Frei Brothers Reserve Chardonnay 2011
Frei Brothers Sonoma Reserve has been a part of the fabric of Sonoma County for over a century. After coming to California from his native Switzerland, founder Andrew Frei first established vineyards in the Dry Creek Valley in 1890. His two sons, Walter and Louis, eventually took over and adopted the name Frei Brothers. They successfully ran the winery for over 70 years.
The beautiful Frei Brothers vineyards caught the eye of Julio Gallo soon after the repeal of Prohibition. He began using the site as a vineyard source for the rapidly growing E. & J. Gallo Winery. Once Walter and Louis had both retired in the late 1970s, the Gallo family purchased Frei Ranch. They have since further developed the vineyard to become what it is today.
Their long history in Sonoma County has allowed us to form long-lasting connections with their growers — some relationships dating back as much as 70 years. Among these partners are some of Sonoma County’s oldest winegrowing families, farmers who have been cultivating their vineyards and perfecting their techniques over generations. Led by their passionate winegrower, Scott Johnsen, we work hand in hand with their vineyard managers and growers to select the best sites for each of their varieties. The result is exceptional fruit grown in its ideal place, which allows their winemakers to craft complex wines with immense clarity of flavor.
When Scott joined Frei Brothers 14 years ago, he found himself at home among the vineyards on the historic, 125-year-old Frei Ranch. “I love that at Frei Brothers, we get to carry on the legacy of stewardship of the environment and quality of product that many generations have created,” said Scott. Scott also found himself at home in Sonoma County, a place that fully embodies all the best qualities he’s grown to love about California.
Not only is Sonoma County beautiful, it also offers ideal conditions for growing their vines. We craft their award winning wines by working closely with vineyard managers and growers to carefully select the ideal sites for each grape variety. This allows us to source only the fruit that is best suited to its region. Their winemakers can then showcase the true varietal character of each grape, bringing the Heart of Sonoma County to each glass.
Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing.
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.