A cool spring led to late bud break in the Russian River Valley. The summer was mostly warm and included some hot weather, but without the normal heat spikes. This reduced the chance of disease and early raisining of the fruit, and also allowed for full flavor development. Fall came early, allowing us to pick all of the grapes with excellent levels of maturity. We hand picked the fruit in the morning.
All of the fruit for this wine went directly to the press in whole clusters to safeguard the pure fruit flavors of the field. We barrel fermented 100% of this Chardonnay and followed that with secondary malolactic fermentation for 70% of the wine to add richness and creaminess. We then aged the wine for 14 months in 100% Burgundian oak barrels, 50% of which were new and 50% one year old.
Our 2009 Russian River Valley Reserve Chardonnay, medium straw in color with an alluring golden edge, offers forward fruit with minerality that is lifted and framed by sweet oak notes and spice. On the nose, look for toasted brioche, honey, smoky notes, lemon curd, grilled pineapple, lychee fruit, green apple, pear, apricot, and a subtle perfume of honey and orange blossom. Flavors lead with a focused entry of vibrant fresh fruit: green apple, peach, and pear with a structured finish of zesty citrus and juicy pineapple—all of which are tied together with mineral notes. Stunning when paired with New England clam chowder, roast chicken with root vegetables, or grilled salmon with risotto.
To make our 2010 Reserve Chardonnay, we turned to our own Goldfields Vineyard in the Russian River Valley where complexity in fruit structure, aromas, and flavors comes from planting a variety of field selections and clones originating from some of California’s oldest and best Chardonnay vineyards. We also brought in fruit from neighboring Dutton and Tilbury vineyards, which like Goldfields are made up of the sandy Goldridge and Huichica soils for which the Russian River Valley is famous. By vineyard, the breakdown is 76% from Goldfields, 18% from the Dutton family—one of the county’s oldest grape growing families—and 6% from Tilbury.