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Sinor-LaVallee Estate Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Sinor-LaVallee Chardonnay reflects a maniacal attentiveness only possible through sole proprietorship from viticulture through winemaking. The aim was to create a singular Chardonnay that expresses the totality of Bassi Ranch’s ultra-coastal terroir.
The wine Chardonnay offers fragrant aromas of tropical fruit with notes of butterscotch, apricot and crème brûlée. The palate is rich and viscous, yet never loses its energy or focus. Flavors of pear, pineapple and peach show trailing notes of vanilla, mineral and spice. A luscious, full-bodied mid palate yields to a sense of balanced sleekness on the finish.
Sinor-Lavallee is owned by Mike Sinor and Cheri LaVallee and has been in operation since 2013. Sourced exclusively from the Bassi Vineyard near Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo Valley (though not within AVA boundaries), the grapes are planted just 1.2 miles from the Pacific Coast. The wines are classically Central Coast in their expression (Especially the Chardonnay) and offer a nice note of terroir.
Mike Sinor has always been a grinder, a way of life he learned at a young age while working in his father’s auto wrecking yard. He brought that mentality to his first wine harvest in 1993 and never looked back. Through grit and determination, and without formal training, he ultimately became one of the Central Coast’s most decorated winemakers.
Mike married Cheri LaVallee in 1996 in Burgundy, soon after they started their own label. In 2013, Mike and Cheri put everything on the line to acquire the ocean-view Bassi Vineyard near Avila Beach. It was the destination they’d always been seeking—a singular vineyard that they could steward with holistic and meticulous viticulture.
Bassi Vineyard soils are marine in origin. These soils are low in organic material. The underlying bedrock is hard marine sandstone through which the vine roots can barely pass. Yields are inherently limited, producing fruit with natural intensity and vivid site expression.
Bassi Vineyard is farmed organically with biodynamic inputs. These practices are observed, first and foremost, because they help make better wine. No stone is unturned in that pursuit. What is great for the wine is also good for the land and the surrounding environment, so the rewards are ample for keeping everything in balance. No certification has been pursued. All recent plantings have been own rooted.
Sinor-LaVallee Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Sinor-LaVallee Pinot Noir reflects a maniacal attentiveness only possible through sole proprietorship from viticulture through winemaking. The aim was to create a singular Pinot Noir that expresses the totality of Bassi Ranch’s ultra-coastal terroir.
The wine presents jammy red fruit aromas with earth-driven notes of black tea and smoke. The varietal character is deep and pure, while the vineyard’s terroir is undeniable with savory notes of stem and sage. Supple plum and black cherry flavors engage the palate with a trailing suggestion of mixed berry pie. The structure is elegant and unquestionable, carried by mouthwatering acidity and concluding with a rounded, cedary finish.
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
The Grand Vin is the 2017 Harlan Estate, and this beauty just about jumps from the glass with its pure cassis and blackcurrant fruits as well as notes of tobacco, graphite, crushed stone, and spice. With a full-bodied, expansive mouthfeel, building, velvety tannins, and a layered, seamless style that offers way more pleasure than just about every other wine in the vintage, bottles can be enjoyed any time over the coming 20-25 years.
- Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
The 2017 Harlan Estate is superb. Deep, inky and wonderfully expressive, the 2017 is impeccably rendered. All the elements come together effortlessly. The nervous tannins of the vintage are evident, but there is also plenty of sumptuousness. Time in the glass brings out a whole range of red-toned fruit and floral notes that are surprising for a year with massive heat spike. The 2017 is polished and sophisticated to the core. In a word: impressive.
-- Antonio Galloni - 96+ Points
Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2017 Harlan Estate needs a little coaxing to reveal captivating iron ore, red currant jelly, cloves and crushed rocks scents with a core of warm cassis, Black Forest cake and boysenberries plus a waft of pencil lead. Medium to full-bodied, it has a firm, grainy texture with a lively backbone and loads of earthy layers, long and mineral laced. This should be one of the longer-lived wines coming out of the 2017 vintage.
"2018 had a certain sense of ease to it," Bill Harlan said as we tasted the barrel sample of the next iteration of this iconic label. "The pace was wonderful." "Mother nature was allowing us an extended runway," winemaker Cory Empting agreed. "We just started picking and couldn’t stop."
-Wine Advocate 97+ Points
This is fully loaded, with waves of dense yet succulent blackberry, black currant and fig preserves that move along steadily, pulling roasted apple wood, dark bay leaf, espresso cream and humus notes along. A bolt of cast iron emerges through the finish, remaining well-encased in the fruit and adding prodigious length and stability. A fairly tremendous wine, especially considering the vintage. Best from 2022 through 2040. 2,040 cases made.
-Wine Spectator 97 Points
The estate Cabernet Sauvignon is grown primarily along the southwest ridge of the vineyard. The vines produce small berries with bountiful flavor, concentration and intensity, but also a good degree of finesse, excellent structure and layers of complexity that will continue to develop during extended bottle aging for those who want to cellar and age their wines. The wine is powerful, elegant, full-bodied.
Bottled unfined and unfiltered.100% free run
Pumpovers and punch-downs, up to 45 day macerations
Native yeast, 5 day cold soaks
22 months in 75% new French oak barrels
Fermented in concrete and stainless closed top tanks.
"The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain Estate is another powerful wine from this team. Opulent notes of blackcurrants, graphite, chocolate, crushed rocks, wild herbs, and espresso all give way to a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon that has loads of fruit, a superstar of a mid-palate, ripe tannins, and a great finish. It’s another 2017 that’s going to benefit from at least 2-4 years of bottle age and have 20 years or more of longevity."
- Jeb Dunnuck (April 2020), 95+ pts
Gaja Gaia & Rey Langhe Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
The winery's historic Gaia & Rey Chardonnay is a wine that not only reshaped the legacy of the house itself, but also redefined Piedmont as one of the truly great winemaking regions of the world. Named after Lucia and Angelo Gaja's daughter, Gaia Gaja, and Angelo Gaja's grandmother Clotilde Rey (the family's great matriarch and one of its most forward-thinking visionaries), Gaia & Rey was first bottled in 1983 and released the following year. With this historic bottling, Angelo Gaja showed the world that exceptional white wines could be produced in the Langhe Hills, where red wines had been produced almost exclusively before. He also delivered to the world what is now considered one of the greatest white wines of Europe, a truly remarkable accomplishment in a country where red grapes have historically dominated the realm of fine wine. The 2017 vintage proves that great quality sometimes comes from scarcity. Three days of frost at the end of April set back the crop size by 10 percent, then high heat in summer and lack of rainfall presented challenges in managing the vineyards. The good news is that with strict selection and our no-compromise approach, the fruit harvested was healthy and excellent white wines were the result, despite the drop in production.
This wine was first made in 1983, and back then, no malolactic fermentation occurred. Jump forward in time to the 2017 Langhe Gaia & Rey, and this is another vintage in which malo did not start. (Partial malolactic returns in 2018). Since those first years of production, the oak usage has also been tweaked, now with less barrique in favor of more botte grande. Thanks to these changes, the aromatic profile of this wine veers toward citrus and rich tropical fruit, especially in a warm vintage such as this. However counterintuitive, this edition also shows a very bright and precise touch of acidity that serves to give the wine balanced and mouth-cleansing salinity.
- Wine Advocate 93+ Points
Morlet Coup de Coeur Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
From the same hillside vineyards as ‘Ma Princesse’ and ‘Ma Douce,’ this unique cuvée was judiciously blended from a strictly limited number of selected barrels displaying truly outstanding features. It is our ‘Heart’s Astonishment’ or ‘Coup de Cœur.’
Straw yellow color. Complex bouquet of candied lemon, citrus oils, Reinette apple and strong notes of hazelnut and white truffle. Mineral driven on the palate, the mouth feel is rich yet delicate. Seamless and classic, it is wonderfully subtle and long on the finish. With a very high ageing potential, this wine can be cellared for over a decade.
The borderline perfect 2017 Chardonnay Coup De Coeur comes from a selection of the best barrels and there are only 150 cases of this elixir. Aged in 40% new French oak, this exotic, powerful Chardonnay offers a heavenly bouquet of honeyed citrus, toasted brioche exotic flowers, and orange blossom. It’s rich, voluptuous, and thrillingly textured, yet has good acidity, remarkable purity, a stacked mid-palate and a finish that won’t quit. Count me impressed; California Chardonnay doesn’t get much better.
-Jeb Dunnuck 99 Points
Coup de Coeur is an über barrel-selection blend of the Morlet’s Chardonnay vineyards, using exclusively Old Wente clone selection. The 2017 Chardonnay Coup de Coeur bursts with spicy notions of allspice and coriander seed over a core of ripe Bosc pears, apple pie and almond croissant with wafts of beeswax and candied ginger. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is tightly wound, offering beautiful tension to offset all the opulent, spicy flavors, finishing very long and incredibly harmonious even at this very youthful stage. 150 cases are due to be made.
-Wine Advocate 99 Points
Chartron et Trebuchet Ladoix Premier Cru is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Ladoix AOC: This AOC (LADOIX) is about 75 % red and 25 % white wine from the commune of Ladoix-Serrigny (Ladoix is old French for “the source”). 11 premier Cru’s, with a production is 33,000 cases of red to 12,500 cases of Blanc. Location is very near the Grand Cru’s of Corton and Corton-Charlemagne.
Tasting Notes:The white wine here is toasty, smoky, with a complex, mineral and long lemony finish……4-6 year aging wine. Ladoix blanc is somewhat rare, and we are only importing 25 cases …
VINEYARD: Rocky and reddish limestone and enough marl to make it ideal for white wines.
Plantations: ----- vines / hectare.
Yield: -- hectoliters / hectare.
HARVEST: Harvest by hand.
VINIFICATION: Traditional vinification. The grapes are pressed immediately upon arrival at the winery in pneumatic presses. The alcoholic fermentation is carried out in oak barrels, 20% new oak. The wine is aged for 12 months in oak barrels with regular stirring to gain depth and complexity.
AGEING: The wine is aged for 12 months in oak barrels with regular stirring to gain depth and complexity.
Its freshness and finesse allow it to be enjoyed as an aperitif. It also pairs well with white meat and sauce. At the sea side, it will be perfect with a plate of shellfish (lobster, scallops) steamed or poached or noble fish just fried, grilled or steamed. Cheeses: Goat cheese, Beaufort Comté, Emmental...
"Fresh notes of chalk and lemon beckon from the glass, clothed in subtle smoke. The gentleness continues on the palate where Mirabelle fruit has an inviting streak of lemon. The ripeness of 2018 is expressed in the warm finish, but overall this is a very balanced, fresh wine. - Anne KREBIEHL MW"
- Wine Enthusiast (July 2020), 90 pts
SonVida Malbec is made from 95% Malbec and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon
SonVida Malbec is a single vineyard wine, the supreme expression of the award-winning zone of Altamira, in Argentina's Uco Valley. Altamira's smooth tannins shine through, and the combination of acidity and minerality lead the wine to a long, integrated finish.
"The wine is proud to be ripe and generous. Aromas dominated by smokey mulberry and blueberry. It's plush and coats the palate with bramble, blueberry and liquorice and the scent of vanilla. Immediately muscular and broad-shouldered in the glass, with a savory note, perhaps tapenade, running through the dense palate with mint and dried herbs on the finish. The oak will integrate over time, mixing its spice with the warm spice of fruit. - Joe Fattorini - The Wine Show"
Sunny Summer with moderate nighttime temperatures, followed by an early Fall.
Grapes come from the Mendoza region, in the Paraje Altamira area.
YIELD: 35 Hl/HA
MACERATION: Total 25 days, first cold-soaked 5 days, 14 days fermentation at 24° C, plus 7 additional days. No filtration.
SonVida Malbec can be enjoyed on its own, and matches perfectly with meats, chicken, turkey and hard cheeses. It is enjoyed best in good company. ‘Would you like another glass?’ The answer, almost always, is ‘yes’.