Sixto Roza Hills Chardonnay 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
A beautiful, layered white with sliced cooked apples, white-peach pie and some nuts. It’s full-bodied and rich, yet focused and formed. Just a hint of yogurt to make it interesting and serious at the same time. Drink or hold.
Beginning with a generous amount of oak on the nose, the 2017 Chardonnay Roza Hills Vineyard offers aromas of roasted pineapple, baked pears, lemon curd and elegant French baking spices. Medium to full-bodied, the wine is suddenly spicy across the mid-palate and ends with a lingering finish that accentuates the alcohol.
SIXTO, the Chardonnay-only label from Charles Smith and Brennon Leighton. Inspired by the story of musician Sixto Rodriguez (featured in the acclaimed documentary "Searching for Sugar Man"), Charles similarly wanted to resurrect something that was always great, but was waiting to be rediscovered as in the old Chardonnay vines in Washington State. Being the sixth label that Charles has created (sextus translates to "sixth" in Latin), the name SIXTO was a perfect fit.
A large and geographically diverse AVA capable of producing a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington state’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA even extends into northern Oregon!
Because of its size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which are both further split into smaller, noteworthy appellations. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences extreme winters and long, hot, dry summers. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the entire year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.
Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling. These range in style from citrus and green apple dominant in cooler sites, to riper, fleshier wines with stone fruit flavors coming from the warmer vineyards.
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.