This wine has a classic Burgundy-style nose, a touch of flint with big aromas of pear, nectarine, and peach, against a background of ripe honeydew melon. Stay with the glass as you swirl, and you will uncover a gentle note of butterscotch. On the palate, the wine is bright with a strong backbone of acidity (an artifact of the cool growing season), underscoring intense fruit flavors and the warm, spicy character of highly integrated oak. The mouthfeel is dense and slightly creamy, leading into a finish that lasts for a full minute or more. This wine was fermented in French oak barrels and then aged in barrel for 10 months, where the wine completed malolactic fermentation. The 2010 Jos. Belli Chardonnay is completely accessible now, but if stored properly, it will continue to develop for at least the next decade.
Our Chardonnay is grown by Joseph Belli, a close friend and long-time business associate of Richard’s. Joe has planted his grapes next to his home, a few miles south of Healdsburg on the western end of the Russian River Valley. The vineyard is set just past the edge of the valley floor, where the land starts to lift up into rolling hills. These steep, terraced hillsides provide excellent drainage for the vines, reducing the water available to the roots, which in turn produces tiny berries with intense flavor. Since the vineyard faces the east, the vines receive full sunlight in the morning and early afternoon, while being protected from the more intense late afternoon sun. We use two clones of Chardonnay from the Belli ranch in our blend: the Rued, a musque selection of Chardonnay that contributes vibrant tropical aromatics, and Dijon, which delivers a classic Chardonnay profile rich in minerality and fruit flavors.