Marcassin Marcassin Vineyard Chardonnay 2004
Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California
Marcassin Estate continues to grow, although still ever so tiny, with just over 20 acres of tightly spaced vineyards on the Sonoma Coast. They also supplement their estate bottlings with purchased fruit from vineyards owned by the Martinelli family which they help manage, the Three Sisters Vineyard for Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir from the Blue Slide Vineyard. Their dominant Chardonnay clones continue to be based on the old Wente clones taken from the Hudson and Hyde Vineyards, and the Mt.Eden clone. The Pinot Noir material is dominated by California heritage clones. Little changes under the firm's leadership of Helen Turley and her husband John Wetlaufer (now married 42 years), and as someone raised in Maryland, I am proud to say they were schooled at the renowned St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland. They have always been committed to the highest quality of wines possible. It is akin to being tutored by a great master to sit down and taste through their series of Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. They added a few wrinkles this time by throwing into the tasting a 2005 Domaine Leflaive Batard-Montrachet, which was completely obliterated by their own Chardonnays, and with the Pinot Noirs, a highly rated grand cru red Burgundy from the 2005 vintage that didn't fare particularly well either. Their point was that not only are their wines superior (and I would certainly agree with these comparisons), but also that some of the most famous names in Burgundy have more sizzle and snobbery behind them than actual quality. The Pinot Noirs are very complex and need lots of aeration/decanting to strut their stuff. They continue to remind me of grand crus from Morey St.-Denis, especially wines such as Ponsot's Clos de la Roche because of the following.
"The Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard is often the quintessential Chardonnay of the New World. With respect to the 2004, high acids, a greenish hue (also apparent in the Three Sisters cuvee) to the light straw/gold color, and notes of quince, crushed rocks, white currants, and subtle hazelnut, tropical fruit, and white peach characteristics are found in this beautiful Chardonnay. There is a subtle underlying buttery character, but the minerality and acidity both jump forward. This white seems to have a tannic structure much like a red wine. Still incredibly young, it should hit its peak in 3-4 years, and last for 12-15. It is clearly becoming the most consistent, long-lived Chardonnay of California.
NOTE: Prices are approximate as the winery releases the wines at very reasonable prices, but buyers who resell them usually do so in the $300-350 per bottle range.
The Wine Advocate
"Pale yellow-green. Knockout nose combines stone fruits, minerals, fresh herbs, honey, flowers, grilled nuts and earth. Round and lush yet racy and light on its feet, with compelling flavors of pineapple, grapefruit and crushed stone. A huge but classy wine with considerable finesse. Wonderfully rich yet subtle on the back end, where it stains the palate with fruits, minerals and soil tones."
International Wine Cellar
"Weaves together a complex web of mature pear, fig and golden raisin, with mineral and hints of smoke and anise. Elegant, stylish, mature and focused. Medium- to full-bodied, ending with a subtle, delicate Meursault-like flintiness. Drink now through 2012. 350 cases made."
- 10/23/2011 (5 items) (viewed 124 times)
Learn About Marcassin
If you haven"t heard of Helen Turley, or tasted one of her wines, you"ve definitely not been paying close enough attention to the wines coming out of California in the last 10 years. She is arguably one of the most influential winemakers in the business, receiving critical acclaim for almost every wine she touches. Aside from her own boutique winery, Marcassin, which she runs with...
Read More About Marcassin
Learn About Sonoma County
Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about a half the amount of wine as her northeasterly neighbor. But Sonoma, with her size, is able to vouch for more diversity within her borders, including sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid back and down home country style. But in wines, they are keeping up with the...
Read More About Sonoma County
Learn About Chardonnay
White Wine's Queen Bee
Sauvignon, Chardonnay can grow just about anywhere. It adapts well to different
soils and different climates. While frequently paired with
its native home lies in the vineyards of Burgundy,
France. The only major white grape of the region, Chardonnay is at its best on the rolling...
Read More About Chardonnay