Stonestreet Estate Chardonnay 2017
As a blend of their best Chardonnay vineyard sites, the Estate bottling is one of the most compelling illustrations of the mountain. This wine is blended with shrewd precision, balancing aromatic intrigue, texture and the Mayacamas’ signature structural elements into a pure reflection of the vintage. The 2017 Estate Chardonnay exhibits Bosc pear and caramel with delicate salinity. The substantial palate exhibits toffee, cashew brittle and salted grilled peaches and finishes long with savory tension.
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Lisa Valtenbergs blends this wine from parcels on the Jackson family’s Alexander Mountain Estate, a 5,500-acre property on the western slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains. This is a classic California chardonnay in the best sense: A fresh, oak-guided beauty in shades of green-gold and white. Oak contributes a hint of butterscotch sweetness to an otherwise savory wine, layering scents of white roses, apples and wildflower honey through a lasting finish. The wine feels gracious, perplexing, intense and pure.
Moving to the Chardonnays, the 2017 Chardonnay Estate was fermented and aged 11 months in 33% new French oak. It’s a clean and crisp, with terrific notes of stone fruits, brioche, and white flowers. Possessing medium to full body, ample pure fruit, and a balanced style, drink it over the coming 4-5 years.
The 2017 Chardonnay Estate has fresh, crunchy fruit notes of red apples, apricots and waxy lemons with nuances of chalk dust, shaved almond and baker's yeast. Medium-bodied, elegant, youthful and laden with apple and peaches flavors, it has a well-poised, refreshing finish.
In the autumn of 1989, Jess Jackson acquired the Zellerbach winery and renamed it in honor of his late father, Jess Stonestreet Jackson. Stonestreet quickly garnered international acclaim for their powerful reds and luscious whites.
Today, Stonestreet wines are undergoing a transformation, using fruit from Alexander Mountain Estate and new winemaking techniques. Alexander Mountain Estate, with lean, well-draining soils and cooler temperature, produces fruit with smaller berries and more intense color and flavor. Stonestreet is dedicated to fulfilling the promise of Alexander Valley's exceptional and distinctive vineyards. Traditional, Old World methods of hand harvesting, small barrel lot production, native yeast fermentation and bottling each wine unfiltered brings out the best in specific grape varieties and provides the quality framework for each Stonestreet wine.
Nearly a northern extension of Napa Valley, Alexander Valley starts just north of the small, Knights Valley, and is just a few minutes drive from the Napa town of Calistoga. It is Sonoma County’s hottest AVA. But the Russian River, which runs through the valley, creates cooler pockets and its soft, alluvial soil is ideal for grape growing, especially Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact, some believe that Alexander Valley Cabernets truly rival the best from Napa Valley and many of the heavy-hitter producers have largely invested here.
In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon, which makes up over 50% of plantings, Merlot and old vine Zinfandel thrive here. Ample, fleshy Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc dominate white wine production. Some old-vine plantings of Grenache have also been discovered and more recent experiments with Sangiovese and Barbera show great promise.
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.