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.
94 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
The 2019 Chardonnay Mother Of Pearl is a smaller selection from the Fort Ross Vineyard, which is located in the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA, a smaller appellation on the northern Sonoma Coast. It’s certainly the richest of the Chardonnays from this estate, yet it stays firmly planted in the fresher, more elegant, mineral-laced style of the estate. Beautiful stone fruits, white flowers, toasted brioche, and subtle background oak all give way to a medium-bodied, vibrant, incredibly pure Chardonnay with a good spine of acidity and outstanding length. It’s already drinking nicely, yet I have no doubt this is another impressive Chardonnay from this estate that will evolve for a good 8-10 years.
The slight haze in the golden hue is evidence of subtle stirring of the lees and bottling without fining or filtration. Unctuous aromas of orange blossom, Meyer lemon and glazed apricot immediately captivate.The rich, powerful palate is layered with juicy summer peach, pineapple and baked apple ending with hints of lemon zest and toasted hazelnut. Bright acidity and refined minerality weaves throughout the long, textured finish.
2019 was a very curious year. Early in the season the vineyard received a light sprinkling of snow, followed by some frost - which is most surprising at the altitude of the vineyard [1,200 ft – 1,700 ft]; and our location, less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean. For the last 20 years of viticulture, we have had no need for frost protection.We waited to see what kind of crop would develop and are pleased to announce that buds popped out and we even needed to drop a significant amount of fruit. Later in the season we had a brief heat wave reaching over 100 degrees! As we pick at night, we still have cool grapes to start winemaking. Then just as harvest was ending,we experienced howling 60 mile an hour winds that even blew open locked doors.The 2019 modest crop has produced wines with a luscious mouthfeel, an elegant, restrained acid profile and a satisfying balance. Pinot Noir was unhurriedly harvested between September 16–October 7, Chardonnay was picked September 19–October 7, and finally the slower ripening Pinotage on October 8th.
Bottled Unfined & Unfiltered, Clones: Wente & Hyde Field Selections
Mother of Pearl, with its captivating, lustrous iridescent facets, inspired the naming of this Chardonnay made from grapes grown on the highest Fort RossVineyard Chardonnay blocks. These 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 25% new and 75% neutral French oak.This wine is comprised of small berried old Hyde field selection chosen for its richness with a sleek structure and small berried old 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.
230 cases produced