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Russian River Chardonnay Bacigalupi is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
An unmatched heritage. This wine is made from the budwood of the vines that produced the California Chardonnay that rocked the industry by winning the infamous “Judgment of Paris” wine tasting in 1976. And the quality has persisted.
Starting out with aromas of white peach, honeysuckle, crème brulee and jasmine. The palate is fruit driven from beginning to end. Apple pie, melon and stone fruit flavors linger on the tongue. The mid-palate is full and rich, with a touch of minerality. This wine finishes for days with plenty of fruit on the palate, balanced by a delightful pop of acidity.
One of the few Chardonnays built to age, age this beauty over the next 5-10 years - or even longer!
"A beautiful, intense chardonnay with lots of ripe red apples and some mineral and lemon-rind character, as well as just the right amount of vanilla and cream. Full-bodied, dense and layered with lovely intensity and focus at the end. Drink now or hold."
- James Suckling (November 2020), 94 pts
In 2008, fourth generation farmer and aspiring winemaker Giovanni Balistreri, under the tutelage of award-winning winemaker Anthony Austin, set out to reclaim the rich history and enormous un-tapped potential of one of Sonoma County’s finest wine-making estates. The estate lies in the heart of the Russian River Valley and thus proudly and appropriately bears the Russian River Valley appellation.
The winemakers understood the potential of this small estate, but even more importantly, they had come to know the special region in which it sits. This was not a place to build a large, corporate winery to produce wine in high volume. It was a place where a careful, patient approach could produce world-class wine. And in the decade since, the venerable estate has been returning to its former glory.
At Russian River Vineyards, they don’t mystify the winemaking process. They are farmers, first and foremost. Gio, the winemaker, is a product of four generations of farmers, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. To produce great wine, you must first produce excellent fruit. And it is the essential character and flavor of that fruit, when it is harvested, that will determine its potential to become a superior wine. There is no shortcut. You have to be there and manage the crop at every step. They are hands-on farmers, not only with their estate-grown grapes, but they also directly manage the farming of all vineyards from which they produce wine, whether they own the property or not. If they don’t farm it, they don’t make wine from it.
It is hard to imagine with the Lithology range receiving 298 points out of 300 for the three single-vineyard wines, that there could possibly be a wine above them. But there is, and it is our Estate wine. Blended several times very intently by masters of their craft Philippe Melka and Michel Rolland, this is the ultimate expression of our house’s work. Positive, full-bodied, and quite powerful, there’s the expected crème de cassis and blackberry from St. Helena Cabernets, with mineral, herb, subtle tobacco and vanilla, plum skins, and pie crust, purple flowers, forest-conifer notes, and very fine tannic structure. It is a magnificent, and magnificently elegant expression of this house, and when asked recently, Monsieur Rolland stated plainly to me, “oh yes indeed – this is the best one, the best yet…”
Pure perfection in Cabernet, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Alejandro Bulgheroni is all varietal and comes two-thirds from Oakville with the balance from sites in St. Helena and Rutherford. Aged 20 months in 70% new French oak and put together by Philippe Melka and Michel Rolland, it has an incredibly pure, full-bodied, massive yet weightless style that I suspect couldn’t be achieved anywhere outside of Napa Valley. Cassis, blackberries, leafy herbs, lead pencil shavings, and tobacco leaf are just some of the nuances here, and it’s full-bodied, deep, and concentrated on the palate while maintaining an ethereal, seamless, utterly perfect balance between its fruit, alcohol, tannins, and acidity. As good as it gets, it needs just 2-4 years in the cellar and will evolve gracefully for at least 20-25 years.
-Jeb Dunnuck 100 Points
FEL Anderson Valley Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Lifted floral aromatics waft from the glass of this citrus-driven Chardonnay. Notes of lemon zest, white grapefruit, and Key lime, are complemented by hints of juniper, struck flint, and melon. The blend of citrus flavors continues in the mouth with an abundance of fresh lemon and orange zest. The juicy finish is carried by notes of lemon balm with zippy acidity.
This richly spiced but vibrant and balanced wine beautifully weaves together subtle oak, rich vanilla, butter, pear and peach flavors, adding toasted almond and baked coconut on the finish. Grown in a noted single vineyard, it is delicious, layered and long on the finish.
- Wine Enthusiast 94 Points
Roserock by Drouhin Oregon Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
This Chardonnay leads with clean, fresh aromas of apple, honeydew, white flowers, shortcake and a touch of nuttiness. On the palate, the wine is generous and round, with flavors of citrus tart, white peach, almonds and spice with a delicious combination of minerality and richness. The finish is long.
James Suckling 93 Points
Decanter 93 Points
Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle No. 25 is a blend of 55% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir.
Very pale gold in color with a fine and persistent sparkle and a steady stream of fine bubbles. Fresh, intense, and complex with notes of slightly candied citrus fruits, secondary aromas of pastries, toasted almonds, and subtle hints of honey and gingerbread. A fresh and delicate attack with an impression of fullness, the finish is persistent displaying Grand Siècle’s perfect balance between strength and delicacy.
No. 25 Grand Siècle pairs with the most refined dishes, particularly noble fish and seafood such as lobster.
Vintage in Champagne is usually synonymous with excellence for Prestige Cuvées. Contrarily, Laurent-Perrier has always been convinced that only the art of assemblage can offer what nature can never provide: the perfect year.
The expression of the perfect year is that of a great Champagne wine that over time has developed a depth, intensity and aromatic complexity, yet maintains its freshness and acidity. To create such a wine, Laurent-Perrier will rely on the characteristics of the great vintage years of Champagne: freshness, structure and finesse.
Grand Siècle’s assemblage is based on 3 principles that have now become immutable.
Chardonnay : Cramant, Avize, Oger, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger.
Pinot Noir : Ambonnay, Bouzy, Verzy, Tours-sur-Marne, Mailly.
A prestige Champagne with great density and depth, yet it remains compact and structured, with a combination of fine phenolics, acidity and extract. Lots of flavors of lemon rind, salt, mineral and honeysuckle with an attractive fresh-herb undertone. Then it turns to candied lemons with some ginger. A triumph in complexity and power. A blend of 2008, 2007 and 2006. 60% chardonnay and 40% pinot noir. 7g/L dosage. Drink or hold.
-James Suckling 99 Points
Morlet Family Vineyards En Famille Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
For generations our family has been growing the Pinot Noir grape in France. Each harvest, we love to celebrate this time-honored commitment while our children stomp a small vat of Pinot Noir from California’s Sonoma Coast. As for any family celebration or casual gathering, this handcrafted wine is to be appreciated ‘En Famille.’ Intense raspberry, wild strawberry, forest floor and earthy notes (graphite), very rich and complex with a leathery lingering finish. Will age gracefully for over a decade.
Propietary Name En Famille
Name Meaning With the family (with kids’ help) 5 generations with Pinot Noir
Varietal composition Pinot Noir (100%)
Type of wine Vineyard designated
Appellation Fort Ross-Seaview
Vineyard singularity On the 2nd ridge off Pacific Ocean 1,100 feet of elevation Goldridge sedimentary soil
Typical harvest date October Picking Manual, small lugs, refer truck Sorting Cluster by cluster, berry per berry
Fermentation Through native yeast Punch downs Puncheons only Upbringing 14 months French oak from artisan coopers
Cellaring time 10+ years
Serving Slightly below room temperature No decanting
More black fruits, smoked earth, baking spices, and earthy, saddle leather notes emerge from the 2017 Pinot Noir En Famille, which comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard in the Fort Ross-Seaview region. This ripe, powerful, full-bodied Pinot Noir has an incredible texture and a huge core of fruit, yet it stays balanced, pure, and elegant, with plenty of tannic structure. Give bottles a year or two.
-Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points
Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley is made from 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot.
This is the grape that the winery believes will increasingly be recognized as the icon varietal of Washington State and comprises the majority of their production. This Cabernet is stylish, elegant, and impeccably balanced. Abeja accomplishes this by meticulous viticultural management, utilization of a rare sorting system, gentle handling of the fruit and the wine, customized practices for every lot no matter how small, and carefully selected French oak.
This Cabernet Sauvignon is a wonderful combination of sturdy structure and polished finesse. Balanced tannins and acidity provide the structure needed for excellent aging and will reward those who tuck it away for a bit.
The nose leads off with plum, bright blackberry, and dark bing cherries. A touch of dried blueberry rounds out the fruit profile. Floral notes and cocoa, with nuances of cedar and spice, are sprinkled throughout. All of these characters follow through on the palate and, with a pleasant minerality and continuity, weave a tapestry of complexity and youthful exuberance.
Aromas of fresh black cherry, barrel spice, dark chocolate and blackberry are followed by lush, ripe black cherry flavors. The tannins are polished to a fine sheen, and it shows a compelling texture. The finish carries. This is an outright delicious offering of the variety, with lots of pure hedonism but no shortage of class. Sean P. Sullivan
-Wine Enthusiast 93 Points
Russian River Chardonnay Petersen is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Pear, peach, apple and a hint of flint.
Flavors of gorgeous baked apples with golden raisin and brown sugar, comice pear tart, apricot scone with clarified butter. What a fabulous creamy texture this wine has, despite no oak influence at all. This is testament to the incredibly lush fruit from the Petersen Vineyard, along with hands-off winemaking. So fresh, lively and mouthwatering, it’s like biting into an apple right off the tree. You can feel the juice dripping down your chin.
Patz & Hall Dutton Ranch Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Winemaker and Founder James Hall. Since 1988 founder and winemaker James Hall has guided the Patz & Hall winemaking program, instilling it with his own boldness, imagination and trademark perfectionism. Combining a belief in great viticulture, traditional winemaking practices, and the judicious use of innovative techniques, James has earned a reputation for crafting dramatic benchmark Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs that balance vibrant power with vineyard-inspired depth and sophistication. In 1983 James joined Napa Valley’s Flora Springs Winery and Vineyards as assistant winemaker. There, he spent four years developing his expertise crafting barrel-fermented, small-lot Chardonnays. While at Flora Springs, James struck up a close friendship with sales manager Donald Patz, and the two soon discovered that they shared a similar philosophical approach to wine and winemaking. In the spring of 1988, while working as the winemaker and estate manager for Honig Winery, James teamed up with Donald and Heather Patz, and Anne Moses to make and release Patz & Hall’s inaugural Napa Valley Chardonnay.
Aromas of ginger, guava and Crème brûlée with toasted almond, and toffee-brown sugar. Dense, and full bodied, there’s a pleasingly crisp and mouthwatering green apple note on the palate that melds with dried apricot, tangerine flavors along with a hint of toasted oak.
From the Russian River, the 2017 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch is a step up and has more intensity and depth, with a rocking bouquet of honey stone fruits, brioche, toasted hazelnuts, and crushed stone. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and beautifully balanced, with bright acidity, it has a kiss of background oak but is a seriously good, layered effort that will cruise for 5-7 years, probably longer. - Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
Russian River Pinot Noir Cuvee is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir
The thought of this blend is to showcase the harmonious nature of all Russian River vineyards together and how well they can complement each other. This is an elegant blend of wines from five of Russian River vineyards with a unique flavor that they consider to be the essential “Russian River Valley” wine. This wine is a striking complement to their traditional single vineyard approach. It affords them the luxury to mix & match the distinct characteristics and flavor profiles from the various vineyards. And it is anything but your traditional “blend”. Because it is made exclusively from premium single vineyard wines, they think it is a cut above typical Cuvées. Case in point: 35% of this blend was aged in new french oak barrels, a level you will rarely, if ever, see in a Cuvée. Even better, this wine is an incredible every day value!
This is a spicy, lush, and bright wine with notes of cherry.
"A pinot with plenty of dried berry, cherry, smoke and spice. Some cedar and mahogany undertones as well. It’s medium-to full-bodied with a creamy texture and a flavorful, savory finish. Drink or hold."
- James Suckling (November 2020), 92 pts
Paul Hobbs Chardonnay Russian River Valley is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Crafted with precision from six pedigreed sites comes a wine that beams with pale straw hue. The newest vintage brings wonderful aromatic intensity: candied lemon peel, white florals followed by crisp green apple. A creamy and viscous texture on the palate is buoyed by white nectarine and dried apricot that’s balanced with a vibrant acidity, bringing focus to the wine’s finish that lingers with hints of flinty mineral notes.
Zanon Pinot Noir Russian River is made from 100% Pinot Noir.
Zanon Pinot Noir is a classic example of a stylish wine made from the cooler-climate region of the famed Russian River Valley. The wine exudes typical vibrant black cherry aromas along with a dash of allspice in an elegant fashion. A silky layered texture is framed by lovely acidity and lower tannic structure. Enjoy this wine in its youth.
Five separate Pinot Noir vineyards contributed to this wine from the famed and beautiful Russian River Valley AVA. Cool evening fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean help to develop full flavors and preserve its vibrancy, natural acidity, and pureness.
Pairs with salmon, tuna, pork, mild sausages, turkey, duck, and lamb.
River Road Ranch is a 115-acre jewel in the heart of the Russian River Valley AVA. Chardonnay vines thrive in well-drained soils, shrouded with fog cooled nights, ideal growing conditions. The grapes for this wine came from two blocks of twelve and fifteen-year-old vines, planted with clones #4, 95, and 2A-Wente.
Bottled poetry is the description of Trione Chardonnay. Burgundian in style of both nose and palate. Rich and inviting, this wine offers a complex mix of toasty baguette, warm melted brie; silky but with the structure demonstrating the aging potential. The wine is tasting great now but will be awesome for the next 5-7 years.
The wine is produced from 20 different parcels (3 hectares total). The soils are a mix of clay and silt.
The age of wines varies between 15 to 60 years.
Yield: 45 hl/ha
Production: 15,000 bottles on average.
Manual harvest with a selection of the grapes; sorting table; 100% destemming; maceration for 15 days, cold stabilization for 4-5 days; M-L.; racking twice a day. Fermentation in stainless steel tanks for 4 months. Aging in oak barrels for 12 months (new and 1 or 2 year old barrels). Kieselguhr filtration before bottling.
Liquorice, blackberry, red fruits flavors.
Excellent with meat, game and cheeses
Belle Glos Clark and Telephone Vineyard Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Deep ruby red in color with scarlet highlights, Clark & Telephone opens with bountiful aromas of red fruits of cranberry and raspberry jam, laced with clove, cedar, and holiday baking spices. Bold and complex flavors of crushed ripe cherry, cranberry and blueberry pie linger on the palate. The texture is rich and lively, and leads into a warm and structured finish.
This is a very bold style of Pinot Noir, so much that it's not very reflective of the grape but would work well paired with a juicy grilled steak. Concentrated aromas of blackberry, maple syrup and hot pancakes lead into a viscous, thick palate of berry jam, clove and cardamom flavors.
-Wine Enthusiast 91 Points