This is our PREMIER RELEASE from the Durell Vineyard owned by Bill Price III. Durell Vineyard is a justly famous site just to the west of the Town of Sonoma. This vineyard was planted in the Mid-1980's to a selection of Chardonnay clones. It is immaculately farmed by Steve Hill, who has been the vineyard manager for more than 20 years at this site.
2001 was a very good year marked by extremes of heat (mid-June) and cooler periods finishing with a long mild fall. It produced moderate crops throughout Northern California. Durell Vineyard delivered interesting grapes from two different portions of their vineyards in 2001. The 2001 harvest produced grapes with great purity of flavor and distinctive vineyard characters. The grapes were fully mature with developed flavors and balanced acidity. This being our first harvest with the crew from Durell Vineyard we were thrilled to get the grapes in such great condition.
The grapes were not crushed or de-stemmed before they were pressed - instead a very gentle technique called "whole cluster pressing" was used which insures only the most delicate and perfumed fruitiness in the wine. Clusters are loaded directly into the press and where it is gently and repeatedly pressed at very low pressures extracting the juice. This juice is then cold settled, and racked into small French oak barrels (70% new) to ferment. We encourage malo-lactic fermentation to add complexity, and also for the textural components brought into the finished wines. After fermentation is complete, we continue to lees stir to encourage malo-lactic fermentation and to better integrate all the flavors of the fruit, oak and lees into a seamless whole. Aged sur lie for 10 months - the wine was then bottled without filtration.
Tasting Notes: Pale, yellow-green color, aromas of lime, hazelnut and pear they expand and open in the glass to reveal multi-tiered complexity - ripe peach/pear and apple notes grace the flavors, with smoky and spicy barrel notes providing a nice backdrop. Ripe and flavorful now - it should expand and become even more complex with a year or two of bottle age.
Patz & Hall Winery
Patz and Hall Wine Company was founded in 1988 by Donald Patz, James Hall, Anne Moses and Heather Patz, and is dedicated to the production of hand-crafted wines. The four are long-time Napa Valley residents and wine industry professionals, with a wide variety of experiences. Patz and Hall produces Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines from selected vineyard sources in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Monterey counties. The Patz and Hall method is to work closely with each of their growers to achieve a unique expression of the vineyard site and deliver wines that reflect both the site and their vision for great wine.
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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.
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.