Failla Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2011
Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California
#49 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2013
This is the second vintage in which 20% of Failla's young-vine Chardonnay blend was fermented and aged in concrete egg vessels. The remainder fermented and aged for 10 months in French oak, only 15% new and barely perceptible in the finished wine's flinty nose balanced with citrusy scents of grapefruit and lime filled out with a hint of jasmine and oyster-shell. The textural contributions of the concrete-fermented lots nicely balance the wine's vibrant mouth-watering acidity.
Wine Spectator - "Pure, clean scents of ripe apple, melon, pear and subtle citrus form the core of this bright, elegant, delicate version. Subtle oak comes through on the finish."
Wine Enthusiast - "This is firm in acidity, bracing in minerals and bone dry. That makes it sound austere, but you’ll find delicious apricot, lime and citron flavors, enhanced by sweet oak."
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "The 2011 Chardonnay is striking. Lemon, pastry, white, flowers and nectarine all meld together gracefully in this gorgeous, totally beautiful wine. All the elements are in the right place. Sweet floral notes and a hint of peach linger on the finish. In 2011, 30% of the fruit was fermented and aged in concrete eggs, an approach that worked very nicely, to say the least. This is a totally classy introductory level Chardonnay from Failla"
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While the history of Failla (pronounced FAY-la) is short it is not without its complexities. Founded as Failla Jordan in 1998, it took its name from the husband-and-wife team of winemaker Ehren Jordan and fellow debtor Anne-Marie Failla. That year we planted our Estate vineyard on the Sonoma Coast and began buying fruit for our first releases, the very Rhône-style '98 Alban Vineyard Viognier and '98 Que Syrah Syrah. View all Failla Wines
About Sonoma CountyRelated Links:
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 Joneses, or Napa-ites if you will. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Notable FactsThe largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.
About CaliforniaIt'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.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost 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.