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A typical day in Russian River begins with cool fog that fades by mid-morning as the warm sun transforms the vineyard into a warm, welcoming place buzzing with bees. In the late afternoon the ocean air sweeps in from the west cooling the vineyard down. Soils of clay and volcanic rock, carved into rolling hills by the Russian River, are the bass line to the melody played by the sun, wind and fog.
Platt sits 3 miles from the Coast and the vineyards cascade down a south-facing ridgeline. The Goldridge Fine Sandy loam soils are the most sought after for Pinot Noir and afford excellent drainage. The consistent west wind provides good airflow which helps keep the grapes clean. The Chardonnay blocks sit at the higher elevations between 625 and 850 feet above sea level and are frequently (but not always) above the fog that fills the valley most every morning. This very limited production wine.
The Ritchie Vineyard is one of the most famous Chardonnay sites in Sonoma County. The vineyard was planted in the early 1970’s to a Wente clone of Chardonnay on AXR-1 rootstock. It was later discovered that AXR-1 was not phylloxera resistant and owner Kent Ritchie was told he would need to replant the vineyard. Forty years later the vineyard still produces world class fruit!
Just north of our Home Ranch on Starr Road the Bacigalupi family owns approximately 100 acres of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Vineyards. We sourced fruit for the 2014 Flanagan Chardonnay Bacigalupi Vineyard from one of their top blocks. Bacigalupi was the source of the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that, famously, beat the French wines at the “Judgement of Paris” tasting in 1976.
We make this wine for one reason only: because it is awesome. This vineyard has been the source of my favorite Viognier in California for many years. Viognier has a tendency to go from not quite ripe to over-ripe very quickly. There is a narrow window where the grape has developed rich flavors but retains the bright acidity that makes the wine lively and attractive.
The Sonoma Coast AVA is becoming known as the top source for cool climate Pinot Noir. Our Pinot Noir is founded in letting each site and each vintage express itself. We do not have a dogmatic approach to wine-making. Pinot Noir, more than any other grape variety, is made in the vineyard.
We acquired the Gap's View Vineyard in early 2015 and have since made many improvements in farming. Our remedial viticultural practices include: replanting a large number of dead vines, taking back positions on weaker vines, composting, pruning for fewer shoots and more moderate crop yields, and using worm tea compost as a soil pro-biotic. With these farming changes we also had the vineyard certified as sustainably farmed. Truly a labor of love, we are thrilled to have this vineyard as a component of our Sonoma Coast blend and to now release for the first time a very limited, vineyard designate wine from this site.
Proprietor's Notes: 2016
Sun Chase is perched on the southwest side of Sonoma Mountain at about 1000 feet elevation. It is next to the well-known Gaps Crown vineyard and is part of the Sonoma Coast AVA. Sun Chase is a relatively young vineyard but we believe it will become known as one of the top sites in Sonoma County.
Platt sits 3 miles from the Coast and the vineyards cascade down a south-facing ridgeline. The Goldridge Fine Sandy loam soils are the most sought after for Pinot Noir and afford excellent drainage. The wind blows reliably out of the west and provides good airflow which helps keep the grapes clean. The vineyard elevation ranges from 425 to 850 feet above sea level and is frequently (but not always) above the fog that fills the valley most every morning.This very limited production wine.
The vineyard is owned by Dick Hyde, whose family also owns the renowned Hyde Vineyard in Napa. The Sonoma Stage Vineyard is one of the coolest vineyards in Sonoma County. Positioned on the south side of Highway 116, between Sonoma and Napa, the vineyard is subject to cool winds both from San Pablo Bay to the south and the Petaluma Gap to the west.
Balance is the key to our Cabernet. Mountain fruit with great structure and concentration is the foundation of our wine. The Cabernet is beautifully delineated and has great aromatics. It is a harmonious intersection of site driven fruit, the finest new French oak, and classic winemaking.
We craft this “Tete de Cuvee” blend of Cabernet and Merlot from the very best barrels in our winery. The blend varies each year and is driven by our commitment to producing a wine that can rival the top wines of Bordeaux or Napa. Production of this wine is always tiny.
Bennett Valley first became well known for making Merlot back when David Ramey was the winemaker at Matanzas Creek. It's a pleasure to bring great Merlot back to Bennett Valley. The steep hillsides that are the source for our Merlot produce intense fruit with tremendous structure and concentration.
Prominent critics have described our Syrah as reminiscent of the great wines of Hermitage. It exhibits great varietal character and combines a classic Rhone flavor profile with the richness of California. This wine remains a reference point for New World Syrah.