2019 Lower Slope Chardonnay
92 pts James Suckling
On the lower slope of Bell Mountain, on the Russian River side of our property, lies one small block of Chardonnay. It is on a rolling benchland that benefits from cooler nighttime temperatures and lingering morning fog. We harvested our Chardonnay in four different lots, each ripening over a period of three weeks with varying levels of ripeness. This provides us fruit that is both crisp and ripe with a broad array from the Chardonnay spectrum of flavor, ranging from tropical to orchard to citrus. Our two favorite lots are blended to form the foundation of our Small Lot Collection Lower Slope Chardonnay – our nod to a white Burgundy defined by crisp acidity and minerality but informed by what California can do.
The 2019 Lower Slope Chardonnay is an aromatic chardonnay with a rich essence of ripe pear, stewed apricot, toasted cardamon, honeycomb and brioche. A powerful, velvety palate with great length is filled with baked spices, red apple, lemon and a deep underlying acidity.
2019 offered nearly ideal growing conditions: a warm spring with some later rainfall set us up for good early season growth which was followed by a moderately warm and summer that lasted well into October without any severe temperatures of untimely rainfall. These conditions allowed for a classic vintage.