From our mountain vineyard that overlooks the Sonoma Coast in the Fort Ross-Seaview American Viticultural Area, Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery produces limited quantities of single vineyard, Estate grown, cool-climate Pinot Noir,
Chardonnay and Pinotage. With spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean less than one mile away, the vineyard is divided into 32 separate blocks, one-half to two acres in size, that range in elevation from 1700 down to 1200 feet above sea level. Owners, Lester and Linda Schwartz with their small crew began preparing the 52-acre vineyard in 1994. It took them 4 years of preparation before they could begin planting. The year 2000 marked the first vintage from the Fort Ross Vineyard.
93 Points - Wine Enthusiast
From a field selection planted to old Hyde and Wente clones, this white has soft rounded corners of caramel oak and vanilla bean. The complex, balanced richness is defined in tropical fruit accented by a brightness of tangerine and white peach. — Virginie Boone, March 2019.
91 Points - Wine Advocate
The 2016 Chardonnay Fort Ross Vineyard gives up notions of warm applesauce, poached pears and honey toast with a waft of lemon peel. The palate is medium-bodied with appealing freshness and plenty of spicy stone fruit and apple flavors, finishing on a honey-nut note. 508 cases produced. -Lisa Perrotti-Brown, April 2018.
91 Points - James Suckling
A ripe array of melon and peach aromas and flavors, leading to a finish that's framed in attractive, toasty, and spicy oak. Drink now. November 2018.
91 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
The 2016 Chardonnay FRV Fort Ross Vineyard is a beauty. Clean, classic, and medium-bodied, with good acidity as well as notes of buttered orchard fruits and spice, it has plenty of fruit, good balance, and classic Chardonnay profile. June 2018.
★★★★+ EXCELLENT - Restaurant Wine, Ronn Wiegand MW/MS
An elegant, supple, complex Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. It has refined aromas/flavors (pear, lemon, white peach, pineapple, lime, toast, spicy oak), excellent balance, and a very long, lingering finish. Very fine quality. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. Unfined, unfiltered. From heritage clones: Hyde field selection, Wente.
The hazy golden hue is evidence of subtle stirring of the lees and bottling without fining or filtration. The refined texture and layers of bright fruit beautifully intertwine with the vibrant acidity and minerality characteristic of the Fort Ross Vineyard’s coastal terroir. Captivating aromas of citrus blossoms, starfruit and honeydew melon sing with just a hint of almond to captivate the senses. The complex palate of classic yellow peach, apricot and poached pear with accents of lemon oil and hazelnuts unfold on the palate and carry through the expansive finish.
2016 was another year of drought throughout California. Fortunately, Fort Ross Vineyard was not affected as the early December rainfall was sufficient to fill our irrigation ponds to capacity and even allowed us to have water at the end harvest. The ideal moderate weather on the coast leading up to harvest was free of heatwaves and rain, allowing the grapes to mature slowly and evenly to reach their optimal development. The Pinot Noir was unhurriedly harvested between September 3 — 20, one of the many advantages of growing grapes overlooking the cool Pacific Ocean. Chardonnay was picked September 17 — 26 and finally the slower ripening Pinotage on September 23 — 28. Our new block of Chardonnay, just off Meyers Grade Road had its first harvest in 2016 and the fruit is showing great promise. The lasting memory of the harvest is a vision of perfect bunches of grapes, with no side wings to delay the ripening, even berry size and a balanced crop hanging on the vines. These wines are vibrant and aromatic with excellent acidity.
The grapes were handpicked during the cool hours of the night in small two-gallon picking trays then
hand sorted in the vineyard and gently whole cluster pressed at the winery. After pressing, the juice was put into barrels and underwent primary and malolactic fermentation in a combination of 30% new and 70% neutral French oak. This discrete use of new oak allowed the fruit to shine. This wine is comprised of small berried old Hyde field selection chosen for its richness and sleek structure and low-yielding Wente for its luscious fruit and grace. These heritage field selections have full, complex flavors that are intensified by the small size of both the bunches and the berries.
SELECTIONS: Old Hyde & Wente field selections