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Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2016
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
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.
A vast appellation covering Sonoma County’s Pacific coastline, the Sonoma Coast AVA runs all the way from the Mendocino County border, south to the San Pablo Bay. The region can actually be divided into two sections—the actual coastal vineyards, marked by marine soils, cool temperatures and saline ocean breezes—and the warmer, drier vineyards further inland, which are still heavily influenced by the Pacific but not quite with same intensity.
Contained within the appellation are the much smaller Fort Ross-Seaview and Petaluma Gap AVAs.
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.