Helfer Vineyard, 2009

$ 62.00

The Helfer Vineyard is located in the Vine Hill area of the Russian River Valley. The vineyard’s densely planted vines require hand cultivation and yield more concentrated fruit than can be achieved by traditional California vine spacing. We bottle this Chardonnay without fining or filtration to preserve its finer qualities.

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Winemaker's Notes

This is our twelfth vintage of working with this tiny vineyard in the Russian River Valley. I generally try a small bit of experimentation here and there with some of our wine lots. It seemed time to take a fresh look at how we approach this property. In 2009 I was persuaded by Tom Klassen, who worked with us during part of the previous two harvests, to try something new with this wine: foregoing the usual inoculation with my traditional yeast culture in favor of encouraging indigenous yeasts to successively take turns with the fermentation over a very long period of time. The resulting wine has a somewhat rounder, sweeter feel to it, reminiscent of the fresh Chardonnay fruit flavors. It finishes with ample acidity (of course) and is a nice twist on an old friend.






Cases Produced

Release Date


  1. Judi Scherrer

    Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine CellarMay 2012

    Bright yellow-gold. Intense, spice-accented aromas of tangerine, poached pear and licorice, with a subtle iodine quality gaining strength with air. Palate-staining, focused orchard fruit flavors are braced by tangy acidity, which adds back-end cut and lift. Finishes dusty and precise, with resonating mineral and floral notes and impressive persistence. 91 points. Josh Raynolds

  2. Judi Scherrer

    Executive Wine Seminars July 2012

    Blind tasting of 14 of “California’s Finest Chardonnays”: Light straw with a yellow tinge. Absolutely beautiful tropical fruit nose draws everyone’s interest. It’s rich, complex, and open for business. Follows through nicely on the palate with a sweet core of fruit that says “classic California Chardonnay.” We also love the youthful wine #10’s texture and mouth feel; it’s a wine of real substance and depth, yet always remains in perfect balance. Very long, consistent finish, but even here we detect a bit too much alcohol. It doesn’t prevent us from loving this wine. The guesses are “Paul Hobbs” and “Peter Michael.” Now that Mike Havens has stopped making wine, Scherrer gets our vote as America’s most underrated winery. This wine drove home the point! 95 rating, 27 points (5/5/2) Howard Kaplan

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