The 1999 Reserve Chardonnay fruit came predominantly from the Trione's Cloverdale and Geyserville ranches. Their sandy soils, low yields, and the cooling influence of coastal fogs produced the ideal sites for this fruit. Upon reaching full maturity, the fruit was whole-bunch pressed without crushing, thus avoiding any harsh extractiveness. After cold settling, the juice was racked directly to barrel. Following fermentation, the wine was allowed to remain in contact with the yeast lees for the entire 8-month maturation period. During this time, the lees were periodically stirred to enhance the complexity and mouth feel. Approximately 50% of the blend has also undergone malolactic fermentation.
Geyser Peak Winery
One of California's oldest and most award-winning wineries, Geyser Peak was founded in 1880, a pioneer of the Alexander Valley in Sonoma County. Perched on a hillside across from Geyser Peak Mountain, this beautiful setting overlooks Geyserville, the Russian River and the northern end of Alexander Valley.
The winery consistently garners some of the most prestigious awards in winemaking, including Winery of the Year and Winemaker of the Year honors. Its outstanding team of winemakers and viticulturalists are noted for fruit-forward, food-friendly wines from prime vineyard sources in the Alexander Valley.
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Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about half as much wine as its northeasterly neighbor. Because of its vast size, however, Sonoma is able to achieve far more diversity within its borders, which include sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid-back and down-to-earth, but the wines are serious and well-made, ranging in style from subtle and elegant to rich and powerful. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
The 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.
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.
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.