Williams Selyem Drake Estate Vineyard Chardonnay 2016
This wine has a beautiful nose of Meyer lemon, yellow apple and spiced pear. Underneath the fruit elements are notes of citrus and fresh melon. The oak is so seamless that it adds a depth without crossing the line. The freshness on the palate is striking with flavors of lemon and spiced pear that transition into minerals in the middle palate. A hint of quinine on the finish beautifully punctuates this elegant offering.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Made using about 20% new oak, the 2016 Chardonnay Drake Estate Vineyard is restrained on the nose, slowly giving up aromas of cheese rind, toast, crème fraîche, Meyer lemon and red apple peel. Medium-bodied, the palate is giving up more at this stage, with white peach and nutty touches, a creamy texture and juicy acidity, finishing lifted. 383 cases produced.
John and Kathe Dyson purchased Roscoe Drake’s apple orchard in 1998, the year they also bought Burt Williams and Ed Selyem’s winery. The Drake property, where the Russian River passes through Guerneville, has since become a cool site for pinot noir, and for this cool-fruited chardonnay. The wine’s richness takes the creamy yellow-apple flavors in the direction of pineapple and mango, all of it integrated into a crowd-pleasing style with smooth, supple textures and nutty notes of oak aging.
A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
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.