J Vineyards Russian River Chardonnay 2020
This Russian River Valley Chardonnay showcases the best of this classic cool- climate region. Aromas of honeysuckle, tangerine and lightly toasted oak hint toward the complexity and structure of this appealing Chardonnay. The silky- smooth wine offers weight and brightness, full through the middle with a lingering finish that deftly balances sweet oak notes with crisp, refreshing acidity. Notes of mango and baked yellow apple on the palate blend with citrusy pomelo and mandarin characteristics, while subtle suggestions of graham cracker, vanilla and a kiss of butterscotch add intriguing depth.
Enjoy this alongside hazelnut- crusted black cod over wild rice or an appetizer of prosciutto-wrapped honeydew. For a cheese pairing, try White Stilton topped with dried apricots and a drizzle of honey.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Aromas of pie crust, pink grapefruit and flint. Full-bodied with lovely nutty character. Creamy, too. Nicely balanced and concentrated.Drink now
The 2020 Chardonnay Russian River Valley was matured for eight months in about 18% new oak and underwent full malolactic conversion. "Chardonnay picked up less smoke than other varieties," explains head winemaker Nicole Hitchcock. "We harvested the Chardonnay earlier but did not change our winemaking approach. We have our own internal labs, so we were able to run our own analysis for smoke markers." It has layered aromas of quince, white peaches, honey and graham cracker with floral nuances. The medium-bodied palate is creamy and concentrated, with banana-laced flavors and a long, honeyed finish. It has some notable phenolic texture and may show its best in the near term.
A note of vanilla custard and a touch of salted Greek yogurt add a rich and creamy side to the apricot and mango curd flavors. Creamy on the finish, with a note of dried ginger. Drink now.
Since 1986, J Vineyards & Winery has developed a reputation as one of the top sparkling and varietal wine producers in California. Known for its celebrated estate vineyards and world-class hospitality, what truly sets J apart is its Traditional Method sparkling process and elevated winemaking techniques. Winemaker Nicole Hitchcock showcases her expertise and the diversity of California winegrowing regions through a portfolio of acclaimed varietal and sparkling wines. Visit the renowned hospitality center in the heart of the Russian River Valley to enjoy one of the many tasting experiences or the innovative pairings created by Executive Chef Carl Shelton in the Bubble Room.
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.