EnRoute Winery Les Brumeux Chardonnay 2012
Chardonnay from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
2012 marks the inaugural vintage of EnRoute Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, "Les Brumeux" (brew-muh). The wine is named for the fog that gently envelops the vineyards in Russian River Valley, creating the perfect climate to nurture our fruit to ideal ripeness. A discrete group of select clones and growing areas combine to produce the Les Brumeux blend. The Wente clone benefits from the warmth of the northernmost vineyard along Westside Road and contributes an oily texture and tropical notes. The Rued clone, grown in the cool climate of Green Valley, brings beautiful perfume and floral notes to the wine. The Heritage clone provides notes of pear and citrus from a vineyard cultivated in the Goldridge sandy loam along Vine Hill Road in Sebastopol.
Winemaker Notes:Crisp and flinty, this wine opens with abundant layers of peach, orange blossom, citrus and subtle notes of pineapple.These fruit-dominated aromas slowly give way to floral and mineral notes with citrus zest. Upon entry, beautifulcreaminess and stone fruits evolve into warm, toasty oak with an oily texture that coats the entire palate. The wonderfully bright and lively acidity keeps the mouthfeel balanced and leads to a mouthwatering and refreshing finish.
EnRoute was established in the Russian River Valley in 2007 by the partners of Napa Valley’s Far Niente winery. Devoted to producing Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, EnRoute introduced its first wine, “Les Pommiers,” in May 2009. Les Pommiers is named for the apple orchards that once flourished in the region, and reflects a blend of vineyards primarily from Green Valley and the upper Middle Reach area of the Russian River Valley AVA.
The name, EnRoute, is a nod to the journey the partners—including Beth Nickel, Erik Nickel, Jeremy Nickel, Dirk Hampson and Larry Maguire—have taken on their way to producing Pinot Noir, which began in the 1980s in Burgundy. While Far Niente’s vision is exclusively focused on Napa Valley Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, the partners still enjoyed traveling and tasting the great Pinot Noirs of the world. Eventually, sister winery Nickel & Nickel’s single-vineyard program provided the opportunity to venture into the Russian River Valley. After a few years of producing wines from Russian River, the partners decided to make a serious commitment to the region, acquired two remarkable vineyards and established EnRoute, devoted to Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.
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About Russian River
The Russian River Valley is named as such due to its proximity to the Russian River, the river itself named for the Russian fur traders who came down from Alaska in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Russian River is agricultural land. While there is a focus on wine, beyond the vineyards are many small, family-owned farms cultivating everything from cattle to Christmas trees.
The proximity of this cool river and the rolling fogs from the Pacific Ocean make the area amenable to cool-climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In fact, the region is quite known for its full-bodied, yet elegant Pinot Noir, as well as their ripe, yet lean Chardonnays. Within Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. Chalk Hill is the warmer of the two and furthest from the ocean, while Green Valley is cooler and closer to the water.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.