Crystal-clear bright pale straw.  Nice chunk of oak in the nose, but obliterated by creamy pear and ripe white peach.  A background of Granny Smith entices a rosy patina of wet earth and India ink out of the shadows.  Beautiful absolute TEXTBOOK Russian River Chardonnay, with oak doing the thing it does so well on this variety, and not blocking the massive fruit flying in all directions.

Here’s the deal.  How about we stop being hung up on oak & Chardonnay?  How about we stop judging–AND LABELING–this variety based on its oak-treatment?  How about we all admit there might have been a slight problem with oak & butter way back when and it still remains a lowest-common-denominator for drinkers with no palate.  But we all know better than that!  Why do you lower yourself–you actual wine-people–to delineating what Chardonnays you will or will not drink based on going FULL-OPPOSITE into badge-of-honor situations of who can use the least oak?  There’s no reason to cut all the oak out of Chardonnay!  Barrel-aging does a wonderful dance with this variety, and oak has provided a magic palette on which Chardonnay can paint its sumptuous masterpieces for CENTURIES.  If  you have to STATE on a label whether your Chard saw oak or not, you’ve already sold out to people whose eyes are bigger than their brains.  Just make it.  Make it however you want the grape to express itself, make it balanced and representative of both your reputation and the grape’s pedigree, and stick it in a bottle!  Let people judge the WINE, not the recipe.

If you know the history of Martin Ray, you know they know how to make ridiculously-good Chardonnay.  Here they’ve brought their prowess to Sonoma–and the famous Dutton Ranch–and create blockbuster Chards year after year.

In the mouth, full sweet nectar envelopes more tart apple and nectarine, cellar-floor and pine-pitch chiming in with their see-saw of opposing nuances.  Full, glyceriney mouth-feel–Parmesan and ricotta–all dipped in a rich bright fruit-bowl of flavors.  CLEAN finish, no overt green or tannin, just a slow forever tapering-off of fruit into a tiny spritely alcohol and acid.

I love this wine.

2015 MARTIN RAY Chardonnay Mill Station Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Sonoma Co. 13.8

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