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Wayfarer Chardonnay 2016
Enjoy this wine in its youth or over the next 10 to 15 years while it continues to develop in the bottle.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
In tandem with his daughter Cleo and renowned winemaker Bibiana Gonzales Rave, Pahlmeyer drives to make intricate wines of transcendence, answering to powerful, ever-unpredictable climate that rewards only the most observant and meticulous. It is an endeavor of true passion, an experiment that pushes the exactitude of winegrowing and winemaking to the farthest limits.
On the far western edge of the larger Sonoma Coast appellation, the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA hugs right up against the Pacific coast. Vineyards, planted at rugged elevations between 920 to 1,800 feet, occupy only two percent of the total land in the AVA. Fort Ross-Seaview growers believe that the region boasts an ideal mix of sunshine, cool air and beneficial stress for producing high quality Chardonnay and Pinot noir.
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 practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.