• WS: 93

    Wine Spectator Score

    93

    Close

Pahlmeyer Sonoma Coast Oakville Chardonnay 2008

Winemaker's Notes:

[95 pts Robert Parker] The 2008 Chardonnay reveals a greenish hue to its medium straw color as well as a super-intense nose of mandarin oranges quince white peaches and hints of brioche and earth. Full-bodied with good underlying minerality this crisp elegant fresh white wine is another superb effort from a winery that has a Midas touch with Chardonnay.

  • + My Wines

    My Wines

    Save in My Wines

    Add to Wishlist

    My Cellar

  • + List It
  • + Critic Score

    Submit a Critic Score

    Score:

    Name of Critic:

    Close
3.81 5 0.5
Average Rating Rate It Add
Pahlmeyer:
1972...a year for new thought and tradition-reversing headlines, world-wide: the Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional. Nixon opened relations with Communist China by sitting down for a chat with Mao Zedong. George McGovern, presidential hopeful, upset time-honored conservative notions by abandoning shirt and tie in favor of a white turtleneck. That same year, while finishi... Read more
1972...a year for new thought and tradition-reversing headlines, world-wide: the Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional. Nixon opened relations with Communist China by sitting down for a chat with Mao Zedong. George McGovern, presidential hopeful, upset time-honored conservative notions by abandoning shirt and tie in favor of a white turtleneck. That same year, while finishing law school, Jayson Pahlmeyer was at the starting gate of his grapes-to-wine quest. He and John Caldwell, a good friend and fellow wine explorer, had developed a penchant and a deep admiration for the Bordeaux style of grape growing and winemaking. Their shared wine palate and nose led them on investigative trips to the famous French vineyards where they acquired cuttings from the five classic Bordeaux varietals. Smuggling them back to California by way of Canada, they began their grand experiment. The Caldwell family owned a 55-acre parcel off the beaten path in the Coombsville area. Despite being out of the accepted loop for what was considered "Wine Country," Jayson and John decided to perform the trans-Atlantic transplanting here that would produce Jayson's dream "California Mouton." The area's wine experts grimaced at their plan. Even at a mere 500-foot elevation, a good portion of the acreage was vertical, presenting massive rock-clearing problems due to the extreme pitch of the land. The boulder-like size and density of the rock pieces were formidable obstacles. Also, there were stout 300-year-old oak trees blocking important sunlight. But Pahlmeyer and Caldwell would not let pessimism rule. In stepped Jack Caldwell, John's father, helping them refurbish a junked mining rig salvaged from Montana. With additional shovel-help from a crew of eight men, they planted around the long-standing oaks and lava rocks, sacrificing a considerable amount of usable acreage to preserve the natural environment. Jayson now recounts, "It took us six years to get our first commercial harvest. In 1981, '82 and '83 if you had come out to the vineyard, you would have said it looks like these guys really screwed up. The vines just sat there doing nothing." The immigrant vines were unaccustomed to the soil and the standard three year maturation period extended to six long years. But Jayson and John's patience-some called it delusion-paid off. A vineyard neighbor, friend, and guru of Napa Valley winemaking, Randy Dunn, was so impressed with the fruit's intensity and complexity that he offered to purchase every bit of the 1986 crop. Randy's entry into the Pahlmeyer saga was extremely timely because now that the vines were finally ready, Jayson would need the expertise of a bonafide winemaker to bring the experiment to the ultimate test: the tasting. Robert Parker gave that 1986, first vintage release a stunning score of 94 points; the Pahlmeyer Red Table Wine emerged a critical favorite of the year. Now Jayson could be sure that there was method to the Bordeaux-in-California madness. As Jayson's winemaker until 1993, Randy Dunn fine-tuned the unfiltered winemaking process and made the Pahlmeyer Bordeaux blend a serious contender. Pahlmeyer's next varietal offering, the Chardonnay, was made by Bob Levy, currently the winemaker at Harlan Estate. His preference for working with low-yield harvests, tough grape-selection standards and limited cellar intervention made him another good fit for the Pahlmeyer program. The 1989, 1991 and 1992 Chardonnay offerings were his workmanship. Then, another textbook example of "right time, right place" occurred. Pahlmeyer's 1991 Chardonnay landed a feature role in the Hollywood blockbuster Disclosure. The Michael Douglas and Demi Moore battle-of-the-sexes flick was instrumental in pushing the "little wine company that could" further toward national name recognition. The legend was officially launched. Helen Turley was offered the reins as winemaker when Randy moved on to concentrate on personal projects. At Pahlmeyer, Helen immediately began her steady rise to world-renown prominence for the vineyard and winemaking magic she performed. A pioneer in the industry, she constantly pushed the envelope in winegrowing and winemaking with cutting-edge and risky techniques. She also became instrumental in opening doors to women in the wine industry, an insular world known for its fierce attachment to tradition. Helen continually sought out better fruit sources for Pahlmeyer. As the new millennium emerged Pahlmeyer sourced fruit from low-yield sites in Spring Mountain, Wooden Valley, Atlas Peak and Coombsville. In order to push their quality to new levels Jayson knew that he would have to have complete control over what was happening in the vineyards. The only way to do this was to plant estate vineyards, leading to the development of Pahlmeyer's Waters Ranch and Wayfarer Farm. The Waters were pioneers in Napa Valley, establishing their Ranch in the early 20th Century. Their original home built in 1908 is still standing. Childless, in the 1950's they turned their spread into a camp for Girl Scouts. In 1996, the Waters' ranch came to Jayson's attention. At 1,500 to 2,100 feet above sea level, the property was ideally situated for raising Bordeaux-style grapes. Today, the vineyard supports just over 70 acres of vines planted over the saddleback of the mountain by the vineyard developer extraordinaire David Abreu. Each block of the vineyard is unique, offering the different growing conditions needed for Chardonnay and each of the five Bordeaux varietals that go into the Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and Malbec. Jayson, as before, set out to plant this vineyard with land preservation and conservation in mind, donating 57 acres of the property to the Land Trust of Napa Valley. The story of our Sonoma Coast property, Wayfarer Farm, begins with David and Dorothy Davis, an archetypical 1970's California couple. They supported their chosen simplistic lifestyle by selling the Farm's small fruit and vegetable crops to local upscale restaurants like Chez Panisse and Zuni. By the late 1990's they were ready to retire to Oklahoma. Helen Turley and her husband John had already established their nearby Marcassin Vineyard, which has become the iconic vineyard of the region. As consultants to Pahlmeyer at that time, they introduced Jayson to the Davis's. Pahlmeyer purchased Wayfarer Farm in 1997 and enlisted David Abreu to develop the property. The bulk of Abreu's previous work in vineyard design had been exclusive to the Napa Valley. Wayfarer Farm was the first vineyard he developed on the Sonoma Coast. His meticulous eye and penchant for perfectionism produced another state-of-the-art vineyard for Pahlmeyer. Wayfarer Farm would be the proving ground for one of the first "true" Sonoma Coast wines. The locale boasts an extremely rare combination of climate and geography. The Pacific Ocean's cold water currents mix with the land's warm air to produce a night fog ideal for growing Burgundian varietals. Today, this amazing appellation is the prime viticultural source for Chardonnay and Pinot noir and has been referred to by Jayson as California's Cote d'Or. The long-awaited 2005 Pahlmeyer Pinot noir was released in 2007 to rave reviews. In 1999 Jayson promoted rising star Erin Green to Winemaker. She had been Helen Turley's protege since 1985, assisting Helen in making the wines of Colgin, Bryant Family and Martinelli. Having worked with Pahlmeyer's fruit since 1993, she was already extremely familiar with their methodologies and intense product expectations. Erin's extraordinary talent for tasting and blending, combined with her viticultural experience, are reflected in the consistent quality of Pahlmeyer wines. In 2006 Erin was promoted again to Director of Winegrowing and Winemaker. Pahlmeyer's standards were raised to an even higher plateau with the input of Michel Rolland, who experts agree is the world's most formidable blending expert and consultant. Three times a year he traveled from France to work shoulder-to-shoulder with Erin, tasting hundreds of barrel samples to help create the optimal Pahlmeyer blends. On the eve of Pahlmeyer's 20th Anniversary, the family is more involved than ever. Jayson's wife, Paige, has increased her long-time involvement in the team with her new role as President and his daughter, Cleo, has joined the family's endeavors in Sales and Marketing. The family and rest of the Pahlmeyer team look forward to the next 20 years and beyond, rededicating themselves to remain true to the passion that defines the Pahlmeyer story and that is sure to become its legacy. Read less
Suggested Recipe Pairing presented by
Layered Rice Pudding

RiceSelect's fragrant Jasmati® is blended with eggs, milk and fall's favorite spices, cinnamon and nutmeg, to create a delicious rice pudding, which is layered on top of fluffy cream cheese and abuttery pecan crust. Pairs well with a bold, tawny port with flavors of dried fruits, nuts, and spices.

View Recipe

External Reviews for Pahlmeyer Sonoma Coast Oakville Chardonnay

11/12/2010

Rating: 90/100 - As reviewed by Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine (www.cgcw.com) in the October 2010 issue. There is no mistaking the Pahlmeyer hand here as ripeness, rich oak and very deep fruit come together in a wine with a big, full-throated Chardonnay voice. It is not long on manners just now, and it is bothered by a bit of finishing coarseness, but with this kind of sheer fruity substance, it leaves no doubt whatsoever as to its ability to improve significantly with age. In fact, we would lobby for twelve months of patience and let it settle down just a bit before pouring it as a partner to rich and savory dishes such as duck and quail.Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine aging recommendation: Drinkable now. Further bottle aging can improve this wine.


External Review
Source: NapaCabs.com
07/06/2011

WA 95pts - Winemaker Notes - The 2008 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is pale yellow-green in color. It has a profuse nose of honeysuckle, vanilla, orange zest and lemon curd. The creamy mouthfeel is balanced with crisp minerality and firm acidity. The finish never ends.


External Review
Source: WineExpress.com
06/05/2011

Pahlmeyer Wines are nothing short of first class. Jason Pahlmeyer’s vineyards were all planted by famed viticultural pro David Abreu. His winemaking was done first by Randy Dunn then Helen Turley took over. Now her protégée Erin Green does the honors while world famous Oenologist Michel Roland consulting. This is California Chardonnay in all of its glory. Robert Parker scored this bottling 95 points saying "The 2008 Chardonnay reveals a greenish hue to its medium straw color as well as a super-intense nose of mandarin oranges, quince, white peaches, and hints of brioche and earth. Full-bodied with good underlying minerality, this crisp, elegant, fresh white wine is another superb effort from a winery that has a Midas touch with Chardonnay."


External Review
Source: Millesima USA LLC
10/23/2010

1 x 750ML Bottle



All Prices

Shipping to:

[95 pts Robert Parker] The 2008 Chardonnay reveals a greenish hue to its medium straw color as well as a super-intense nose of mandarin oranges quince white peaches and hints of brioche and earth. Full-bodied with good underlying minerality this crisp elegant fresh white wine is another superb effort from a winery that has a Midas touch with Chardonnay.

Recipe Downloader

RiceSelect

Best Wine Deals

See More Deals »







Snooth Media Network