Valravn Chardonnay 2018
A warm summer in the Sonoma Coast provided for a lush core of ripe peach and pineapple. These fresh fruit notes are balanced by richer flavors of toasted hazelnuts, marzipan, and toasted coconut from barrel aging. Overall, the Valravn Chardonnay walks the delicate line between high toned freshness and the more powerful flavors of the barrel-fermented Chardonnay.
The team behind Valravn has been making wine in Sonoma County for over ten years. Along the way, they’ve established a dynamic network of friends and colleagues that include vineyard owners, growers and winemakers. Because of those forged relationships and friendships, they secured exclusive access to grapes from fantastic vineyards, overseeing hands-on production from vineyard to bottle. While they successfully navigated and maneuvered their way through the negociant market in the past, the next evolutionary step for the team was Valravn.
Launched in 2014, Valravn started with Zinfandel from a friend’s property that they were not going to use for their own production (and not just any zinfandel grapes; these were the old, bush-pruned gnarly vines, envied by every winemaker). In 2017, the range was expanded to include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon from key sites throughout Sonoma County.
Today, the team at Valravn continue to see out similar opportunities, finding a parcel here and a row there and then they bring it all together to craft quintessential Sonoma County wines, out of the gate approachable, delicious and table ready.
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.
Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.
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.