history dating back to the the late 1950′s. In 1987 Rochioli released their first estate wine, the 1985 Rochioli Pinot Noir. Although best known for their world class Pinot Noir, Rochioli also produces remarkable Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

The winery recently published a detailed map of the Estate Vineyard that is required viewing for fans of the winery. There is 1 acre of Wente Selection Chardonnay planted in the Sweetwater parcel of Rochioli Vineyard.

Straw colored. 14.2% ABV. Sublime nose of tropical fruits, honeysuckle and crushed stones. Medium body with bright acidity. Rich and concentrated on the palate. Flavors of lemon meringue, vanilla bean, pear and pineapple. The finish is long and spicy. Brilliant Chardonnay from an iconic Russian River Valley Pinot Noir producer. Drink over the next 1-2 years.

My rating: 93 points.

The current version was approximately $70 off the mailing list.

At present time (and for the foreseeable future) buying from Rochioli via the mailing list is not an option. The Estate wines do show up at retail periodically, and the winery’s Russian River Valley tasting room is still open for public tasting. They may only be pouring a couple of wines, but it’s a great opportunity to buy a bottle for a picnic on their lovely patio and a few more to bring home for the cellar.

I’ve blogged about Rochioli previously in the The 2015 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings and the Fab 5 of Mailing Lists.

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2013 Navarro Vineyards Chardonnay Premiere Reserve – Bottle Notes

Located in the Anderson Valley, Navarro Vineyards has been producing exceptional, fairly-priced wines since 1974. The winery is best known for its range of Pinot Noirs, including the showstopper Deep End Blend (available through futures). They also produce an age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon a delicious Zinfandel and their whites are noteworthy with a one-of-a-kind Riesling, Gewurztaminer and Muscat Blanc.

Lightly straw colored. 13.6% ABV. Pretty nose of peaches, lemon and honey. Medium body with zingy acidity. Rich and delicious. Lemon zest, green apple and vanilla on the palate. Delightful wine that is clearly the cream of the Chardonnay crop at Navarro. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 90 points.

The wine is $25 at the winery.

I previously wrote about Navarro in If I had to Pick Just One Wine Club, It’d be Navarro. You absolutely must visit the winery if you are ever in the Anderson Valley.

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2012 Efeste Chardonnay Lola – Bottle Notes

Efeste, pronounced like the letters “F-S-T” strung together, was named after the last names of founders Helen & Dan Ferrelli, Patrick Smith, and Kevin & Angela Taylor. Efeste is located in the Warehouse District of Woodinville, Washington. Peter Devison took over full-time winemaking duties when Brennon Leighton left to work with Charles Smith in 2012.

The Lola Chardonnay is sourced from Evergreen Vineyard

Shimmering gold in color. 14% ABV. Hazelnuts, honeysuckle and pineapple on the nose. Rich and succulent on the palate with medium acidity and nice minerality. Flavors of lemon meringue, vanilla bean, pears and spice. The wine finishes strong and will benefit from a year or so in the cellar. A strong effort from one of the top Chardonnay producers in the state.

My rating: 91 points.

The 2013 Lola is available at retail and the winery for $35.

Efeste has one of the best white wine programs in the state of Washington and the red wines are also exceptional. The wines are readily available at retail, via the wine club and at the winery.

I’ve blogged about Efeste previously in The Great Whites of Washington.

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