The 2018 River West Chardonnay opens up with crème brulee, mineral and floral aromas, and tastes like baked apple pie with marzipan, toasted marshmallow and floral flavors. The palate is rich and creamy but with substantial acidity leaving a lingering zip of acidity on a long finish. Enjoy this Chardonnay with a variety of salty cheeses, vegetable raviolis, grilled pork chops or creamy soups.
The River West Vineyard is located on Westside Road, on a low riverside bench, in the far northern end of the Russian River Valley. The soil is predominantly Yolo sandy silt loam but with a pocket of gravelly Cortina soil in one block. It has been said that Chardonnay shows the hand of the winemaker more than other varietals. Our winemaker, Greg Morthole, believes there is some truth in that, but also believes the best vineyard sites yield fruit that distinctively express the characteristics of their location in the finished wine. Greg's delicate signature is embedded in each vintage as favored blocks and clones from River West are blended to show off the terroir of that site. The result is a delicious Chardonnay that shows characteristics of its origins derived from careful and deliberate winemaking choices to highlight our best lots.
A defining characteristic of our River West Chardonnay is its bright citrusy acidity, which is tempered by the rich, creamy mouthfeel of fermenting in French and Eastern European oak barrels. Allowing the wine to go entirely through malolactic fermentation, with subsequent sur-lie aging and monthly bâtonnage adds richness, creaminess and complexity. Four different clones of Chardonnay, all picked and fermented separately, were chosen to blend together the following June. The clone 15 and 76 blocks typically add golden apple, green apple, pear and mineral notes to the wine, while the Spring Mountain selection adds floral and tropical tones. The toasted oak barrels add caramel, vanilla, toasted marshmallow and a pleasant nuttiness, and allow the different components of the wine to meld together and change into its finished form after many patient months.