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Au Contraire Russian River Chardonnay 2014

Chardonnay from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
  • WE93
13.8% ABV
  • WE90
  • WE93
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3.7 18 Ratings
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3.7 18 Ratings
13.8% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This wine is a blend of Russian River Valley vineyards from the heart of Russian River Valley to the Western Edges of Green Valley touching Sonoma Coast. The variety of growing sites add layers of ripeness, fruit flavors and complexity. Citrus and tree fruits are complemented by a hint of brioche and toast. A round, elegant mouth feel with perfect balance leads to a lingering finish with a touch of minerality.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
This is a pretty, floral and balanced wine, elegantly austere in preserved lemon, yuzu and grapefruit, with richer overtones that build on the medium-body toward the lengthy finish. A wine made for the table, it'll pair well and widely, though it can also stand deliciously on its own.
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Au Contraire

Au Contraire

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Au Contraire, Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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The first US brand developed by the Taub family, owners of leading importer Palm Bay International, Au Contraire represents the family’s return to their roots in the California wine business. This charming French expression, Au Contraire, was used often by Palm Bay’s beloved founder David S. Taub, usually preceding an insight that took a turn from conventional wisdom. President & CEO Marc D. Taub fittingly adopted his father’s favorite saying to embody a new project that takes Palm Bay in a somewhat unexpected and exciting direction: domestic wines.

After decades of bringing gems from around the globe to American consumers, Au Contraire is the debut new release from the Taub Family Vineyards selections. This new domestic portfolio is designed to complement Palm Bay’s renowned import selection, and exemplify a commitment to developing outstanding wines from key California appellations.

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.

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.

SWS391061_2014 Item# 145554