Rudd Russian River Chardonnay 1999
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Founded in 1996 by Leslie Rudd, Rudd Estate is a multigenerational winery handcrafting small production wines that reflect the ultimate expression of its world-class terroir by respecting the traditions of the past, challenging the present and imagining future possibilities. Over the course of two decades, the team at Rudd Estate has become intimately familiar with the geologic nuances that make its terroir unique: iconic red volcanic soils, the alluvial fan, and the subterranean stream beds. Vineyards located in Napa Valley’s most celebrated Oakville appellation produce red Bordeaux varietals, and vineyards located on Mt. Veeder at a 1500-foot elevation produce Rudd’s Sauvignon Blanc and Susan’s Blanc. These white wines are a unique expression of these varietals and a rarity in the Valley given hillsides are typically reserved for red varietals.
Samantha Rudd recently took the helm of Rudd Estate and has championing organic and biodynamic farming practices with the support of the winegrowing and vineyard team. Committed to creating an environment where hard work, creativity, innovation, and craftsmanship are valued, she instituted an Unlikely Collaborators Residency Program in 2016. This multi-disciplinary residential program for individuals in the arts, sciences or business who share Rudd Estate’s values and would like to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Rudd team, exploring new ideas in the idyllic setting of the Napa Valley. In today’s device-driven world, there is little opportunity for individuals with shared values but different backgrounds to connect face-to-face and learn from and be inspired by one another. The program’s goal is to help correct this and to encourage individuals with different perspectives and sets of experiences to engage one another in order to facilitate innovative ideas and creative solutions that will add value to both parties’ present and future endeavors.
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.