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Lancel Creek Vineyard is perched above the tiny hamlet of Occidental on the remote Sonoma Coast. This secluded, two-acre site was prepared, planted, and is still tended by Ulises Valdez. The pale, off-white Goldridge soil provides just enough nutrients and moisture for these densely planted vines to ripen a small amount of intensely aromatic and flavorful Chardonnay. The vineyard faces the Pacific Ocean, a mere five miles to the west. The combined influence of the cold Pacific and the warming afternoon sun produces a wine of incredible richness and sublime balance.
Soil types: Goldridge, fine sandy loam.
Age of the vines: 15 years
Flirting with perfection, the 2016 Chardonnay Lancel Creek Vineyard offers a touch more zip in its crushed lemon, white flowers, mint, and honeysuckle, aromas and flavors. Rich, full-bodied, and concentrated, yet just incredibly pure, this is a heavenly Chardonnay that's getting up there with the crème de la crème in the vintage. Tasting like a Grand Cru Chablis on Steroids, it's going to continue drinking beautifully for over a decade. It's a wow wine and should be sought out by readers. The Chardonnay of the vintage? - Jeb Dunnuck 99 Points
Ferren is a winery dedicated to tiny lots of artisanally made single-vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot noir wines from the far Sonoma Coast of California. Each of the vineyards in the portfolio is a jewel of the true Coast, has been hand picked based on its potential for producing profound, age-worth wines, and is farmed to the highest standards of sustainability and wine quality.
Date Founded: 2013
Winemaker Matt Courtney founded Ferren with longtime friend David Wherritt after an eight-year apprenticeship with Helen Turley at Marcassin Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. The wines are made using traditional Burgundian methods without fining or filtration, and fermentations are carried out exclusively by native flora that arrive on the grapes from the vineyards.
SILVER EAGLE VINEYARD
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 wine made from this unique confluence of climates is extraordinary: the Pinot noir a rare balance of explosive wild berry, mouth-watering acidity, and rich, polished tannins; the Chardonnay a fascinating juxtaposition of briny minerality and candied citrus.
Our brilliant vineyard manager Ulises Valdez owns this vineyard, and has built his home on this spectacular site.
Avennia Red Willow Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Red Willow Cabernet is a true blockbuster.
Coming from one specific block of 30 year old vines at this iconic vineyard, then strictly barrel selected, this is the essence of powerful, old vine Washington Cabernet. After all of our efforts promoting the idea of the Bordeaux blend, it would take a pretty compelling argument to suspend that idea and make a 100% varietal Cabernet. In 2016 Red Willow provided us with just that. Each time we tasted it in the barrel, the belief grew that this was something special. Something we can't make every year. In the end we were won over, and decided to make a limited amount of this wine. But don't be fooled, as this too is a blend and a selection. Each year as we are tasting the grapes as harvest approaches, we notice that the vines near the bottom of this long, steep west-facing slope, are a little different. The vines at the bottom are in a little richer soil, and get a little more water, so we pick them separately, sometimes even a week or ten days apart, and keep them separate in barrel.
This wine is all from the top of the vineyard, with its lower yield and poorer soils giving more concentration and interest. Then further, nearly every combination of new and used French oak barrels were trialed to find the best blend. It's not enough just to use the four best barrels, but to trial each combination to see how they complement each other. For a wine with this much mass, 100% new French oak was used for the first time at Avennia. It is a wine that needs a little cellaring to start, but should last a very long time.
Made from 100% Red Willow Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Willow is another gem from this great winemaker. Deep purple-colored, with a huge perfume of blackberries, crème de cassis, cedarwood, pencil lead, and graphite, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness and depth, nicely integrated acidity, and building, ripe tannins. Give bottles 3-4 years and it too will cruise for 15-20 years or more.
- Jeb Dunnuck (April 2019), 95 Points
Ferren Chardonnay Sonoma Coast is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
"Buttery, yet balanced by a lithe freshness and filled with apple pastry, pear tart and quince paste flavors, loaded with spicy richness. The finish turns unctuous and creamy, showing powerful toasty accents. Drink now through 2025. 100 cases made. - KM”
- Wine Spectator (Web only 2020), 93 pts
Quilceda Creek Columbia Valley Red is made from
76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec
Vineyards: Champoux, Discovery, DuBrul, Galitzine, Klipsun, Palengat, Shaw, Tapteil and Wallula
"The entry-level 2016 Columbia Valley CVR is a beauty and well worth purchasing, particularly as it drinks well right out of the gate where the top cuvee benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age. Full-bodied, ripe, and sexy, with terrific notes of kirsch, black cherry liqueur, lead pencil shavings, and graphite, it has plenty of tannins as well as terrific balance and elegance."
- Jeb Dunnuck (April 2019), 93 pts
Argot Mosaic Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
"The 2016 Chardonnay Mosaic simply sings of honeyed peaches, apple pie and spiced pears with nuances of marzipan, ginger and nutmeg. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is packed with stone fruit and spiced apple layers with a creamy texture and fantastic freshness, finishing on a lingering honeyed note. 600 cases produced. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown" - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #237, June 2018), 91 pts
Laird Chardonnay Cold Creek is 100% Chardonnay
Our Cold Creek Chardonnay is grown in the slightly cooler microclimate of the Sonoma side of the Los Carneros district to the west, where thick fog and cool marine winds protect its tender skins. Indigenous to the Burgundy region of France, Clones 15 and 95 at a 50:50 ratio exhibit an approachable style and luminous, golden color.
Tasting Notes: The appearance of golden straw leads you through an aromatic journey with notes of tropical fruits, sweet nectarine, melon, and vanilla. The wine has flavors of jasmine, citrus, and ripe Fuji apple that are complemented by a creamy mouthfeel and hints of lemon curd. The finish lingers on the palate, making you yearn for the next sip.
Vineyard: 100% Cold Creek Ranch
Appellation: Los Carneros
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
50% Malolactic Fermentation
Mt Monster Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Gentle pressing and free run juices create the base of this wine.
Traditionally Mt Monster Chardonnay is 100% fermented and matured in stainless steel, this receives some lees contact to add texture and complexity to the palate, but essentially this wine is pure Chardonnay fruit.
Review & Tasting notes:
Bright straw color, with hints of lime green. Fresh figs and melon, with vibrant lemon citrus fruit. The nose also shows some yeast complexity from extended lees contact. Fresh tangy melon fruit flavors, & a clean acid finish. Although it may benefit from up to 2 years maturation in bottle, this wine is best consumed when young and fresh.
- Australian Wine Showcase (December 2016), 94 pts
Dark and chocolate, spiced with pretty notes of allspice and clove, this wine is round and rich, bursting with ripe berries, combined with an earthy complexity and a velvety finish.
Made from 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Franc
The wine spent 22 months on 75% new French oak with the remaining 25% second vintage French oak. Select barrels from the best forests of Taransaud, Boutes, Quintessance, and Vicard cooperages.
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Cabernet Franc (30%) and Merlot, this wine seems a little green out of the gate, with aromas of herbs, cocoa, vanilla, black licorice, woodspice and black fruit. The fruit flavors display the warmth of this region, with the tannins providing some heft, stretching out over time. - Wine Enthusiast 91 Points
Tamarack Cellars’ 2011 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Reserve is an outstanding blend of 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and 29% Cabernet Franc that spent 22 months (each variety is kept separate until 12 months after the harvest) in 50% new and 50% once-used French oak. Classically styled, with lots of smoke tobacco, licorice and blackcurrant aromas and flavors, it has everything in the right place, in the right proportions, and is incredibly enjoyable to drink. Enjoy this medium to full-bodied, moderately tannic, balanced beauty over the coming decade, although it will probably last longer. - Robert Parker Wine Advocate 91 Points
Grand Veneur Cotes Du Rhone Les Champauvins is made of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre
Intense, brilliant garnet-red colour. It reveals lovely fruit, loads of body and a heady bouquet of ground peppers, raspberries cherry liqueur, currants, and spice box. Full-bodied and dense, it tastes more like a "baby Châteauneuf" than a Côtes du Rhône.
A complete wine, rich and elegant, thanks to the harmony of all the elements which make it up.
Drink between 1 and 6 years.
Soil type DOMAINE GRAND VENEUR “Les Champauvins” stretches on 34 ha classified in Côtes du Rhône. The plots are located in the northern border of Châteauneuf du Pape, exactly from 3 meters outside the appellation. A small lane of rocks going through the rocky plateaux has been decided to be the AOC limit in 1936. Here, soils are made of red clay and rocks (pebbled stones of quartz). The quantity of rocks can be amazing as they can completely cover the soil (see picture). In summer and during the day, the rocks temperature will increase to 55°C. This accumulated heat will be get back to the vines during nights . Day after day, this unique phenomenon allow the grapes to reach a perfect maturity and produce a unique wine. Winemaking & Ageing Traditional, in stainless steel vats. Harvest crushed and destemmed. Fermentation in temperature controlled vats at 28°C. Eighteen-day vating period with “pigeage”. Grenache is aged in concrete vats, Syrah and mourvèdre in 4 years old barrelsntense, brilliant garnet-red colour. It reveals lovely fruit, loads of body and a heady bouquet of ground peppers, raspberries cherry liqueur, currants, and spice box. Full-bodied and dense, it tastes more like a “baby Châteauneuf” than a Côtes du Rhône. A complete wine, rich and elegant, thanks to the harmony of all the elements which make it up.
"Not yet bottled, the 2018 Côtes Du Rhône Les Champauvins offers slightly darker notes of cassis, blackberries, ground pepper, violets, and spring flowers. Soft, forward, and straight-up plump, it shows the fleshy, ready-to-go style of this vintage beautifully."
- Jeb Dunnuck (August 16th 2019), 88-90 pts