Radio-Coteau Wingtine Chardonnay 2018
The 2018 Wingtine Chardonnay is an elegant balance of lively acidity and layered richness. Bright aromas of white nectarine, orange blossom and fresh apricot bound from the glass, followed closely by heady notes of cantaloupe and lemon curd. Warm elements of baking spices and pie crust add complexity on the palate, while a characteristic slate minerality enlivens the long, thoughtful finish.
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Wingtine is Eric Sussman’s blend of the chardonnay he planted in Harrison Grade in 2014, with Charles Heintz’s fruit from across the road, where the vines were planted in 1982. Both grow on Goldridge soil, both sites under a strong influence of the Pacific, which lends this wine the freshness of a sea breeze. The young-vine fruit seems to add luscious richness—a fresh cream note and a sweet Vidalia onion rootiness that would work especially well with the sweet flesh of a scallop. Wingtine is as delicious as the Heintz bottling (also recommended here), though it is slightly less resistant to oxygen—quibbling, perhaps, to say that the old-vine Heintz wine wins out when both have been open for days.
Eric Sussman first heard the expression radio coteau from a friend while living and working in Burgundy. More than a preference for how you discover these wines, the name reflects a commitment to capturing reflections of soil, seasons, people and place. In 2002, Eric established Radio-Coteau, focusing on the north coast vineyards of western Sonoma County and Anderson Valley. With their benchland locations, well-drained soils, exposure by capricious marine air and fog, these sites host grapes naturally suited to their surrounding elements. This natural selection afforded Eric an opportunity to refine his Old World experiences while working with New World grapes. For more than a decade, he has strived to balance nature’s expression with a delicate, but disciplined human touch in these handcrafted wines.
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 it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.