Fort Ross Vineyard, Sonoma Coast
93 Points - WINE ENTHUSIAST
90 Points - WINE & SPIRITS
The delicately balanced bright fruit and the crisp minerality of our 2008 release demonstrates the ideal of cool climate Sonoma Coast Chardonnay patiently picked at the optimum moment. Delicate honeysuckle blossoms, white peach and melon aromas perfume the glass. Refined and elegant, focused flavors of pear, honeydew melon and ripe apple, enlivened by the vineyard's signature minerality, linger on the graceful finish.
93 POINTS - WINE ENTHUSIAST - August 2010 Issue
Shows amazingly ripe fruit, offering a blast of pineapple jam, apricot, tangerine, papaya, and lime flavors. The acidity is crisp and tart, and the oak is rich and flamboyant, yet in keeping with the size of the underlying wine. Super-rich and decadent, this Chardonnay is at its best soon. -SH
90 POINTS - Best Buy - WINE & SPIRITS - October 2010 Issue
Plump in the middle with candied citrus flavors, this broadens out in toasty richness. A cool sweep of flavor to accompany grilled salmon.
2008 Chardonnay Fort Ross Vineyard Tech Sheet
September 23, 2008
June 29, 2009
The delicately balanced bright fruit and the crisp minerality of our 2008 release demonstrates the ideal of cool climate Sonoma Coast Chardonnay patiently picked at the optimum moment. Delicate honeysuckle blossom, white peach and melon aromas perfume the glass. Refined and elegant, focused flavors of pear, honeydew melon and ripe apple, enlivened by the vineyard's signature minerality, linger on the graceful finish.
The grapes for this Chardonnay were handpicked during the cool hours of the night in small five-gallon buckets. The fruit was hand sorted in the vineyard and gently whole cluster pressed at the winery. After pressing, the wine underwent primary and malolactic fermentation in a combination of 30% new and 70% used French oak. This discrete use of new oak allowed the fruit to shine. During extended blending trials that produced countless blends from different permutations of the field selections (clones), blocks and barrels, we determined that our 2008 Chardonnay was seamlessly balanced when all of the barrels were blended together, including those we had set aside for the Reserve bottling. The result is that there will be no separate Reserve Chardonnay in 2008. This wine is comprised of 60% small berried old Hyde field selection chosen for its richness and sleek structure and 40% old Wente for its luscious fruit and grace.
This was a Biblical year in the industry - with frost, unseasonal heat and then unusual cold. This was the year when out proximity to the ocean and our steep slopes proved to be out salvation - rather than a farming challenge. The damaging frost that destroyed so much of the 2008 harvest in the low lying vineyards did not affect the Fort Ross Vineyard - as the heavy, freezing air did not settle on out steep slopes. Our proximity to the ocean also moderated the extreme heat that forced many vineyards to pick earlier than they had planned. We could then take advantage of the unusually cool weather during harvest and pick when the flavors were at their fullest.