Red Mare Dutton Ranch Chardonnay 2014
An avid horse woman, Anne named her wine label in honor of her red mare, Paradigm, who was a bonus given to her during her time at Paradigm Winery. The inaugural release of Red Mare Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2007 vintage, sold out in just two months. In addition to her Cabernet Sauvignon, Anne also produces a Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc and added a Sonoma Chardonnay in the 2011 vintage.
Red Mare Wines sources fruit meticulously from very small, well-respected vineyards throughout the Napa Valley, from a cool enclave of the Carneros to a hill top in Coombsville, and northward on the Valley floor in Oakville, Rutherford and St. Helena.
A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
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.