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Tasting Along the Pinot Road

In early May 2016 I visited and tasted at wineries in the Russian River Valley. Here are my impressions at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery and Hartford Family Winery.

I have long felt that a winery’s wines can reflect the personality of the winemaker. In a newly published book that is reviewed in this issue, California Celebrity Vineyards written by Nick Wise and Linda Sunshine, the authors expressed my feelings as well. They noted, “During the course of our research, we made an unexpected and odd observation: wine frequently tastes like the winemaker in somewhat the same way that dogs tend to resemble their owners. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that wine seems to display characteristics similar to the person who made it.”

The wines of winemaker Theresa Heredia of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery for example, are refined and elegant in style, maybe a bit feminine, yet her spirited and fiery side comes through in the edgy and avant garde demeanor of the wines that are far from dainty. The wines of Hartford Family Winery, crafted beautifully by winemaker Jeff Stewart, are another story. Jeff is a mountain of a man with a beard and hardy laugh, and his Pinot Noirs are more full-bodied, more extracted and masculine, yet they have a refinement and approach ability that reflects the friendly side of his personality.



Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery, Healdsburg

Winemaker Gary Farrell was the original winemaker for Rochioli and Davis Bynum, and worked with iconic Russian River Valley vintners such as Joe Rochioli, Tom Dehlinger and Robert Stemmler. His winemaking career began in the mid 1970s and he made his first wine under the Gary Farrell label in 1982. Along with investor Bill Hambrecht, he built an architecturally stunning winery on Westside Road that was sold in 2004 to Allied Domecq and subsequently acquired by the current owners, The Vincraft Group. Farrell left his eponymous winery in 2006, started a new label, Alysian, and left the wine business after the 2012 vintage.

The stellar reputation of the wines has continued due to the talents of current winemaker Theresa Heredia. She has fostered Gary Farrell’s legacy of vinifying small lots of varietally expressive and regionally distinctive Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, primarily from highly regarded vineyard sources in the Russian River Valley that the winery has sourced for many years. Theresa has maintained the Farrell style that is quite singular among the wineries along Westside Road in that the grapes tend to be harvested earlier, the resulting alcohols are slightly lower and acidities notably higher, bringing a freshness and vibrancy to the wines. In addition, she has put her own subtle stamp on the wines and the results are spectacular. The 2014 vintage wines reviewed here represent her third harvest at Gary Farrell and are the ones she is most proud of to date. I will also be reviewing these wines in my usual fashion over the next several months as they are released and my reviews will appear in subsequent issues of the PinotFile.



Chardonnay grapes are sourced from fifteen vineyards and Pinot Noir grapes from twenty-one vineyards. The Russian River Valley vineyards are pictured on the map below.



Tastings are available on the terrace overlooking the Russian River Valley by appointment only on weekends and highly recommended on weekdays to guarantee seating. Visit www.garyfarrellwinery.com.

Theresa is infatuated with the wines from the 2014 vintage. The growing season was moderate with no heat spikes and harvest was condensed beginning August 10 and finishing September 17. Although harvest started early, the grapes did not ripen prematurely and overall hang time was close to normal. The continuing drought led to smaller yields, smaller berries, and tremendous concentration of flavors. The grapes were picked early for freshness and energy and the resulting wines have inviting balance, structure, concentration, and most are well below 14.0% alcohol with alluring aromatics.

The Chardonnay grapes were picked at 21.5º-23.0º Brix and no acid additions were required. The grapes were whole cluster pressed using a gentle press program tailored specifically to each vineyard. The juice was chilled and settled before inoculating with Montrachet yeast. The wine was then transferred to French oak barrels (about 40% new) from several tonnelleries with some primary lees. The wines were aged for 8 months.

As for the Pinot Noirs, each wine was made slightly differently but most had a small portion of whole cluster inclusion. Theresa is an advocate of whole cluster additions, but in the Russian River Valley, the fruit generally ripens before the stems preventing the routine use of significant whole cluster inclusion. A 5 to 7-day cold soak and fermentation is carried out in small, open-top tanks, followed by post-fermentation extended maceration, and aging 8-16 months on the primary lees in about 40% new French oak barrels (light and medium toasted barrels from several French tonnelleries). The wines are racked once off the primary lees just before bottling.

Tech sheets were not available at the time of tasting for all wines and this is noted. Two released Chardonnays and three released Pinot Noirs were also later tasted at home in my usual fashion and are indicated by **.

2014 Gary Farrell Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay**

14.1% alc., pH 3.29, TA 0.68, 400 cases, $50. Released May 2016. Sourced in part from the historic Paris Tasting Block at Goddard Ranch (old Wente clone). Aged 8 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Aromas of lemon curd, spice, steel and petrol lead off. Soft and pleasingly smooth on the palate, with a luscious core of lemon, pineapple, peach, butterscotch and toast that won’t let go on the finish that is blessed with a cleansing cut of clean acidity. Score: 94

2014 Gary Farrell Olivet Lane Russian River Valley Chardonnay

960 cases, $45. Wente selection. · Light gold color in the glass. The nose leads with aromas of lemon syrup, nuts and toasty oak. Pleasing but not overly exciting on the palate, with flavors of citrus and apple. Score: 89-90

2014 Gary Farrell Rochioli Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay**

13.6% alc., pH 3.25, TA 0.74, 470 cases, $60. Released May 2016. Majority of blend is from River Block clone 5 planted in 1989 with the balance from the Mid-40s Block, a field selection planted in 1993, and Allen Block 1, clone 15 planted in 1995. Aged 8 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Highreaching aromas of lemon, sea spray, honeysuckle, vanillin and sensuous oak that pick up brightness over time in the glass. Juicy and crisp in the mouth, with a complex array of nuanced and courtly flavors including lemon, peach, honey, graham and toast. The vibrancy is impressive, but it is the length of finish that separates this wine from the commendatory. Score: 94

2014 Gary Farrell Rochioli-Allen Russian River Valley Chardonnay

585 cases, $60. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of citrus, herbs and underbrush. Very smooth on the palate, with an earthiness and acid-driven minerality evident that underlies the savory citrus and pear flavors. Score: 91-92

2014 Gary Farrell Cuvée d’Oeuf Russian River Valley Chardonnay

95 cases, $55. Concrete egg fermented. · The wine has a steely and terra-cotta tone with aromas and flavors of lemon, apple and cookie dough. Slightly creamy in texture with subtle tannins and some finishing persistence. Score: 90-91

2014 Gary Farrell Ritchie Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

255 cases, $60. Sourced from younger plantings of Wente clone. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Flinty reduction on the nose as well as a hint of reduction on the palate. Soft in the mouth, with a citrus-driven character augmented by a chalky sense. Oak plays a minor role, and the lively acidity brings noticeable life to the wine. Score: 91-92

2014 Gary Farrell Durell Vineyard Sonoma Valley Chardonnay

345 cases, $60. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. More oak overlay is evident in this wine which offers a flavor profile of baked apple, pear, caramel, tropical fruits and a stony minerality. Quite concentrated, with a slight viscous texture, and a juicy finish. Score: 90-91

2015 Gary Farrell Russian River Valley Selection Rosé of Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., pH 3.20, TA 0.72, 200 cases, $28 (sold out). Released May 2016. Sourced from Wat Vineyard-Dutton Ranch. Harvest Brix 21.3º. 50% clone 37 (Mt. Eden) and 50% clone “828.” 70% stainless steel fermented and 30% fermented in neutral French oak barrels for two weeks. Entire blend in stainless steel for 4 months. · Light coral color in the glass. Striking strawberry aroma with an added note of blood orange. Lighter in style, but very flavorful, offering tastes that echo the nose, a soft mouthfeel and a refreshing grip of acidity on the finish. Score: 89-90

2014 Gary Farrell Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir**

13.3% alc., pH 3.34, TA 0.66, 485 cases, $65. Released May 2016. Sourced from the legendary Q Block planted to a Pommard selection. Aged 16 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. Delicate yet pleasing aromas of cherry, raspberry, bay leaf, rose petal and wood lead to a light to medium weighted wine with flavors of red cherry, strawberry and raspberry with added notes of spice and oak. Elegant and suave, lacy and transparent, with gentle tannins, a soft texture and a juicy finish with good grip and cherry drive. Score: 92

2014 Gary Farrell Rochioli Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

400 cases, $75. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Spectacular nose filled with soaring aromas of Bing cherry, spice and rose petal. A bombastically flavored yet elegant wine, offering a chewy and sappy core of cherry fruit complimented by a deft touch of oak. The gossamer tannins make the wine easy to cozy up to, and the finish is blessed by angels. Score: 94-95

2014 Gary Farrell Fort Ross Vineyard Fort Ross-Seaview Pinot Noir

530 cases, $70. Calera and 777 clones. 50% whole cluster fermented. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Lovely nose replete with scents of cherry, spice and rose petal. It’s love at first sip with this ripe and succulent middleweight styled wine with flavors of blueberry and plum and a subtle savory thread. More tannin in this wine as you would expect from the whole cluster inclusion, but the tannin is harmoniously supportive. Score: 93-94

2014 Gary Farrell Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Clones are “828” and 667. 855 cases, $75. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Deep aromas of cherry and spice lead to a discreetly concentrated core of blueberry, pomegranate, cherry and Damsel plum flavors. A more fruit-driven wine supported by crafty tannins and finishing with some power. Score: 90-91

2014 Gary Farrell Hallberg Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

1,350 cases, $55. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Darker berry aromas are overlaid with noticeable oak. On the mid weight palate, the dark red and purple berry fruits shine, accented with dried straw and herb notes, finishing with an uplifting charge of fruit. Score: 91-92

2014 Gary Farrell Hallberg Vineyard Dijon Clones Russian River Valley Pinot Noir**

13.9% alc., pH 3.35, TA 0.68, 937 cases, $60. Released May 2016. Clones 667 and 777. Aged 10 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Deeply aromatic with soaring aromas of black cherry, pomegranate and sandalwood. Intense on the attack, expansive on the mid palate, and generous on the finish in a mid weighted style that features flavors of black cherry and blackberry with a thread of oak in the background. Juicy, vibrant and velveteen in texture with more lift and energy in this vintage. The finish is notable for its expressive cherry theme and length. Score: 93

2014 Gary Farrell Toboni Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir**

14.3% alc., pH 3.39, TA 0.65, 907 cases, $55. Released May 2016. Sourced from clones 115, 667, 777 and Pommard planted in 2001. Aged 8 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. This wine packs more concentration than the color would indicate. I loved the aromatics, showing elevating scents of fresh Bing cherry, cola and potpourri. Richly endowed with flavors of dark cherry and black raspberry with a hint of baking spices, in a very friendly mid weight plus style that is beautifully composed and finishes with a memorable infusion of cleansing acidity and fruit. Way too easy to drink. Score: 94

2014 Gary Farrell McDonald Mountain Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

435 cases, $65. Pommard clone and suitcase selections. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas really come at you with driving cherry and spice notes. A little tight at this stage, but showing some appealingly juicy cherry fruit highlighted by a savory thread. Well-structured, with a fruit-driven, refreshing finish. Score: 90-91

2014 Gary Farrell Martaella Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

490 cases, $65. A mix of clones with some whole cluster ferment. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Engaging aromas of cherry, black raspberry, Asian 5-spice and pine sap are reflected in the flavors. Fuller-bodied and sappy, with a velvety mouthfeel, and some lingering and slightly astringent tannins on the finish. Score: 92-93

2014 Gary Farrell Love in the Time of Calera Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

70 cases, $70. A Black Label offering indicating this is a special bottling from the winemaker who loves Calera clone. This wine combines Calera clones from two vineyards: Fort Ross and Martaella. Some wine was vinified with 50% whole cluster in an oak tank and some was vinified with 30% whole cluster in stainless. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Amazingly intoxicating nose featuring dark cherry, rose petal and spice aromas. Intensely flavored, yet suave, graceful and caressing on the palate with well-matched angular tannins and a very long amorous finish. This wine is like finding true love: indescribable but exhilarating. Score: 96-98



Hartford Family Winery

Jeff Stewart, the winemaker at Hartford Family Winery, is a graduate of University of California at Davis with a degree in Fermentation Science. He has been crafting Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Zinfandel in Sonoma County for over twenty-five years including winemaking positions at Laurier, De Loach, Mark West, Kunde, La Crema and Buena Vista Carneros. His earliest experience was as an assistant to Merry Edwards in 1989 when Hartford Family Winery in Forestville was known as Laurier Winery. His career has led him full circle, returning in 2011 to the winery that the Jackson Family bought out of bankruptcy in 1992. Don Hartford and spouse Jenny, Jess Jackson’s daughter, are the owners of Hartford Family Winery and Jeff functions as both winemaker and general manager.

In the 2013 vintage, Jeff crafted a dozen Pinot Noirs sourced from both estate and grower vineyards in the North Coast as well as seven Chardonnays, all under the Hartford Court label. The majority of the wines are vineyard designates. A 2014 Pinot Noir from one of the Jackson Family’s portfolio of vineyards, Zena’s Crown in the Williamette Valley, will be added to the lineup and released in the fall 2016. This tasting was focused on Pinot Noir, but the Chardonnays are equally impressive.

Jeff described the 2013 vintage as warm, producing concentrated wines. The Pinot Noirs were vinified with native yeasts, aged in 30% to 42% new French oak barrels, and usually bottled unfined and unfiltered. Whole cluster is kept to a minimum as Jeff feels that whole cluster fermentation brings the wines together creating a commonality that can cause a sense of loss of place. Grapes were picked on the riper side, resulting in alcohols in the 14.2% to 15.2% range except for the Marin County bottling.



I found the 2013 Hartford Court Pinot Noirs to be full-bodied and structured yet balanced, generally dark fruited due to later harvests, with some modest oak presence. Overall, the wines were a bit tight and will benefit from decanting or another year or two in bottle.

Hartford Court Pinot Noir can be tasted at two venues: the original tasting room at the winery that is open daily in Forestville at 8075 Martinelli Road, and downtown Healdsburg also open daily at 331 Healdsburg Avenue. The wines are offered through a wine club and the website at www.hartfordwines.com.

2015 Hartford Court Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Rosé

14.1% alc., pH 3.2, 331 cases, $30. Released March 2016. Estate grapes (primarily Fog Dance Vineyard) harvested at 22.8º Brix, whole cluster pressed, tank fermented with 20% of wine finished in neutral oak barrels. · Very light pinkish orange in the glass. Aromas of strawberry and pink grapefruit with flavors echoing the nose with added notes of blood orange and orange peel. Bright with a dry finish. Jeff says, “Everybody wants it,” and I understand why. Score: 90

2014 Hartford Court Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 5,500 cases, $38. Released May 2016. A blend of all single vineyard estate properties in the Russian River Valley and five grower vineyards. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 33% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Bright aromas of Bing cherry lead to a mid weight plus styled wine that is lusciously endowed with ripe black cherry fruit flavor. Fruit driven and balanced, but not complex. Score: 89

2014 Hartford Court Land’s Edge Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.55, 2,050 cases, $50. Released January 2016. Sourced from Far Coast and Seascape vineyards located within four miles of the Pacific Ocean. Uninoculated. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 32% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Very expressive and easy going, with aromas and flavors of cherry and boysenberry. Juicy, with polished tannins and soothing harmony. Score: 91

2013 Hartford Court Marin County Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 264 cases, pH 3.71, TA 0.55, $63. Released January 2016. Sourced from two grower vineyards, primarily Corda Vineyard. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 31% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose leads with attractive scents of dark berries, black cherry, Asian 5-spice and a touch of smoke. Very satisfying, with dusty tannins, a savory thread and a finish offering generous plum and blackberry aromatic goodness. Score: 91

2013 Hartford Court Seascape Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 360 cases, $70. Released January 2016. Grapes are from a 26-acre estate vineyard planted to clones 114, 777 and 115. It is located on a panoramic ridge top west of the town of Occidental facing Bodega Bay and the Pacific Ocean, bordering Coastlands Vineyard. Very cold with harvest delayed in some years to November. Yields 2 tons per acre. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 38% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Oak-dusted dark red cherry and berry fruits are featured with complimentary notes of herbs and oakdriven vanillin, toast and nuts. Smoothly texture and juicy with fine-grain tannins and a determined finish. Score: 92

2013 Hartford Court Sevens Bench Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.62, 192 cases, $65. Released January 2016. This high-density vineyard was replanted in 2004-2005 by Jeff Stewart. The vineyard is on eroded and rocky soils. The name of the vineyard derives from the clones planted: Dijon 777 and UCD 37 (Mt. Eden). Native yeast fermentation. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 21% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Redder fruits are featured on the nose and palate with an earthy, grilled mushroom undertone. Modest in weight with balanced tannins and a sweet cherry finish that offers some length. This wine aims to please now. Score: 92

2013 Hartford Court Hailey’s Block Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.48, TA 0.63, 192 cases, $65. Released January 2016. A block within the Arrendell Vineyard, named after Don and Jennifer Hartford’s daughter. Clones 114, 667, 777 and Pommard planted in 1996. Native yeast fermentation. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 28% new. Bottled Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is very special, offering hi-tone aromas of an array of purple fruits and spice. A little tight, but hinting at greatness, with an attack of purple and black fruits that attracts attention, continuing through a very generous finish. A sumptuous accent of spice and savory herbs adds nuance. Very seductive, with a silky smooth mouthfeel. Score: 94

2013 Hartford Court Fog Dance Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.59, 408 cases, $63. Released January 2016. Clones 667 and 777. Aged 17 months in French oak barrels, 37% new. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple hue in the glass. Thiol-driven aromas of dark red and black fruits with a modest oak overlay. Impressive mid palate presence with a luscious finish featuring dark red and black fruits framed by firm but not muscular tannins. Score: 92

2013 Hartford Court Muldune Trail Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 240 cases, $65. Released January 2016. This vineyard is located on a 1,600-foot ridge on the road to Ukiah and was planted about ten years ago. Cold nights and very rocky soils. Clones 115 and 777. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 31% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. A highly concentrated wine replete with sappy blackberry and black currant flavors accented with an iron-toned minerality. Angular tannins support the fruit load nicely. Score: 91

2013 Hartford Court Velvet Sisters Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.64, 480 cases, $65. Released January 2016. Sourced from a block within an estate vineyard located at the northern “deep end” of Anderson Valley planted to Dijon 115, 667 and 777, and Pommard clones. Uninoculated. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 37% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. A complex wine of great interest, with aromas of cherry, berry, spice box and nutty oak, and a mid weight plus core of well-spiced red fruits. A seductive offering with a silky mouthfeel. Score: 93

2013 Hartford Court Jennifer’s Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.57, 293 cases, $70. Released January 2016. Sourced from grower vineyards south of Sebastopol in the Petaluma Wind Gap. A very cool site that is windy and foggy, ripening late in the season. Grapes are thick skinned and high in acidity. Clone 23. Native yeast fermentation. Aged 17 months in French oak barrels, 39% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Embracing aromas of black cherry and dark chocolate lead to a full-bodied wine balanced with muscular tannins and bright acidity. Flavors of anise and dried herbs augment the black cherry core. This wine will certainly improve with more time in bottle and prove to have age ability, but it is hard to resist now. Score: 93

2013 Hartford Court MacLean’s Block Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.58, 336 cases, $65. Released January 2016. Sourced from an estate vineyard east of the town of Occidental. Some whole cluster. Native yeast fermentation. Aged 17 months in French oak barrels, 36% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Assertive ripe black fruit aromas with added scents of pine and earthy flora. Bold, long and intense, with firm but harmonious tannins. Balance predicts age ability. Score: 91

2013 Hartford Court Far Coast Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 408 cases, $70. Released January 2016. Sourced from a vineyard located on a ridge at 900 to 1200 feet elevation north of Fort Ross on the Sonoma Coast. Clones 667, 777 and Pommard. Some Pommard fermented whole cluster. Aged 17 months in French oak barrels, 44% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of peat and mulch with shy fruits on the nose. The hedonistic fruit in this well endowed wine is more expressive on the palate, offering waves of boysenberry and blackberry flavors accented with spice, dark chocolate and beef. Still somewhat primary, and almost overwhelming in intensity, with an overlay of oak and youthful tannins that need more time to integrate. Score: 92

2013 Hartford Court Arrendell Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

15.2% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.62, 288 cases, $100. Released January 2016. The crown jewel in the Hartford Court lineup from a vineyard planted in 1975 to Martini clone. Wood from this vineyard has been sent to UCD to get a virus-free field selection version. The vineyard struggles to ripen less than one ton per acre by Halloween in most years. It is one of the coldest sites in the Russian River Valley and has been called the “snowshoe vineyard” because in wet years, workers need to wear snowshoes to get through the muddy rows of vines. Native yeast fermentation. Aged 17 months in French oak barrels, 44% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is flat out gorgeous filled with promising aromas of boysenberry and blackberry preserves with a wild, organic tone. Power to thrill, with a spellbinding core of dark fruits that envelope the palate and linger on the prodigious finish. Despite the fruit heft, the wine is welcoming with refined tannins, juicy acidity and a silky demeanor. A highly unique wine of uncommon provenance. Score: 96

2013 Hartford Court Stone Côte Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 594 cases, $60. Released January 2016. This wine is crafted from Old Wente and UCD clones planted in a block within the Durell Vineyard. The site is an ancient uplifted river bed. Native yeast fermentation. Barrel fermented and aged in 100% French oak barrels, 34% new and 38% one-year-old. Bottled unfined and unfiltered after 15 months of barrel age. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Slightly reductive nose offers aromas of baked apple, pear, peach, toasted brioche and nutty oak. Slightly creamy in the mouth, with plump flavors of yellow peach and pear, ending with a swath of acidity. Score: 92

2013 Hartford Court Seascape Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 346 cases, $65. Released January 2016. A Spring Mountain chardonnay selection. A cold and windy site in the direct path of the Petaluma Wind Gap. Native yeast fermentation, barrel fermented (very slow fermentation and malolactic fermentation). Aged 15 months in 100% French oak barrels, 47% new, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Darker golden color in the glass. Great scents of apple skin, moss, and citrus. Delicious flavors of lemon-lime and peach framed by bright acidity, expansive on the viscous palate, building in intensity through a glorious finish. The finish is uncommonly persistent for a Chardonnay. Score: 94



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