As emissaries of a Napa Valley Mountain Cabernet house, we often thirst for a crisp, refreshing sip of chilled white for a change of pace. Slipping over to Hog Island Oyster Co. (200 yards from Bar Craig in the Oxbow market) for a few Tomales Bay gems over lunch, we found our white wine choices to be somewhat limited. They don’t buy Craig cab in Paris, so why should I support my California oyster habit with French Muscadet? Too often, the domestic whites we encountered proved sweet, or oaked-up, or fat and lazy … or all three at once! To counter this trend, our Durell Chardonnay exhibits tremendous complexity that is supported by the bright citrus, orange rind, minerality and nervous acid that are the hallmarks of the vineyard. It is our nod to Puligny from the Sonoma Valley. No malo, no problem.
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||September 14-26, 2012
||6 months 40% stainless; 50% used French oak; 10% new French oak
||April 30, 2013
SEEK OUT ... if you recently test drove a Ferrari and wished that the suspension was slightly firmer.
... if in your world, white wines are not “what happens” until red
AVOID ... if you often enjoy butterscotch pudding while guiding your 1998 Buick LeSabre to the Renaissance festival. If only the ride were a touch more plush.
Bill Price’s beautiful property sits just above the Carneros appellation in Sonoma Valley. The shallow, sandstone soils, permeated with marine fossils and a huge number of large, smooth stones, keep the yields low. The cool, breezy climate resulting from the proximity of San Pablo Bay and the Petaluma Gap allow the tiny berries to mature slowly and evenly.
The 2012 vintage will not likely make our accountant happy, with a mere 360 cases produced from our section. For Chardonnay lovers though, 2012 was a dream vintage. The growing season was moderate, long and dry. Our 2012 Durell Chardonnay is bright, complex, tightly wound and delicious. We expect the wine to be in full flight sometime in late 2015, but it has the charm of youth at the moment.