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Joseph Phelps Ovation Chardonnay 2006

Chardonnay from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
  • WE94
  • RP92
  • WS91
0% ABV
  • WE94
  • W&S90
  • WS92
  • WE92
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2.8 4 Ratings
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2.8 4 Ratings
0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

We are pleased to announce that 2006 signifies the return of Ovation Chardonnay, last produced in 2004 from Napa/Carneros District fruit and now harvested from the Sonoma Coast. With the establishment of our Freestone vineyards in western Sonoma County, we have revived the Ovation label to indicate a Chardonnay sourced from both growers and estate fruit grown in this highly regarded coastal region, where cool climate varieties thrive.

The Sonoma Coast Ovation Chardonnay is similar in style to the classic Ovation but differs in structure and ripeness. This wine has a concentrated core of lemon, fig and cream, with natural acidity and minerality that give it great strength and persistence. This wine was produced by 100% native fermentation with a focus on working the lees in barrel in order to elevate and enhance the mid-palate. The result is a naturally made wine that is unfined, unfiltered and an expression of the region's characteristic minerality and spice.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
Acidity, dryness and steely minerality characterize this Chard. It has lemon and vanilla flavors that are brisk and clean. It’s refreshing to get such an elegant alternative to today’s ripe, fruity Chards. Gets better and better as it warms in the glass. Drink this brilliant wine with shellfish, sourdough bread and lots of butter.
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2006 Chardonnay Freestone Vineyard Ovation reveals crisp lemon blossom, white citrus, crushed rock, flower, and orange blossom characteristics, and beautiful texture, freshness, and elegance. It is undeniably a successful Chardonnay in a challenging vintage for this varietal in Sonoma. This can be enjoyed over the next 2-3 years.

The Freestone Vineyard, a 100-acre, cool climate site planted on the Sonoma Coast by Joseph Phelps, is finally coming into production, offering consumers a bevy of different Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. There are three Chardonnay offerings, all of which emphasize the minerality and citrusy characteristics of this varietal with little intrusive oak, despite the fact that they are barrel-fermented and aged primarily in new French oak.

WS 91
Wine Spectator
Fresh and vibrant, with lively acidity and snappy pear, apple and citrus shadings. Still a touch crisp and flinty in a good way, this is full-bodied and ends with a long, clean finish. Drink now through 2013. 2,500 cases made.
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Joseph Phelps

Joseph Phelps Vineyards

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Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
2006 Ovation Chardonnay
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 Coast

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A vast appellation covering Sonoma County’s Pacific coastline, the Sonoma Coast AVA runs from the San Pablo Bay to the Mendocino County border. The region can actually be divided into two sections—the “true” Sonoma Coast, marked by high rainfall, marine soils, cool temperatures, and saline ocean breezes, from which one can actually see the ocean—and the warmer, drier vineyards further inland, creating a diversity of wine styles. Contained within the appellation is the much smaller and more focused Fort Ross-Seaview AVA.

Sonoma Coast is highly regarded for elegant Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and, increasingly, cool-climate Syrah, with high acidity, moderate alcohol, firm tannin, and fruit that is rarely overripe. One of the most favorable sites within the region is the Petaluma Gap, where a break in the coastal mountain range allows Pacific winds and fog to funnel through and cool the vineyards.


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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’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based 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. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

MRE104953_2006 Item# 104953

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