2009 Alexander Valley Estate Chardonnay
From its beautiful bright lemon color to its inviting aromas of citrus fruit, lemon blossom, ginger, white nectarine, wet stone and spice, this is a vibrant and refreshing wine. On the palate, perfectly balanced oak and alcohol support lovely notes of green pear and apple, white flowers and citrus oil.
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Stuhlmuller Vineyards is located at the southern edge of the Alexander Valley, where it converges with two other highly regarded Sonoma County appellations, Chalk Hill and the Russian River Valley. On its eastern edge, the 150-acre vineyard borders the Russian River. Situated in a unique location that is part river benchlands and part hillside, the vineyard benefits from its alluvial gravel soils and the more rocky soils that comprise the hillside sections of the vineyard.
Five blocks of Chardonnay are planted in the well-drained, benchland soils. The famous Gauer Upper Barn clone, one of California’s most sought-after Chardonnay selections, comprises 80 percent of these vines. The 2009 Alexander Valley Chardonnay is crafted from a mix of Gauer and clone 4 fruit from our estate. From the Gauer clone, the Chardonnay derives flavors of Asian pear, spice and a natural nuttiness, while the clone 4 grapes contribute mild tropical flavors.
Despite rain in early February, 2009 began with a warm, dry winter. The winter heat led to an early bud break. Rains in May and June were followed by heat spikes in June and July and a fairly mild August, before a hot finish to the season. The crop was abundant, and to ensure quality, we dropped fruit and picked over a long period in multiple passes to give us a more complex palette of fruit to work with. This approach also helped maintain acidity and to achieve lower alcohols. We also focused on extremely careful sorting.
To accentuate the signature fruit and natural nuttiness of our estate grapes, we fermented this wine with 100% indigenous yeasts. Aging occurred in both barrels (94%) and larger casks (6%), all of which were French oak (8% new). The wine was fermented sure lie for 8 months and underwent 85% indigenous malolactic fermentation.