The Ferrari-Carano Sonoma County Chardonnay 2015 is 100% Chardonnay sourced from Ferrari-Carano Estate vineyards in Alexander Valley AVA, Dry Creek AVA, the Russian River Valley AVA, and the Carneros AVA all inside the Sonoma County AVA. Those 4 AVA’s are an excellent selection of cool growing areas and warmer regions, giving this Chard a nice taste of Sonoma feel. Sixty separate lots of grapes were selected from these vineyards and they were fermented and aged separately, the fermentation was in stainless steel vats and the aging was in French oak barrels, 23% new oak, the rest used barrels. Chardonnay that is aged in oak usually undergoes malolactic fermentation and here, 89% of the juice received this treatment. This Chardonnay was aged “on lees or sur lees” which mean the dead yeast was kept in the barrels (any time you remove something from the barrel or tank you also remove flavor) and the lees were stirred every 2 weeks (stirring the lees adds a creamy flavor). The alcohol content is a ripe 14.2%.
The color is a clear, shiny golden yellow. The nose is lemons and apples, a touch of cream, a little spice, some guava, and peach. This is a very California Chardonnay, but with good length and solid acidity. It starts with a mix of tart apple and rounded lemon, a little bit of butter (not too much), grapefruit, and pear. The mid-palate adds a little peaches and cream, along with tart lime, this is NOT a flavor challenged Chardonnay. The acidity is right in the pocket, giving the flavors plenty of space to unfold. The finish is full and long.
The Ferrari-Carano Sonoma County Chardonnay 2015 is a delicious, well-made Chardonnay, they certainly didn’t skimp on the grapes or production. Every winery has their own take on how to produce Chardonnay, it really is the winemakers grape. I know single vineyard wines and even more so single lot wines are the acclaimed and very pricey wines, but for my money, a wine from well-chosen grapes from a variety of climates produce excellent wines year in and year out. Those single vineyards wines can be great one vintage and not so great the next but the price never goes down. So, when it comes to Sonoma, a taste of Sonoma Chardonnay is a very good thing.