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Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2012
Over 25 years ago, Flowers Vineyards and Winery pioneered the growing of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on the rugged coastal ridges of the extreme Sonoma Coast. Joan and Walt Flowers had a simple goal, to make exceptional wine that captures the wild beauty of the land and the spirit of the Sonoma Coast. This idea continues to drive everything we do - farming responsibly, harvesting by hand, using 100% native fermentation, and making wine with minimal intervention. Our unwavering commitment to crafting distinctive wines that capture the spirit of the Sonoma Coast has been the bedrock of our success, and it will continue to drive us forward for years to come.
Perched on top of soaring coastal ridges that border the nearby Pacific Ocean, our estate vineyards, Camp Meeting Ridge and Sea View Ridge, rise to impressive elevations from 1,150 to 1,875 feet. Flowers resides in the Fort Ross-Seaview American Viticulture Area (AVA), which was established in 2012 and located on the extreme western edge of the Sonoma Coast Appellation. Defined by elevation, rugged terrain and proximity to the Pacific Ocean, vineyard plantings are limited to 920-1,800+ft above sea level and are only 2% of the total AVA acreage.
The Pacific Ocean is less than two miles from the vineyards, generating cooling sea breezes and coastal fog while the soaring elevations ensure abundant sunshine for a long, slow growing season. Together they create an ideal environment for elegant and nuanced Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.
Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.
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.
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.
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.