2006 Chardonnay, Freestone Vineyards
Joseph Phelps, of Napa Valley fame, has been working this cool-climate vineyard for years. Now it’s paying off, in this acidic Chardonnay with a tang of the sea. Rich in Meyer lemon, lime, guava and spice flavors, its coating of smoky oak adds exotic levels of buttered toast and crème brûlée. Fascinating and tremendous. — S.H.
Possesses zesty acidity along with notions of orange and lemon blossoms, a steely texture, and a subtle note of wood. It is medium to full-bodied with outstanding freshness, and a very good finish.
Pale gold. Aromas of pineapple, nectarine and butterscotch, lifted by a whiff of lemon drop. Dense and firm-edged, with a distinctly saline quality adding interest to the nectarine and mineral flavors. Racy ripe acidity really carries the fruit on the firm, uncompromisingly dry back end. Serious Chardonnay in the making, with little in the way of easy tropical fruits, and an alcohol level under 14%. Visit website.
Great Eight of 2008
Freestone Vineyards – What a welcome addition to the landscape of California wine. Freestone is owned by the Joseph Phelps family of the Napa Valley and specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast. The wines are all about purity of expression and terroir, but more than that they hark to a style of winemaking that prizes balance and elegance over sheer power. The 2006 Chardonnay is simply stunning. Only a handful of California producers – Kistler, Sonoma Cutrer, Nickel & Nickel, Patz & Hall – play in this league. (Robert Whitley)
Pale straw-yellow. Aromas of peach pit and skin, with musky suggestions of quinine and brown spices. Juicy and quite firm in the mouth, with somewhat tart acidity keeping the stone fruit flavors under wraps. Offers very good intensity, but the lingering finish seems quite ungiving today.