The hue of this wine is brilliantly clear, golden straw with glimmers of golden light—a color that dramatically sets the stage for what is to come. The nose is similarly demonstrative, with expressive tropical notes of mango, delicate pear, and bright stone fruit. Lifted aromatics of citrus, lightly spiced with toasty oak and hints of buttery cream add a savory character. It all comes together on the palate with well-deﬁned, fresh, forward ﬂavors of nectarine, peach, and lemon lifted by a lightly toasted and warm oak character. The oak incorporates sweet vanilla, hazelnut, nutmeg, and smoky bacon characteristics, balanced with a delicate, zesty, lemony ﬁnish.
Each of Sonoma County’s most prestigious regions for growing Chardonnay offers a remarkably distinct fruit proﬁle. We blended grapes almost evenly from all four of these regions to make our 2013 Sonoma County Chardonnay, with 26% coming from the Russian River Valley, 26% coming from Carneros, 26% coming from Alexander Valley, and 22% coming from Sonoma Coast. Grapes from the Sangiacomo vineyard in Carneros—Sonoma County’s coolest growing region—added brilliant acidity and bright, pure, mouthwatering ﬂavors of green apple, tangerine, and lemon. Fruit from the Goldﬁelds and Stiling vineyards of the Russian River Valley brought richness, elegance, and fruit ﬂavors leaning toward the tropical, such as peach, apricot, and other stone fruits. In the Alexander Valley, where the days are warmer, Chardonnay from Reedy, Clark, and Hoot Owl Creek vineyards contributed full, ripe orchard fruit ﬂavors of Red Delicious apples and pear followed by a generous mouthfeel.
This vintage was a great growing season for white varietals with a wet spring and rains stopping just upon ﬂowering. This set up an extended growing and ripening season with moderate temperatures ranging from 78 to 92ºF during the day. Nights were cool and mornings were foggy—conditions that led to slow, gentle ripening for full fruit expression while maintaining a bright minerality. We harvested the Chardonnay fruit for this wine starting on August 31 and ending on October 5. Brix levels ranged from 22.9 to 25.1º, providing ideal structure for this wine.
The majority of fruit for this Chardonnay went directly to the press in whole clusters to safeguard the pure fruit ﬂavors. We then barrel fermented most of the wine, with 30% undergoing malolactic fermentation. After fermentation, we aged 85% of this Chardonnay for eight months in a combination of French and American oak barrels, 30% of which were new (20% French, 10% American).
Enjoy this 2013 Chardonnay by serving it with spaghetti alla carbonara, roasted turkey and creamed spinach, garlic grilled prawns or saffron and English pea risotto (Risi Bisi).
It does contain alcohol and is capable of giving you a buzz. My recommendation is to take a gulp, then follow it up quickly with a bite of a cracker loaded with a strong cheese and jalepeno slices. Pray that your hangover won't be as bad as the Simi chardonnay.