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Amapola Creek Jos. Belli Vineyards Chardonnay 2015

  • RP95
750ML / 13.9% ABV
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3.9 12 Ratings
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3.9 12 Ratings
750ML / 13.9% ABV

Winemaker Notes

First, take a moment to appreciate the color of this wine, a pale beautiful gold with just the barest hint of green. On the nose, the first thing you will find is a round aroma of pears and honey, layered together with a light note of custard. Swirl the glass, and you will begin to find a bit of flint, along with a deeper aroma of ripe peach. On the palate the first thing that will strike you is the mouthfeel, which is decadently silky and full. The first flavors to appear are tropical, juicy mango chasing bright pineapple. Take another sip, and you will start to uncover the mineral backbone of the wine, a crisp acidity accompanied by a delicious note of apricot jam. The finish is long and toasty, with a bit of ripe pear and a delicate impression of roasted hazelnuts. This wine was fermented in French oak barrels and then aged in barrel for 11 months, where the wine completed malolactic fermentation. The 2015 Jos. Belli Chardonnay is completely accessible now, but if stored properly, it will continue to develop for at least the next decade.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The two vintages of Chardonnay I tasted come from the Jos. Belli Vineyard in Russian River. The 2015 Chardonnay Jos. Belli Vineyards was made from small yields, and according to Dick Arrowood, it is one of the top three vintages in his 50 years of experience. This wine offers loads of peach, honeysuckle, delicate apricot, caramelized citrus and apple blossom in a full-bodied, rich, discreetly oaked style. It is long, promising and super-concentrated. If this is an example of just how strong many 2015s will be, we’re in for another treat from Northern California.
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Amapola Creek

Amapola Creek

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Amapola Creek, California
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Richard Arrowood is an iconic winemaster who has been making wine exclusively in Sonoma County for more than for 45 years. From 1974 through 1990, he created the wines for Chateau St. Jean, where he developed some of the first vineyard-designate Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon produced in Sonoma County.

He and his wife, Alis, founded Arrowood Winery with the 1985 vintage. Each year, they made extraordinary small-lot varietals and vineyard designates. Richard was the winemaster at Arrowood Winery until June 2010, when he resigned his position to devote himself full-time to making wines for his estate winery, Amapola Creek Vineyards and Winery.

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Russian River

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A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

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Chardonnay

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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.

Sommelier Secret

Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.

SWS442463_2015 Item# 166238