Rodney Strong Chardonnay Chalk Hill
In 1965, our founder Rod Strong was the first to plant Chardonnay in what would later be recognized as the Chalk Hill American Viticultural Area (AVA), established officially in 1983. He recognized the region as distinct from the rest of Russian River Valley for its unique, volcanically-derived, chalky white ash soils, which impart a subtle mineral character to wines grown there.
Storms in late winter gave the vines plenty of water that they would need in the early spring. Warm days from late winter into spring induced the vines into bud break a little earlier than normal. The weather alternated between cool and warm periods throughout the summer, with a few heat spells here and there. Verasion came in July, and sugars slowly accumulated in the berries with the warm sunny days leading up to harvest. We walked each vineyard block, sampling berries, noting the changes in the acid, sugar and tannin levels, as well as looking for the signs that vines give when the fruit is ripe and the vineyard ready to be picked. Harvest commenced as the fruit from each block tasted optimally ripe and delicious.
Chalk Hill Chardonnay boasts toasty vanilla and spice due to time spent in seasoned French oak barrels during fermentation. During the 11 months of barrel aging, we regularly stirred the lees in barrel, which imparts an elegant fullness and creamy texture on the palate. In the glass, the wine is both creamy and crisp, with flavors of golden pear, vanilla, Meyer lemon and a hint of minerality on the long finish. Enjoy over the next one to three years with soft cheeses, fresh crab or roasted pork loin.
Food Pairings: Enjoy over the next one to three years with a gourmet cheese plate, creamy vegetable pasta or grilled halibut.
Appellation: Chalk Hill
T.A.: 0.65 g/100mL
Cellar and Fermentation: 11 months in French oak barrels, 20% new
*Vintage may vary.