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Long Meadow Ranch Anderson Valley Chardonnay 2015
Pair with: Lacinato kale salad with pulled chicken.
On the valley floor, on the Rutherford Estate, we farm a total of 74 acres of Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvingon vineyards. On the Mayacamas Estate, we have 16 acres of mountain vineyards.
Mayacamas Estate vineyards are carved from a second growth forest at about 1,100 feet elevation. Our southwest facing vineyards in the Mayacamas Mountains provide a distinctive "terroir" for our wines. In total, we have about 16 acres of mountain vineyards. On the Mayacamas Estate we began vineyard development in 1990 under the guiding hand of Napa Valley vineyard management legend, Laurie Wood. From 1998 to 2011, our vineyards were managed by Frank Leeds of Leeds-Pesch Organic Vineyard Consulting, a true pioneer in organic farming in the Napa Valley.
Today all of our vineyards are ably managed by Tony Fernandez, our director of agricultural operations, and he is advised by Garrett Buckland of Premiere Viticultural Services. All of our vineyards are farmed using organic practices certified by California Certified Organic Farmers.
Surrounded by redwood forests and blanketed in atmospheric fog, the Anderson Valley is one of California’s most picturesque appellations. Centered on the Navarro River, the region is kept cool by moist air flowing in from the Pacific Ocean. High and low temperatures can vary as much as 40 or 50 degrees within a single day, allowing for slow and gentle ripening of grapes which will in turn create elegantly balanced wines.
The Anderson Valley is best known for Pinot Noir made in a range of styles from delicate and floral to powerful and concentrated. Chardonnay also shines here, and both varieties are often utilized for the production of some of California’s best traditional method sparkling wines. The region also draws inspiration from Alsace and produces excellent Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris.
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.
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.
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.