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Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
The 2014 Chardonnay from the Marcassin Vineyard could be described as a letdown after two perfect wines, but of course, it’s not. It shares the great intensity of its predecessors, doesn’t seem to have quite the complexity and profound depth of either the 2012 or 2013, but since it’s younger, that may appear with more time in the bottle. Certainly the tangerine oil, caramelized citrus, honeysuckle and lemon blossom are all present in this wine of impressive fruit purity, equilibrium and length. Like the 2013 and 2012, it has at least 10-15 years of aging potential.. -Wine Advocate 96 Points
What an extraordinary tasting this was at the Marcassin winery just north of Santa Rosa in Sonoma County. Just when you think the duo of Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer can’t make greater wines, they bowl over the taster with an array of exquisite quality that really must be tasted to be believed. Marcassin was probably California’s greatest Chardonnay after the famous Chalone winery fell from the pinnacle and onto hard times in the 1980s (and it has yet to rebound). Moreover, Marcassin set the bar for great Pinot Noir as well. And while both their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir have many competitors these days (from the likes of Harford Court, Mark Aubert, Kistler, Kongsgaard, DuMol, Thomas Brown, Peter Michael, Martinelli and Luc Morlet, to name a few), John Wetlaufer and Helen Turley remain the reigning geniuses of these two varietals in California. Certainly, their meticulous attention to detail in both the vineyard and in the winemaking and élevage account for the quality, but they were among the pioneers who saw the unlimited potential from the Sonoma Coast, now a relatively crowded neighborhood. This was a remarkable tasting that simply blew me away, and I have been following their wines since the first Marcassins were made in the early 1990s. By the way, any doubts about aging potential should be crushed immediately, as even in the most challenging vintages in California, Marcassin Chardonnays and Pinots have aged as well as, if not better than just about any grand cru white Burgundy. For example, 1995 and 1996 Chardonnays, particularly those from the Lorenzo Vineyard, are incredibly youthful and dynamic, and the Marcassin Estate Pinot Noir, even from vintages such as 1998, is simply amazing.
The three Chardonnays tasted include two perfect wines. Perhaps the closest comparison is not to anything made in California, but a Corton-Charlemagne in a top vintage from the famous Jean François Coche-Dury.
Marcassin Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2013 in stock and ready to ship.
The 2013 Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard doesn’t have quite the drama, depth of flavor or profound depth of the 2012. This dark plum/ruby-colored wine offers displays crisp acids as well as notes of Chinese black tea and orange rind, and builds incrementally in the mouth to a medium to full-bodied finish. By Marcassin standards, it’s just a brilliant wine rather than a compellingly great one. -Robert Parker 94+ Points
-Robert Parker 94+ Points
The 2012 Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard, which comes primarily from the Calera clone (although I suspect there are a few mystery clones in their plantings), always seems to remind me of a grand cru from Burgundy’s Côte de Nuits, particularly Morey-St.-Denis. Dense ruby/plum, its sweet nose of strawberries, black cherry liqueur, fresh porcini mushrooms and forest floor is followed by a dark, full-bodied, rich and concentrated wine that is supple, dramatic, and even flamboyant. Drink it over the next 12-15 years. 97 Points Rrbert Parker
Bydand Chardonnay Sonoma Coast is made from 100% Chardonnay
Aged for 16 months in 30% new French oak, 70% neutral French oak
Farmed by one of California’s most respected and longest operating grape-growing families, the Roberts Road Vineyard is located in the Petaluma Gap. Sitting on well draining gravel soils, coastal winds allow for a long, slow and even growing season. Planted in 1998 these Dijon 95 grapes provide minerality and vibrancy to a full-bodied wine with impressive purity of flavor and mouth-feel. French oak barrels add subtle toast to aromas of pear, stone fruits and white citrus.
"Dark gold in color, this wine is densely layered in ripe peach and rich butterscotch. The oak is hearty yet well-integrated, adding to the overall structure and power of the wine. - Virginie Boone "
- Wine Enthusiast (July 2020), 90 pts
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
Bydand Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast is made from 100% Pinot Noir
Aged for 16 months in 40% new French oak, 60% neutral French oak
Umino Vineyard is perched atop rolling hills overlooking the Petaluma Gap in Sebastopol, CA. Taking advantage of maritime influence this 11-acre vineyard benefits from warm sunshine throughout the day and cool coastal winds at night. Planted in 1996 to 4 Dijon Clones of Pinot Noir these vines produce wine of purity and balance. Exhibiting rich flavors and aromas of crushed rose petal, raspberry and cherry cola with earthy minerality and lively acidity.
"Earthy black tea, Asian spice and sage underscore a savory note in this ultimately balanced, well-integrated wine. Finishing touches of toasted oak and cola round out the finish. - VIRGINIE BOONE"
- Wine Enthusiast (July 2020), 90 pts
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.
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. 97 Points
Marcassin (French for ‘young wild boar’) is a distinctive Sonoma Coast, California winery owned by renowned winemaker Helen Turley and her husband John Wetlaufer, a viticulturalist. Helen Turley has worked as a consultant for numerous acclaimed wineries, but she now focuses mainly on her Marcassin wines.
Helen & John (a viticulturalist) produce around 2,500 cases of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir annually. The wines are highly sought after: 90% of the wine is sold via mailing list, and eager connoisseurs can wait years for the chance to be allocated a bottle.
Marcassin’s limited yield 20-acre estate vineyard is located on the Sonoma Coast and planted 2/3 Pinot Noir & 1/3 Chardonnay. It is meticulously farmed with densely planted vines. Fruit for their other vineyard-designated wines are sourced from neighboring Sonoma Coast vineyards.
Helen crafts unique, complex, and highly extolled expressions of Sonoma Coast wines following traditional Burgundian style, fermenting with natural yeast, primarily new oak and extended time on lees. The wines are bottled without fining, filtering or cold stabilization and are typically aged five years prior to release.
Betz Family La Serenne Syrah is 100% Syrah
La Serenne is the most reflective of the site/vintage dynamic of our three single-site 2012 Syrahs. Lovers of this wine know that its source, the Boushey Vineyard, is the highest altitude of the three vineyards and is typically the latest harvested. This cool site was accentuated by the cooler season and the results reflect the seriousness of this vineyard and its care.
An extraordinary, nearly impenetrable black purple color leads to a concentrated, inky aromatic impression: smoky black cherry and wild blackberry dominate, but a litany of supporting aromas is already emerging: smoke, violet, mushroom, roasted meat, Chinese 5 spice and minerals. It has a full attack on entry and a big, rich mouthfeel that goes on and on.
2012 is our 13th harvest from this site and these rows. We continue to be impressed with the chameleon nature of this vineyard, in cool years and hot, in heat spikes and cool springs: it provides us with surprises and opportunities at every harvest. While the themes of deep black fruits and pliant structure always surface, the nuance of this vineyard and its care (thank you, Dick Boushey) make it some of the most satisfying fruit we work with every harvest.
"The pure, elegant and textured 2014 Syrah la Serenne offers that classic violet and floral characteristics of the cuvee, as well as medium to full-bodied richness, lots of black raspberry fruit, fine, sweet tannin and a great finish. It’s not as powerful or concentrated as the La Cote Rousse, yet it’s a joy to drink and will cruise for a decade or more on its balance and purity. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #225, June 2016), 93 pts
Amaren Rioja Barrel Fermented Blanco is made from 85% Viura and 15% Malvasia
The demanding level that is set in Amaren requires that all the wines are produced in limited quantities. Vine plants are composed of small clusters which make perfect ripening possible with a high concentration of nuances. A wine with great aromatic intensity and elegance.
Color: Straw-yellow in color.
Nose: High aromatic intensity, blended nuances of syrup fruit and cake.
Palate: In the mouth it is smooth and round, with a high complexity of citric flavors (lemon peel), hints of pineapple, pipe tobacco and aromatic plants with a mineral and extremely elegant finish.