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Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2008

Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California
  • CG95
  • WS93
13.5% ABV
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13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Our 2008 Chardonnay reveals the purest expression of Freestone terroir that we have captured with this varietal to date. The first dip of the nose into the glass reveals aromas of orange blossom, lemongrass, savory herbs and white flowers. The subtle oak nuances lend an appealing sweetness to the delicate bouquet. Lean and focused, with richness and depth on the palate, this wine has a lot of verve. It is dense yet also has great intensity with a complex mineral-like finish and mouthwatering acidity; a lovely balance between power and finesse.

Critical Acclaim

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CG 95
Connoisseurs' Guide
Spry and sprightly, tight and well-fruited, so youthful that it could pass for a 2009, this wine is a bit of a challenge to enjoy in its current state, and it takes a bit of time in the glass before starting to unfold and reveal its full potential. But, unfold it does, and it shows keenly focused green apple, stony, citrusy fruit tones and a carefully laid-on layer of rich oak. Like its exciting predecessor from 2007, this is a bottling is nowhere near ready for the table, and we would counsel that it be laid away for two to four years of highly rewarding development.
WS 93
Wine Spectator
A stylish cool-climate Chardonnay, intense, crisp, vibrant and concentrated, with subtle citrus and pippin apple notes giving it a juicy sensation. Ends with slate and mineral notes that are firm and focused, reverberating on the finish. Drink now through 2018.
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Joseph Phelps

Joseph Phelps Vineyards

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Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Sonoma County, California
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Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a family-owned winery committed to crafting world class, estate-grown wines. Founded in 1973 when Joe Phelps purchased a former cattle ranch near St. Helena in the Napa Valley, the winery now controls and farms nearly 375 acres of vines on eight estate vineyards in St. Helena, the Stags Leap District, Oakville, Rutherford, Oak Knoll District, Carneros and South Napa Valley. In 1999, the Phelps family added 100 acres of vineyard property near the town of Freestone on the Sonoma Coast, where Phelps now grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Phelps is best known for its flagship Napa Valley blend of red Bordeaux varietals, Insignia, first produced in 1974. Awarded Wine Spectator's "Wine of the Year" in 2005, Insignia is widely regarded as a qualitative benchmark for California winemaking.

Sonoma County

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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.

Chardonnay

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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.

Perfect Pairings

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.

Sommelier Secret

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.

SWS166082_2008 Item# 109269