Rochioli River Block Chardonnay 2016
Ripe apple, mineral, and hazelnut aromas combine with its balanced finish. It is structured for aging and will reward those with the patience to cellar this wine.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2016 Chardonnay River Block was barrel fermented and spent 9 months in 30% new French oak. It offers a medium gold color as well as a classic, gorgeously layered bouquet of ripe orchard fruits, caramelized citrus, brioche, and spice. Deep, full-bodied, powerful and concentrated, it's a classic, old-school Chardonnay done brilliantly. It's going to age beautifully.
Zesty lime and citrus notes are trim and lively, clean and refreshing, with fig, anise, apricot and melon flavors moving to the forefront, giving this depth and persistence. Drink now through 2023.
The 2016 Chardonnay River Block delivers gorgeous grapefruit, ripe apple and lime leaves with hints of baking bread, nutmeg and yuzu with a waft of ginger. Medium to full bodied, the palate sings with grapefruit and lime freshness, marked by a racy line, finishing long and minerally.
The Rochioli family has been growing grapes on its 136-acre ranch since the 1930s. In 1987, Tom Rochioli created the first Rochioli Estate Pinot Noir which Wine Spectator named “The Best Pinot Noir in America.” The Rochioli Vineyard is situated in a very diverse part of the Russian River Valley promoting diversity in the soil types, proximity to the ocean, as well as the contours of the valley, allowing for morning fog and cool evening breezes.
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 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.