Wine Talk

Snooth User: John Andrews

Sonoma Chardonnays

Posted by John Andrews, Dec 16, 2009.

Moving off a previous topic, I'm starting a new one that is about favourite Sonoma Chardonnays. I will kick things off with my favourites in a few different price ranges:

Under $20 range

- La Crema Monterey Chardonnay - newer wine for them but nice after a bit of time in the bottle. Not a lot of time but a couple of months:
http://www.snooth.com/wine/la-crema...

$20 to $30 range

- Loxton Hawk Hill Chardonnay - shameless self promotion. This is from the winery I work at but it is one of my favourite chardys.

- La Crema Russian River Chardonnay - one of the La Crema appellation series
http://www.snooth.com/wine/la-crema...

$30 to $40 range

- Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay - this is the entry wine but I like it:
http://www.snooth.com/wine/flowers-...

Over $40

- Hartford Court Seascape Chardonnay - some higher end pricey stuff, sometimes worth it
http://www.snooth.com/wine/hartford...

I have others but I will let others jump in.

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Replies

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Dec 16, 2009.

One of the very few CA chards I don't spit out is Sonoma Cutrer Les Pierres. It's minerally (duh!) and austere, a la Burg, which is assuredly why I dig it.

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Reply by John Andrews, Dec 16, 2009.

Oh yeah ... good one. Sonoma Cutrer is on my list too.

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Reply by John Andrews, Dec 16, 2009.

I should add Rochioli Chardonnay too ... they have a number of single vineyard Chards but I can only get the estate right now. It would be in the $30 to $40 range:

http://www.snooth.com/wine/j-rochio...

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Reply by chadrich, Dec 16, 2009.

I've always been a fan of the Chardonnays in Iron Horse's line. I believe there are 5, ranging from $25 to $50. I'm partial to the Native Yeast and Unoaked.

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 10, 2010.

Time to bump this and see if anyone has any new input. I don't have time at the moment, but will weigh in myself later...

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Apr 12, 2010.

I've got a few lined up to try but nothing newly tasted to share.

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Reply by John Andrews, Apr 14, 2010.

Same here ... but there should be a bunch of new releases happening soon so expect a bunch from me soon.

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Reply by chadrich, Apr 14, 2010.

I'll add Peay to this list.  Very small production and priced around $45 from the Sonoma Coast (Annapolis-think nearly Mendocino).  Great family owned and run company making fantastic low production wines (and no, they're not paying me).

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Reply by John Andrews, Apr 14, 2010.

@Chadrich ... Yes, I can vouch for Peay too.  Vanessa Wong is a great wine maker and does some great things with Syrah and Pinot too. 

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Reply by outthere, Apr 14, 2010.

Under $20 - Bonterra - Fetzer's organic label

Under $40 - Martinelli - Martinelli Road or Charles Ranch Vineyard

Over $40- Kistler - Any vineyard

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Reply by outthere, Apr 14, 2010.

OK, Fetzer is in Hopland, Mendocino County not Sonoma. My bad.

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 14, 2010.

So what are your thoughts on the chards by  Hirsch, Rivers Marie, Aubert, Rochioli and Walter Hansell? Might as well throw Marcassin in there, too... ;-)

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 14, 2010.

And Peay, Ceritas, Salinia, Wind Gap, Arnot-Roberts and Natural Process Alliance?

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Reply by outthere, Apr 14, 2010.

Funny you mention Walter Hansel. I used to work for Hansel Enterprises and my first taste of Walter Hansel wine was at a Hansel company Christmas party back in 1995 at the long gone El Rancho Tropicana Resort in Santa Rosa. Let's just say it's come a long way. One of his son's is the wine maker now. Steve has done a god job so far.

Rochioli rocks as does Hirsch who both have a fairly decent pinot Noir ;-) So does Rivers Marie for that matter. I have only tasted their Chard once. I didn't think about them because they are a Calistoga winery though most of their grapes come from Sonoma county.

I left out Chalk Hill which kind of became a daily drinker for us when the winery owner buddied up with my best friend for a year or two. Seemed like everywhere we looked there was a bottle of CH Chard or Merlot. That was a fun and weird time in my life.

While I'm drifting off toward Pinot, I got to try a great new Pinot the other day. EnRoute from the Nickel family (Far Niente). Wow, was it good.

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Reply by outthere, Apr 14, 2010.

"And Peay, Ceritas, Salinia, Wind Gap, Arnot-Roberts and Natural Process Alliance?"

 

Whoa, slow down there big guy. My white wine list is short because I am not a big white wine person though it has its' place. Of all those just listed I have tried the Wind Gap since Pax makes his wine just down the road from me. He is an awesome winemaker and I am a huge fan of his Syrahs. The other whites are not in my cellar.

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 14, 2010.

No, not the largest producers ;-) , and in many cases in those last two of my posts I only encountered their chards after chasing down their reds (been on a mission over the past year, which is still ongoing, to find good Sonoma Coast or other pinot noir...).

I do like whites, a lot, so I segued off the reds (which I also like a lot), which in many cases were more than 'fairly decent' ;-) , and found the chards all refreshingly interesting. The Hansel maybe the least of the two lists, but I had a decent bottle at restaurant last week and had an online offer in my mailbox this morning, so asked what you thought. I do also like the Martinelli and Kistler you mentioned, though I haven't had that Fetzer brand (and several Sonoma Coast wines I've been tasting are from up near Mendocino, anyway, so what's an arbitrary county border; that one is worth less than the one with Napa, IMHO). Chadrich mentioned the Peay above, and Honda the Rochioli, already. I've also enjoyed some of the La Crema and Flowers labels he mentions in differing contexts, and even a Williams Selyem or two. As you can tell, depending on my mood, the food, the weather, whatever, I do like a variety of styles.

I live offshore (Tokyo) at present, so its a bit of a trick to keep up with what's happening on the ground in Sonoma. But the wine in the past few years there has made me fall in love with the place again, and I find it currently more interesting than Napa, though they're both entirely different animals.

Would be interested to hear more about the wines you're drinking and like, etc.

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Reply by outthere, Apr 14, 2010.

Tonight? 2001 Turley Old Vines Zin, day 2. I think it's past its' prime but even at that it's better than most.

To be honest I like big wines. Petite Sirahs like Robert Foley, Turley (I love the Hayne and Library), Switchback Ridge and Pride Mountain. Zins like Turley, Carlisle, Seghesio, William Selyem, Outpost, Ridge and Martinelli. Syrahs like Pax, Wind Gap, Copain, Donelan and GSM's/Rhones.

Then I break off on Pinots: Merry Edwards, William Selyem, Gracianna, Graton Ridge, Siduri, Rochioli, Arista...

There is so much going on right here in my backyard that I don't have to look far for a great wine. Therefor I haven't for the most part. I have a few Rhones in my cellar like Beaucastle, Patrick Jasmine, Vieille Julienne, Tardieu Laurent, even a Tuscany Brancaia Tre and a nice DeLille Doyenne but most is local wineries. 

I'm just starting to build some Cabs in inventory but Napa wines and Bordeaux's are so pricey it will be a while before I have much of anything.

Daily drinkers are usually Seghesio or Cline Zins or the Cline GSM Cashmere which are all a good QPR but this week I indulge. 

Tokyo eh? I don't think I could ever move away from West Sonoma County.

 

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 15, 2010.

Which part? Have spent some time in Santa Rosa, and from Sebastopol to Jenner and points north, and even spent a winter or two in the trees listening to too much Enya and like, back in the '80s. Decided it was time to vacate to more sunny, exotic climes, though... ;-)

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Reply by napagirl68, Apr 15, 2010.

Love Russian River chards.. guess that is slightly considered Sonoma!!

but first, I want to list one I love.. it is Carneros.. I know, on the border, but still... 

Mi Sueno 2007 Los Carneros Chardonnay.  Love this wine.   https://checkout.inertiabev.com/misueno/catalog/view_product.jsp?product_id=1061&cat_id=1

also love Selby Chardonnay (russian river): http://www.selbywinery.com/vintages-current/08-chardonnay.html

Other fav's from past.. not sure of exact vintages are Hop kiln and Sausal.

I also love Matanzas Creek... have not had the chard recently (2yrs), but drank a sauv blanc last night that was AMAZING..

Cheers!

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Reply by outthere, Apr 15, 2010.

Forestville, no Enya or tie dye though. Maybe some George Strait. Out of the trees because I'm not hiding from anyone.

Were you here for the '86 flood? That was enough to drive many away.

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