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Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2008

Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California
  • CG95
  • WS93
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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

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, , California
Joseph Phelps
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 nearly every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa, the region only produces about half the amount of wine, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in both 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 and Sonoma Valleys, Carneros, and Fort Ross-Seaview. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.

Zinfandel

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Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward, Zinfandel is often thought of as a truly Californian grape, though in fact it is anything but. This variety has followed an intriguing trajectory to reach its adoptive home, beginning, surprisingly, in Croatia. Originally known as Tribidrag, it first made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. From there it eventually migrated to what is now unarguably its most successful outpost, in California, and has thrived throughout the state. Of course, this is also the grape of White Zinfandel, a sweet pink wine that enjoyed great popularity in the 1980s and 90s. Though White Zin still has a significant following, today the variety is increasingly associated with the red version.

In the Glass

Zinfandel commonly features a bold, plush texture and notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, black pepper, dark chocolate, leather, and licorice, and can often be described as “jammy” and a little bit sweet. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig, or prune. Despite its significant alcohol and weight, Zinfandel has very smooth, gentle tannins.

Perfect Pairings

Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs, or anything barbecued. If care is taken with regards to alcohol levels, Zinfandel’s hint of sweetness can work well with milder Indian-spiced dishes like lamb curry.

Sommelier Secret

Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding vines tend to produce wine that is concentrated, complex, and elegant.

SWS166082_2008 Item# 109269

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