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From the wine archives:

2016 Peay Vineyards Estate Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast

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A collage of photographs and graphics that represent this Cuvée. This image is also used as the product image for wines of this Cuvée.

Estate Chardonnay

The most frequent comment we receive when we pour our wines for people is, “I hate Chardonnay, but I love yours?” Hmm. Do you hate Chardonnay, or do you hate a certain style of Chardonnay that has become synonymous with California Chardonnay? Chardonnay can be rich, fat and buttery or steely, green, and chalky. And, of course, everything in between. Peay Estate Chardonnay falls somewhere towards the leaner style of Chardonnay but we do not wish to forfeit complexity, depth, and texture to the gods of acidity. That is why we chose the West Sonoma Coast as our home. Due to the cold, moderate weather we have an abundance of acid in our grapes and can wait to pick our fruit until October when the grapes are ripe, the flavors are still in the orchard fruit realm, and sugars are low. As a result, we can use traditional Burgundian winemaking methods to bring forth complexity and nuance as we don’t risk losing verve and ending up with heavy, weighed down wines. These methods include primary fermentation in barrel instead of tank, secondary fermentation (the much maligned malolactic-fermentation) to soften a wine and add texture, stirring of yeast to enhance silkiness and add some flintiness at times, and in the end, we bottle wines unfined and unfiltered.

The result? Our Estate Chardonnay is singular and outstanding. There is a transparency to our site unadorned with clunky winemaking decisions or overt ripeness. The wine often features a floral top end with a whiff of smoke, mint leaf, and some Marcona almond notes supported by a salty, lemony finish. The silky texture and creaminess of the mid-palate hints at richness but is held taut by bright acidity that tells you this is a Peay Chardonnay. And our Chardonnay will improve with age. On release, they are vibrant and edgy and quite pleasing and with a few years become more integrated and nuanced. I have had 15-year-old Peay Chardonnay that are still kicking. Not all our Chardonnay will age for decades but we can assure you they will evolve and develop for at least a decade from release.

I admit, I am guilty of getting excited about our Chardonnay. As with many of our wines, Chardonnay from our vineyard has only gotten better with every vintage. Like Peay Chardonnay for its’ directness, freshness, and minerality while still showing texture, finesse, and complexity? Here it is in spades, the complete package. The nose has lemon curd, flinty smokiness, and yeasty notes akin to the 2004, 2006, 2011, and 2013 Chardonnays. On the palate there is an intense mineral and lemon merengue beam of flavor with a little roundness on the mid palate. The flavor moves back and expands in your mouth ending very clean and a little salty. I love drinking this wine now and, with this structure, I know I will love drinking it in 5 years, 10 years and, likely, in 15 years. I poured the 2004 at an exclusive dinner at my UK importer’s private dining room last June and no one could believe how well complex and delicious it was (especially considering it was 6th leaf fruit). Avowed Old World attendees asked how many bottles they could buy. Alas, the answer was none. I have 2 bottles—total—left in our cellar. But right now, I have plenty of the 2016. I am completely confident stacking this up against any white Burgundy at double the price. Bring it on.

 

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Our wines are made from grapes grown on our 53-acre hilltop vineyard located above a river in the far northwestern corner of the West Sonoma Coast, 4 miles from the Pacific Ocean. We grow Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne. You can browse our current offerings in our online Wine Shop.

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Want Some Wine?

Our wines are made from grapes grown on our 53-acre hilltop vineyard located above a river in the far northwestern corner of the West Sonoma Coast, 4 miles from the Pacific Ocean. We grow Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne. You can browse our current offerings in our online Wine Shop.

Shop