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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 often blanketed in chilly, ocean fog, the Anderson Valley is one of California’s most picturesque appellations. During the growing season, moist, cool, late afternoon air flows in from the Pacific Ocean along the Navarro River and over the valley's golden, oak-studded hills. 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 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.
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.
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.