Bravium Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2020
Created by winemaker Derek Rohlffs, Bravium is a collection of hillside and mountainside fruit from cool–climate vineyards of Sonoma’s Russian River Valley and Mendocino’s Anderson Valley. Their Chardonnay vineyards are located in the cool-climate of the western portion of California’s Russian River Valley. Two vineyards comprise this wine, located in the small towns of Forestville and Occidental. Both vineyards are regularly blanketed by fog and a view of the Pacific Ocean, with one of them resting directly adjacent to Russian River. The vineyards are planted to a number of Chardonnay selections, including Dijon and Wente vine material which - combined with the large diurnal shift - allows for acidity to be retained during ripening. Shallow soils also allow for ripening to occur at a relatively low degree Brix. The combination of these terroir attributes provide prototypical Chardonnay character and hallmark Bravium balance.
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What’s become a ‘classic’ in the New World style of Chardonnay, Bravium’s 2020 offers ripe fruit expressions balanced by well-integrated malo and oak. Enjoy aromas and flavors of almond, toast, vanilla, nutmeg, green and yellow apple, yellow peach and mango, baby’s breath and matchstick flint
Created by winemaker Derek Rohlffs, Bravium is the culmination of meticulous care in the vineyards and a patient approach in the cellar. Derek takes his cues from tradition. He doesn’t alter what the earth gives him. He’s a classic minimalist.
But don’t mistake minimalism for apathy. Quietly guiding a wine in a thoughtful, deliberate way—without intervening at every twist and turn—requires diligent attention to detail and a generous amount of restraint. The wine in the glass is born of a deeply purposeful approach. It is a gift of the land, valued and honored.
Derek grows Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes in coveted cool-climate vineyards in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley and Mendocino’s Anderson Valley.
Derek’s minimalist approach translates the nuances of each coastal vineyard in the glass, illustrating a distinct, transparent sense of place in every sip. The result is a collection of compelling, terroir-driven wines that pair naturally with food and have rare aging potential, relative to their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir peers.
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.
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 it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.