MacPhail Gap's Crown Chardonnay 2010
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
What defines MacPhail? Our little red wagon says it all. Family. Fun. Serious when we need to be (but not too much).
From the beginning, which isn’t all that long ago, we’ve believed that wine is art with a splash of science. Our first vintage was 2002, so you haven’t had a long time to get to know us. But we’re easy. We use traditional, old-world winemaking techniques with minimal intervention to deliver wines that are flavorful enough to tell you a lot about our exceptional vineyards in Sonoma County and Mendocino’s Anderson Valley. We forge strong partnerships with growers willing to join us in this ongoing adventure. Restless and curious, always searching to answer a simple question: what is Pinot Noir? Crafted by nature, nurtured by our hands.
The little red wagon that graces our label symbolizes timeless design and exceptional quality. We like the idea that kids play in wagons, and share simple joys. No reason we can’t as well. So we try not to take ourselves too seriously, even as we’re very serious about our wines.
Tim and Sabrina Persson take the long view as stewards of MacPhail Wines. After all, they are the fifth generation of the Hess family to watch over the family’s wineries. As Tim likes to say, take a peek in the wine rack at home and you’ll have no doubt how often MacPhail is a part of the family’s wine selections. It’s not uncommon to see Tim and Sabrina, along with the next generation – children Jasper and Yasmine – at the MacPhail Tasting Lounge @The Barlow. Be sure to say hello.
Matt Courtney has a simple goal as winemaker for MacPhail: capture the individuality of each vineyard site and let it express itself in your glass. His focus is the vineyard, and he has worked with many MacPhail growers for years. Celebrated for wines created for Arista, Marcassin and his own label, Ferren, he is as well known for his wizardry with Chardonnay as he is with Pinot Noir. Happily, MacPhail has room for both.
A vast appellation covering Sonoma County’s Pacific coastline, the Sonoma Coast AVA runs all the way from the Mendocino County border, south to the San Pablo Bay. The region can actually be divided into two sections—the actual coastal vineyards, marked by marine soils, cool temperatures and saline ocean breezes—and the warmer, drier vineyards further inland, which are still heavily influenced by the Pacific but not quite with same intensity.
Contained within the appellation are the much smaller Fort Ross-Seaview and Petaluma Gap AVAs.
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.
Tasting Notes for Chardonnay
Chardonnay is a dry, white wine. When Chardonnay grapes are planted on cool sites, the resulting wine's 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 Food Pairings for Chardonnay
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 Secrets for Chardonnay
Since the 1980s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy this lighter style.