Hartford Court Russian River Chardonnay 2018
#44 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2020
This Chardonnay offers subtle aromas of jasmine flower, citrus oil, green apple and pear. The elegant aromatics are complemented by fresh kiwi, lemon drop and Pippin apple flavors. The fruit-focused mid-palate is followed by subtle mineral notes and a hint of crystallized ginger in the finish.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Already bottled, the 2018 Chardonnay Russian River Valley sings of fresh Bosc pears, white peaches and pink grapefruit with hints of powdered ginger, shaved almonds and white pepper. Medium-bodied, the palate has great vibrancy and juiciness with effortless fruit expression and lovely savory layers on the finish. I wish all Chardonnays at this price point tasted this good! 17,000 cases were made. Rating: 91+
Making delicious wines of high personality is directly related to the difficult locations of the Hartford family's vineyard sources, the limited production of their bottlings and the varietals they use. "Character through adversity" is an expression that the Hartford family believes to apply to both people and grapevines, and they feel that surviving adversity builds character, and personality, in both.
The Hartford Family makes wines under two marks, one of which is Hartford Court. Hartford Court bottlings are small lots of high-personality single vineyard Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays that express the distinctive qualities inherent in each vineyard's terroir - the interplay of soil, slope, exposure and climate. The fruit is sourced from the Russian River Valley, Green Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations.
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.