When I began to experiment with our Alexander Valley Chardonnay, I was accustomed to working with Russian River Valley fruit. So, I was not prepared for how much I would like this wine. Barrel fermented with special, temperamental yeast, full malolactic fermentation, and bottled without fining, cold stabilization, or filtration, this 215 case experiment exhibits great richness and complexity without going over the top. After many separate assessments, I can report that the flavors remain on the palate a full minute after swallowing. As this is our first experience with Chardonnay from our vineyard, I have no idea how long it will age. In our home, it won’t have much of a chance…to age for very long.
This is an uncommon Alexander Valley Chardonnay. Those of you who tasted a barrel sample of this wine last spring will find that over the last year it has developed more butterscotch, vanilla, and hazelnut notes in addition to its perfumed apple fruit. I think it is best served just a few degrees below cellar temperature (~50 F), then allowed to expand while warming to room temperature.