Fresh off tasting the 2018 version, I decided to revisit one that’s been sitting in my cellar for a year (and is still available on the website BTW). Pale yellow with a definite green tinge, bright, crystal-clear and gorgeous, the chartreuse tint carries into the nose with green grass, sagebrush and herbal notes. Definitely acidic, the ‘butteryness’ naturally-occurring in chardonnay is definite, but takes a back seat–along with the hint of oak–to the rich golden fruit the variety SHOULD show in rather un-molested versions. Crenshaw melon and delicate, smoky potpourri play with fir-bark and savory sand in a Chablis-like dance highlighting meaty depth and purity in definition.
Tasting it follows suit. The inherent richness of Chardonnay is unmistakable: perfectly bitter on entry, going immediately awash in a mélange of minuscule peach and kiwi; more lightly-honeyed herb tea and wet wood. It is not a glowing testimony to rash bee-stung tropicality, overt perceived sweetness or glycerin-y roundness, but sparks mineral thoughts and intelligent restraint over multitudes of tiny nuances rather than mind-boggling saccharine oomph. Tannins climb eagerly into the sandbox–these coated in a news-print sort of dank firmness and allowing the only concentration of fruit apparent in the whole wine to glow magnificently. So ridiculously clean and razor-sharp in the finish, it is a seamless–and beautifully harsh–testimony to intelligent Chardonnay: one hitting strong notes on ALL the qualifiers true lovers of the grape demand.
2017 MARITANA VINEYARDS Chardonnay Shop Block 1967 Dutton Ranch RRV Sonoma 14.0