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Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2011

 The 2011 is a great Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard from a much-maligned and sometimes excessively criticized vintage. 2011 has its low points, but there are many producers who got it right, and survived the challenging growing and harvest conditions. This wine has phenomenal intensity, with plenty of crushed rock, pineapple, honeysuckle, orange and tangerine blossom in an elegant, medium to full-bodied style, with terrific intensity, good acidity and freshness. This is more evolved than either the 2009 or 2010, and probably will be a candidate for 7-8 years of aging, rather than 10 or more.



There is no doubt that Marcassin is the most difficult appointment for people to schedule, to sit down and taste wine with owners Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer. The legacy they have created in California wine is immense. They are in their early seventies, and have decided to completely dedicate themselves to their own vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. I saw them recently, and tasted through these current and upcoming releases of both the Estate Chardonnay and Estate Pinot Noir. The Chardonnay, of course, comes from very low-yielding old Wente clones of Chardonnay planted on the slopes of the Sonoma coastline hillsides. This clone is believed to have been brought over from Burgundy’s grand cru vineyard, Corton-Charlemagne, decades ago.

Marcassin Chardonnay
Here are the notes on the bottled 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and barrel samples of the 2013 and 2014. As readers know, this is probably one of the most Burgundian-styled Chardonnays ever made in California, and it has attracted many imitators. It goes through full malolactic fermentation, and sees a good dosage of new oak, but the tiny yields and meticulous winemaking are brilliant, and the wines, by and large, have aged very well, with the first Estate Chardonnays from 1996, 1997 and 1998 still going strong. The same can be said for some of Helen Turleys first Chardonnays from purchased fruit, particularly from the Lorenzo Vineyard, Hudson Vineyard and Gauer Vineyard/Upper Barn (now owned by the Jackson family, and known as their Alexander Valley Mountain Estate).

-Robert Parker Wine Advocate. 

 Wine Advocate: 97
Abeja Chardonnay Washington State 2013

Abeja Chardonnay Washington State 2013 is 100 percent Chardonnay

This Chardonnay has the essence of a freshly baked lemon meringue pie, green apple, and Bartlett pear. It is both dense and bright, with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon coming from its time in barrel. Aromas are so much related to experiences. It is a wine that is in the traditional Abeja style, with superb polish, complexity, and balance, yet with a light touch at 13.5 percent alcohol.

 


Review:

"Supple, ripe and complex, with layers of pear, floral, tangerine and a note reminiscent of freshly ironed clothing. Fine acidity carries this through to a refreshing finish. Drink now through 2020. 919 cases made. –HS"
- Wine Spectator (November 15th, 2015), 91 pts

"Abeja’s 2013 Chardonnay offers clean, crisp notes of apple blossom, white flowers, citrus and brioche. Fermented and aged in barrel (40% new), it has a solid mix of richness and freshness, is beautifully balanced, and will drink nicely for 2-3 years. - Jeb Dunnuck"

- The Wine Advocate (erobertparker.com, June 2015), 91 pts

"A blend of top sites Celilo and Conner Lee, this appealing wine displays aromas of candy corn, corn silk and chamomile. The stone-fruit flavors are elegantly styled, showing a sense of restraint and balance that carries through the lingering finish."

- Wine Enthusiast (September 1st 2015), 91 pts

 Wine Advocate: 91 Wine Enthusiast: 91 Wine Spectator: 91
Accordini Ripasso Valpolicella 2009

Accordini Ripasso Valpolicella 2009 is made from 60% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, 20% Corvinoni. The vines come from the Pedemonte Hills. 


Late harvest style Corvina aged on Amarone lees.
The must of Amarone remains in the vat and instead of being pressed, it is topped up with high quality Valpolicella before being left to referment for about 10-15 days.
Accordini Ripasso Valpolicella 2009 presents wiht intense red color with garnet hints. Almond and  fresh walnut aromas. Full-bodied with a good structure.
This is an excellent red wine with a supple body. The techniques used to produce this wine is typical from the area.
Pairs well with roasted meats.

Review:

Opaque ruby. The Ripasso is youthful in appearance and taste with notes of red cherry, black pepper, and creamy milk chocolate. It’s big, full-fruited, exotically flavored and delicious with mouth coating density. A classic vintage. A blend of 60% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, and 20% Corvinoni. International Wine Review 90 Points

 International Wine Review: 90
Alain de la Treille Chardonnay 2015

This chardonnay has a characteristic pale yellow color with a shade of gold and subtle nose that will remind you the fresh butter nuts and roasted almonds. On the palate, it is full bodied and fruity with a pleasant roundness.

Average age of the vines is 25 years old.

We produce a part of this cuvee with 12 hours skin maceration and another part from directly pressed grapes.

Wine was slightly filtered before bottling to insure the wine remains stable.

Best friend as an aperitive or with freshwater fish, shellfish and goat cheeses.


Review:

"This is solid, delicious chardonnay, suitable for casual everyday drinking or for parties. Don't look for oak flavors, just good clean fruit. - Dave McIntyre"
- Washington Post (June 2016), - VERY GOOD
Annefield Chardonnay 2014

Chardonnay presents notes of apple and stone fruits like nectarine and peach. As it evolves in the glass, ripe citrus notes with a touch of tropical fruit and floral aromas like honeysuckle emerge from a bright vanilla background. Fruit forward with a subtle flint undertone, this wine presents a touch of minerality and a long, clean finish.

Big Table Farm Chardonnay 2013

Barrel fermented in mixed age French oak producing a medium clear lemon color. This wine has a luminescent, straw color with a subtle sheen. Meyer lemon, white nectarine, baking spice, and salt water taffy on the nose. The palette offers up warm oak spice, sandalwood, and stone fruit.

With a lemon-butter-cream texture, this wine is lush yet still very bright and fresh. Lively acidity, with a custard type of roundness/richness, and the warm oak spice follows through on the pallet. Delicious balance between richness and freshness.

As with all our whites, this wine will reward you for cellaring.


Reviews:

94 points — Wine & Spirits Magazine
Year's Best Chardonnay — Wine & Spirits Magazine
93 points — Wineanorak

Light and sleek, this refined style unfurls pear, floral and spice flavors gracefully. This has presence and elegance. Drink now through 2018. 476 cases made. - 91 Point Wine Specator

 

 Wine Spectator: 91 94 Points
Bressia Monteagrelo Chardonnay 2015

In Monteagrelo we bring the soul of each varietal, its intimate relationship with its place of origin and its deeproots in that place. The result is an incredibly intense, yet delicately harmonious wine that excites, seduces and captures.


Monteagrelo Chardonnay  is a wine of greenish-yellow color with good intensity and luminous highlights. It gives aromas typical to the variety, combined with a touch of the oak in which it was aged. On the palate it is fresh and floral, with good body and a long, elegant finish.

Burgo Viejo Rioja Reserva 2009

Burgo Viejo Rioja Reserva 2008 is made from 85% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha & 5% Carignan.

Burgo Viejo Rioja Reserva 2008 presents with red ruby color; black pepper and vanilla flavors and some mature black fruit taste too. Well-balanced, well-structured and elegant in mouth displaying some splendid taste of fruit and bouquet too.


Review:

"Deep ruby. Ripe cherry, floral pastille and pipe tobacco scents, along with notes of cracked pepper and vanilla. Sweet and penetrating, offering plump blackberry and cherry compote flavors that pick up smokiness with aeration. Closes smooth, spicy and long, with soft tannins coming on late and folding into the wine's sweet dark fruit."
- Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (September/October 2014), 90 pts

"These wines are from the same producer as the Palacio del Burgo offerings reviewed later in this report, and, for my taste, seem almost identical to those wines. The outstanding 2009 Reserva is made from a blend identical to the Palacio del Burgo 2009 Reserva, 85% Tempranillo, 10% Grenache and 5% Carignan. It boasts lots of complexity and virtually the same character as the 2009 Reserva from Palacio del Burgo – vanilla, new saddle leather and sweet black cherry characteristics presented in a medium-bodied, elegant, complex and concentrated style. Drink it over the next 2-3 years. - Robert Parker"- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate (November 2014), 90 pts

 Vinous Antonio Galloni: 90 Wine Advocate: 90
Buty Chardonnay Conner Lee Vineyard 2014

While this wine displays the poise, structure and minerality that have become hallmarks of our Conner Lee Vineyard Chardonnay, the warm vintage has also delivered alluring orange spice and tropical flower notes that accentuate the lovely depth and richness.

This vivid chardonnay comes from Conner Lee’s prized 1989 and 2005 ‘clone #95’ blocks—both planted with ungrafted vines in sandy-silt soils. While it displays the poise, structure and minerality that are hallmarks of Conner Lee, the warm vintage has also delivered alluring orange spice and tropical flower notes that accentuate the lovely depth and richness. On the silky palate, layers of zesty citrus mingle with chamomile, hibiscus and honeysuckle, resulting in a wine that effortlessly combines power and grace


Review:

The aromas entice with notes of wet stone, honeysuckle, chamomile and stone fruit. The palate is generous in flavor and feel, showing a fine sense of balance. Wine Enthusiast 90 Points

 Wine Enthusiast: 90
Chakana Estate Chardonnay 2015

Yellow with green hints Pineapple aromas with toasty notes and a fresh mineral character and finish.

Grape Varietals 90% Chardonnay and 10% Sauvignon Blanc
ABV 14%
Aging 20% barrel-fermented and aged for 4 to 6 months in the same barrels
Serving Temp 50-55 degrees Farenheit°F
Closure Cork
Agricultural Method Sustainable
Residual Sugar
Dry - less than 4 grams/liter
 

 

Cobbler Mountain Chardonnay 2012

Shimmering notes of pear and crisp apple.  Aged 50% in Oak & 50% in stainless tanks yields playful citrus effects for a refreshing cocktail at the end of a long day.  Delicious paired with simmered Lemon Chicken & Capers, or Halibut with Cream Sauce.  The clusters of champagne colored berries were saturated by Summer floods during their infancy, nearly buried in the Blizzards of '09 and later thrived during the droughts of record-high temps of late Summer. Meanwhile, Mother Nature sent Robins to nest and start new life inside the green canopy and heavy trellis. This refreshing Chardonnay remembers a past and pours the gifts of sunshine, mountain and the winemaker's care into your glass.

Colmant Brut Chardonnay NV

Colmant Brut Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay (Franschhoek and Robertson). 
15% of the base wine has been barrel fermented.
Ageing: This wine spends a minimum of 45 months on the lees at a consistent temperature of 14C before degorgement.
Tasting: Delicate light gold color with a lime-green hue. The nose is fresh, lemony and floral with notes of green apple, followed by yeasty and biscuity aromas brought by the lengthy maturation on the lees. Very fine bead of bubbles with a persistent mousse. Opulent on the palate, this wine shows a harmonious balance between fresh zestiness, mineral complexity and a warm breadth of leesy creaminess. It promises to develop great texture over time. 
Drinking tips: Ideal with pan fried scallops or line fish "au beurre blanc", it is also the oyster's best friend and will enhance the flavors of parmesan, asparagus, artichokes, parma ham,… 


There are many alternatives to Champagne, and South Africa is no exception with some fine “Method Cap Classique.” Jean-Philippe Colmant hired winemaker Nicolas Follet to create a small range of impressive sparkling wines; they eschew malolactic fermentation and practice extended lees aging.- NM" eRobertParker.com (Issue #196, August 2011)92 pts

 

 

"Pale straw with a fine bead and scents of biscuit and lemon zest. The NV Brut is richly flavorful and full, a complete wine with a long finish. Tasted blind, it can easily be mistaken for good quality Champagne. Spends 4 years on the lees; 15% of the base wine is fermented in barrel. Disgorged 9 months ago. A blend of Robertson and Franschhoek grapes from the Colmant vineyard."
I-WineReview (February 2014)92 pts

"
Our favorite Colmant sparkler by far, this blanc de blancs would easily pass for good quality Champagne. It’s pale straw with a fine bead with biscuit and lemon aromas. Very flavorful and complex on a rich palate with a persistent finish, it’s 100% Chardonnay, 15% barrel fermented, and spends 4 years on the lees. RS 5 g/L"
I-WineReview (January 2014)92 pts

"This NV Brut Chardonnay is delicate with fine lemon citrus and freshly baked bread notes. Shows bracing acidity on the finish. Aged on the lees for 42 months with 15% of the base wine fermented in oak. Another winner from Jean-Philippe Colmant and Nicolas Follet." 
I-WineReview91 pts


"Disgorged March 2011, the superb Non-Vintage Brut Chardonnay is based on the 2007 vintage, whole bunch pressed with 18% fermented in oak and 45 months on the lees. It has a very subtle, more “wine-like” bouquet with very fine delineation, dewy green apples, a touch of wet limestone and a touch of flint. The palate has good weight on the entry with fresh green apple once again mingling with a little peach and Clementine in the background leading to a racy finish.



Platter highly recommanded, **** 1/2


Voted BEST SA BLANC DE BLANCS NV at the Cap Classic Challenge 2013.

 Wine Advocate: 92 International Wine Review: 92
DeLille Doyenne Signature Syrah 2009

DeLille Doyenne Signature Syrah 2009 is made from 97.5% Syrah and 2.5% Viognier

DeLille Doyenne Signature Syrah 2009:  Vineyard Breakdown:
66% Grand Ciel Vineyard Syrah
31.5% Boushey Vineyard Syrah
2.5% Ciel du Cheval Viognier

Exhibiting the most amazing purple-black tar color announces the density of this wine. The nose follows with orange blossom and orange chocolate aromas from the addition of 2½% Viognier during fermentation. These floral components are wrapped around a round core of black raspberries, marion berries, fennel and plums. This wine is plush, delicious and sensuous showing notes of kirsch liquor, white pepper, marrow and earth tones.

 

Originating in Grand Ciel and Boushey vineyards and co-fermented with a dollop of Viognier from Ciel du Cheval, the 2009 Doyenne Signature Syrah delivers complex scents of black tea, violet, cherry, raspberry, lavender, and grilled red meats, a cast which reappears in a delightfully rich, polished palate performance that utterly belies the wine’s 15% alcohol. (Asked if he watered the must even to achieve that, Upchurch replied, “If I was going to water, believe me I wouldn’t stop at 15%!”) The carnality as well as a subtle salinity serves for strong saliva inducement in a handsomely long and interactive finish. I suspect that this will be worth following for the better part of a decade. -91 Point Robert Parker, Dec 2012

 Wine Advocate: 91
Ferren Chardonnay Silver Eagle Vineyard 2014

Silver Eagle Vineyard rests atop Stoetz Ridge, the land mass that divides the remote Sonoma Coast from the Russian River Valley. This vineyard experiences both the cooling ocean breezes of the nearby Pacific, as well as the warmth of the interior valley. The Chardonnay made from this unique confluence of climates is extraordinary; a fascinating juxtaposition of briny minerality and candied citrus.

Average age of the vines is 10 years.

100% native fermentation (primary and secondary), long cool fermentations often lasting up to a full year, minimal lees stirring, no additions of any kind (commercial yeast, water, acid, enzymes, etc ...)

Ageing: 12 months sur lie in 60 gallon Burgundian barrels. 6 additional months in stainless. 
Cooperage: Francois Freres 100% French Oak, Vosges and Troncais forrests, 40% new oak.

Never any fining or filtration.

Finca Sobreno Ildefonso Toro 2009

Finca Sobreno Ildefonso Toro  is made from 100% Tinta de Toro
Very Old Vines (Minimum 80 years of age)
Aged in 100% new French Oak Barrels for 18 months + 12 months in the bottle

The Harvest: This year we had low rain falls getting very healthy bunches. Besides, cool nights and not very hot days at the end of the cycle were excellent for a complete ripening of the grapes, full of nuances.
Vinification: The fruit is manually selected and picked in small cases. After destemming the grapes are stored in 2.000 liter open fermenter tanks and cold maceration at 8ºC during 8 days. Three times a day the cap of the skins is submerged manually (pigeage) and after the alcoholic fermentation is finished at a controlled temperature, the wine is macerated until the wine maker determines the appropriate extraction polyphenols. The malolactic fermentation is carried out in new French oak barrels
Ageing: It takes place in the same barrels for 18 months racking every 6 months.

(made from vines that are over 80 years old; aged in all new French oak for 18 months):  Inky purple.  An intensely perfumed bouquet evokes candied dark berries, woodsmoke, incense and violet pastille.  Stains the palate with concentrated, almost shockingly vivacious black and blue fruit flavors.  Smooth, sweet and expansive on the clinging, energetic finish.-Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar 93 Points

TASTING NOTES
Color: Deep cherry color
Nose: Very expressive, elegant and complex with ripe fruit, mineral notes, sweet spices, chocolate aromas and intense toasts.
Taste: Powerful, tasty, round and very smooth. We find again black berries, mineral notes, chocolates with roasted aromas. Very long after taste.
Food Pairing: Ideal for red meats, lamb, roasted meat and strong cheeses

 


Review:

"The 2009 Finca Sobreno Ildefonso is pure Tinto de Toro, a blend from two parcels of 80-year-old vines. It sees 18 months in new French oak. It has a gorgeous, marmalade-scented bouquet with hints of blueberry and black olive tapenade that are very well-defined. The palate is full-bodied with ripe, supple tannins and layers of spicy red fruit interwoven with marmalade, clove, white pepper and bay. It is very well-balanced, powerful but not over-powering, and should age well over the next decade. Drink 2014-2025."
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue#206, April 2013), 92 pts

"(made from vines that are over 80 years old; aged in all new French oak for 18 months): Inky purple. An intensely perfumed bouquet evokes candied dark berries, woodsmoke, incense and violet pastille. Stains the palate with concentrated, almost shockingly vivacious black and blue fruit flavors. Smooth, sweet and expansive on the clinging, energetic finish. - JR"

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (September 2013), 93 pts


- International Wine Guide (June 2013), GOLD MEDAL

 Vinous Antonio Galloni: 93 Wine Advocate: 92
Flanagan Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay 2014

The Ritchie Vineyard is one of the most famous Chardonnay sites in Sonoma County. The vineyard was planted in the early 1970’s to a Wente clone of Chardonnay on AXR-1 rootstock. It was later discovered that AXR-1 was not phylloxera resistant and owner Kent Ritchie was told he would need to replant the vineyard. Forty years later the vineyard still produces world class fruit! The 2014 Flanagan Chardonnay from Ritchie was barrel fermented in 50% new French oak and aged sur lies in barrel for 11 months before being transferred into a tank for a remaining 5 months. This wine is rich in texture with great acidity. The flavor profile shows tropical fruits and the minerality unique to the volcanic soils of this legendary Sonoma County vineyard.

Flanagan Russian River Chardonnay 2014

Textured, classic Russian River Chardonnay with pleasing counterbalance between ripeness and acidity,distinguishable by underlying minerality, quality oak.

The nose is a blend of pear fruit and caramel. On the palate, these notes continue and are balanced with a hint of Rangbur lime in the finish. The crisp acidity is a perfect balance to the richness of the wine. This is to my mind exactly what RRV CH can be when top sites are well farmed and winemaking is focused.

Eric Flanagan and his family live on the vineyard property the Chardonnay comes from.

Gaudrelle Vouvray Reserve Armand Monmousseau 2009 (half-bottle)

Gaudrelle Vouvray Reserve Armand Monmousseau 2009 (half-bottle) is made from 100% late harvest Chenin blanc

Fine Chenin Blanc typicity, with aromas of ripe apples and honeyed notes. Rich, smooth, rounded palate with great structure and weight. Has the acidity to support ageing for 10 years.

 

Hook or Crook Cellars Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2014

 

Our Chardonnay is grown in the prestigious Russian River Valley which is known for producing wines that marry qualities ofold world and new world Chardonnay styles.The 2014 Hook or Crook Russian River Chardonnay is a graceful balance of a buttery Chardonnay that has bright acids that keep the wine focused.

The wine offers lightly toasted oak notes that bring a toasty, buttery mouthfeel while harmoniously finishing with crisp notes of peach, asian pear, and green apple.

This homage to the Russian River Valley is a delightful wine pairing with many dishes, from swordfish or poached salmon to adventurous wine pairings like Thai curry or Pho.

Jip Jip Rocks Chardonnay 2011

Vintage overview:
It started out full bore with the usual warm February weather. All our grape varieties started to ripen at the same time making it one of our most compact vintages to date. Vine-balance was carefully monitored, resulting in fruit that demonstrate the vibrancy and fruit-derived characters that we strive for in our wines

Winemaking report:
Gentle pressing and free run juices create the base of this wine. Traditionally Jip Jip Rocks Chardonnay is a 2/3 blend fermented and matured in stainless steel and 1/3 fermented in stainless steel which receives extended lees contact to add texture and complexity to the palate.

Tasting Notes:
Light yellow with a pale straw hue. A lifted nose of citrus fresh stone fruit characters and melon. The palate is clean and fresh, subtle lees characters, is quite fruit derived and has great poise. This wine will age beautifully over the next 4-5 years

Jip Jip Rocks Chardonnay 2015

Jip Jip Rocks Chardonnay 2014  is made from 100 percent unoaked Chardonnay.

Light yellow with a pale straw hue. A classic nose of lemon, fresh stonefruit and melon. The palate is clean and fresh with mineral characters underpinning ripe pineapple and lime flavours. This wine will age beautifully over the next 4-5 years.

 Winemaking report: Gentle pressing and free run juices create the base of this wine. Traditionally Jip Jip Rocks Chardonnay is a 2/3 blend fermented and matured in stainless steel and 1/3 fermented in stainless steel, which receives extended lees contact to add texture and complexity to the palate.



 
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Riebeek Pinotage 2016

The color is an attractive bright, ruby red with a purple rim, typical of a young Pinotage. The flavors of this unique South African cultivar are complex and exciting with ripe plum and fruitcake all beautifully integrated and then finished with subtle oak for a lingering aftertaste.

Lovely with rare beef, barbequed lamb and casseroles. This versatile lighter style of Pinotage is also a lovely combination with spicy chicken.