Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2009
Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California
This wine is a mix of the best selections from the estate plantings, including some heirloom selections that define its character and structure. The nose reveals aromas of toasted brioche, apricot pits, lemon oil, shaved almonds, flower petals and chamomile infused with honey. There is great concentration, weight and intensity in this Chardonnay with vibrant, focused flavors of honeysuckle, quince, orange blossom and a touch of apple skins to tempt the palate. This wine is full-bodied, has great length and has a tangy, citrus finish with tremendous precision and minerality.
Connoisseurs' Guide - "From the very first sniff, this deep and impressively layered wine conveys a sense of fine composition and polish, and, for all of its richness and mouthfilling weight, it is still a bit tight and not yet fully expressed. Its intense themes of apples and stones are enriched by deftly placed accents of vanilla and cream, and, like its mate, it is a serious, age-worthy Chardonnay that will surely reward a few years of patience."
Tasting Panel - "Lemon custard aromas ooze, followed by appetizing wafts of merigue. Zingy juiced lime hits the palate with a start, cushioned by a buoyant, rounded texture. Sweet basil and chamomile form a zen finish. Ommmmm."
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "The 2009 Chardonnay Freestone Vineyards wraps around the palate with tangerine, mint, honeysuckle and French oak notes. This is an especially ripe, juicy style for the Sonoma Coast, but it works. The relatively up-front expression of fruit suggests the wine is best enjoyed sooner rather than later. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016."
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Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a family-owned winery committed to crafting world class, estate-grown wines. Founded in 1973 when Joe Phelps purchased a former cattle ranch near St. Helena in the Napa Valley, the winery now controls and farms nearly 375 acres of vines on eight estate vineyards in St. Helena, the Stags Leap District, Oakville, Rutherford, Oak Knoll District, Carneros and South Napa Valley. In 1999, the Phelps family added 100 acres of vineyard property near the town of Freestone on the Sonoma Coast, where Phelps now grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Phelps is best known for its flagship Napa Valley blend of red Bordeaux varietals, Insignia, first produced in 1974. Awarded Wine Spectator's "Wine of the Year" in 2005, Insignia is widely regarded as a qualitative benchmark for California winemaking. View all Joseph Phelps Vineyards Wines
About Sonoma CountyView a map of Sonoma County wineriesRelated 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.