The Stone Cote Vineyard is a small vineyard block within the well-known Durrell Vineyard, which sits upon an ancient riverbed at the southern end of the Sonoma Coast AVA. The vineyard’s topography has been shaped by the river’s flow through volcanic and sedimentary rock on its way to the San Pablo Bay. Tumbled and water-worn river rocks now litter the landscape, and very little topsoil remains. The nutritionally challenged soils force the vines to search deeply for nutrients and water, and the stressed vines yield small clusters with intense varietal flavors.Climatically, this vineyard site is characterized by relatively cool daytime temperatures and maritime breezes, which marry with the low-fertility soils to create an ideal site for growing Chardonnay. The wine’s flinty aromas and mineral-laden finish are a reflection of this vineyard’s terroir.
The 2013 Stone Côte Vineyard Chardonnay is actually a tiny parcel within the more famous and larger Durell Vineyard. Like most of these wines, indigenous yeast fermentations are encouraged, and the wine is 100% barrel-fermented and aged completely in French oak with the percentage of new oak generally ranging from the upper 30th percentile to 50% or so. This wine is a terrific example of Chardonnay, with a greenish hue to its light straw color and a stunning nose of tropical fruit, citrus oil and orange blossom. It is full-bodied, has great acidity and delicious up-front fruit. This will be a killer Chardonnay when released next year.