White Wine Patz Hall Dutton Ranch Chardonnay 2017. Patz and Hall was founded in 1988 by four long-time Napa residents who between them have expertise in almost every area of the wine industry. Rather than having their own vines, they have worked hard to build real partnerships with their grape growers and are able to pick top quality fruit from prime vineyards across Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, and Monterey which are then vinified in a state-of-the-art winery in Sonoma. Warren Dutton was an early pioneer of Chardonnay in Sonoma, and this bottling is made from some of the oldest plantings of the variety in the county. Located in Russian River’s cool climate Green Valley, the heirloom vines and cool conditions combine to produce intense, aromatic fruit with plenty of elegance and finesse. This character is enhanced by fermenting the fruit with indigenous yeasts and ageing the young wine in 35% new French oak barrels. Delicate nutmeg, vanilla, and toasted almonds mingle on the nose with ripe guava, zingy ginger, and rich peach notes. On the palate there’s a generous full body, smooth texture, and lingering finish with plenty of orchard fruit and spice from the oak. The balance of power and restraint make this a great wine to cellar for a few more years, although it’s ideal for enjoying now with roast chicken, creamy pasta dishes, and hard cheeses.
White Wine Patz Hall Dutton Ranch Chardonnay 2017
White Wine Pillitteri Estates Vidal Icewine 2017. The story of Pillitteri Estates begins in Sicily where the namesake family tended vines and made wine. In the 1940s 12-year old Gary Pilltteri and his father emigrated to the Niagara region of Canada where they later bought a small fruit farm. Despite the cool climate the Niagara region slowly started to become known for its wines, and the family planted their own wines and began experimenting with Icewine in the 1980s. Today three generations of the family are involved in the running of the estate which has over 100 acres of vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake planted with both hybrid and classic cool climate grapes like Riesling and Gewurztraminer. This Icewine is made with fruit from the family’s oldest vineyards, with the fruit carefully assessed for sugar, acidity, and alcohol balance before it is deemed high enough quality. The wine is made by allowing the grapes to freeze and then pressing them quickly to extract a juice that is high in sugar. The result is an opulent and intensely sweet dessert wine with a gorgeous light golden hue and enticing notes of candied citrus, ripe pear, lychees, and honey. On the palate there’s a rich, unctuous texture, smooth mouthfeel, and long finish with plenty of tropical fruit and spiced notes.
White Wine Quilt Chardonnay 2017. Fifth generation winemaker Joseph Wagner is the youngest son of Chuck Wagner, founder of Napa’s legendary Caymus Vineyards. Joseph knew his way around a winery from an early age and started to work alongside his father at Caymus at the tender age of 19. In 2001 he decided to create his own single vineyard Pinot Noir, Belle Glos, which quickly grew a cult following amongst collectors and wine lovers. Quilt is Joseph’s take on premium Napa Chardonnay with fruit carefully selected from top vineyards in the cooler Carneros AVA planted close to the San Pablo Bay. Here the dense clay soils and maritime climate help to produce elegant Chardonnays with a well-built structure and a streak of minerality. The must is fermented and matured in French oak barrels for 15 months to add plenty of rich, creamy texture and spiced notes. On the nose there are enticing notes of bright lemon, pear, nectarine and kiwi while the first sip reveals an opulent tropical fruit core, refined tannins and a smooth mouthfeel. The finish is long with lingering hints of spice, woodsmoke, vanilla and toast. Keep in the cellar for a few more years or pair with roast chicken, creamy pasta dishes, or a hearty aubergine parmigiana.