Stuhlmuller Vineyards Alexander Valley Chardonnay 2007
The 2007 growing season was an excellent vintage for Chardonnay in Sonoma County. A nice warm spring, and two early-season heat spikes in mid-June and early July helped set the stage for a relatively early harvest. Our Chardonnay harvest coincided with a heat spell in late August and concluded the second week of September. The overall quality was exceptional, with clean, pure-fruit flavors and refreshing acidity at lower alcohol levels.
This wine displays a pale gold color with green reflections. Aromas of pineapple, sweet white corn and spicy Asian pear combine with notes of fresh nuts, barrel spice and hints of ginger. On the palate it balances medium acidity with integrated oak and a lush texture revealing layers of pineapple, pear, lemon cream pie, honeysuckle and spice.
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.