(2019) From Lodi in the northern central valley, between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the blend is 79% Zinfandel, 20% Petite Sirah and 1% of the red-fleshed Alicante Bouschet. Matured for 18 months in French oak, it comes from vineyards first planted 100 years ago, and is a big fruitcake-rich style of wine, overflowing with plum, spice and plump Agen prune, the palate delivering a bucketload of fruit, all given an edge by a keen raspberry acidity, the alcohol big and powerful and the finish coated with a sheen of oak.
(2018) From coastal-influenced vineyards near San Luis Obispo, this is quite a buttery and ripe, 'golden' Chardonnay that's not shy on creamy oak or fruit. The palate is creamy too, lots of texture and citrus fruit moving into more tropical, pineapple and mango tones, then decent acidity to harness any excess and leave the finish clean and medium-crisp.
(2018) The MacMurray Ranch is former home of Hollywood film star Fred MacMurray, now a wine estate in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma in California, and today owned by the Gallo family. The region is most famed for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but this Pinot Gris is very attractive, the nose suffused with a fig and quince richness, and a warming layer of baked apple as well as some spiciness. In the mouth it has loads of sweet, ripe fruit, a little toasty underpinning suggesting some lees ageing, but very good orange acidity that gives the wine's considerible length and concentration very good balance to the finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2018) A nicely clean and fresh style, slightly more open than the other Chardonnays, opening to good fruit and creamy golden oak notes. A touch of flintiness. Really drinking well, the balance is all you could look for when marrying Californian sunshine with astute and careful winemaking. Precise.
(2018) Fruit goes straight to press as whole clusters and then to barrel for fermentation, which normally takes 4 to 6 weeks. The wine goes through malolactic, but there is no lees stirring. After one year the wine is decanted to steel for an additional six months. Andy says some herbal element in this wine is encouraged by close planting and a slightly shaded canopy. This wine is both a vineyard selection and barrel selection with a lower pH (higher acidity) than might be found in white Burgundy for example. Very subtle oak, just an oatmeal sheen and a touch of lime and apple skins, a little wild yeast lightly earthy character, there is a fruit skin grip and texture, notable acidity and grip, fullness and an orange zest tang, really nicely balancing grip and richness with steely freshness.
(2018) A blend of two vineyards, Ritchie (66%) and Lorenzo, one sandy and giving full, rich fruit, one clay and giving more lean structure. Same vinification as the Estate wine. Slightly broader, more creamy character, a little more toast and almond, the fruit still keen and citrussy, but that nuttiness and softness differentiates. Much more ripeness and golden, luxurious Chardonnay character, but still plenty of grip and acid freshness.
(2018) This contains a proportion of Hyde fruit, from the Wente Clone. Absolutely delicious golden Chardonnay, with deep buttery notes but such delicious freshness, creamy ripe and so moreish, the slippery texture and ripeness making this hugely drinkable, nutty and citrus fresh in the finish. A wine with a huge instant gratification quotient: great drinkability and balance.
(2018) From the famous Hyde vineyard, this block planted in 1982 and organically farmed. A wine that took 10 months to complete fermentation according to Andy, in Chassin-coopered barrels. Deep and 'dirtier' aromas, lots of earthy almost chocolate aromas here, wild herbs and some juicy tangerine quality, but again the zipping freshness of the acidity and note of flint is thrilling. What a layered and complex, terroir-driven Chardonnay.
(2018) From young vines a fruity and youthful style - Andy says "You cannot make profound wines from very young vines." So this is aimed at early drinking and is apparently very popular as a by-the-glass wine in upmarket restaurants. It comes from an old massal selection of vines. Only 10% sees oak, and I thought it had just lovely buoyant cherry and red plum fruit, nice spice and a touch of tobacco. Similar palate, juicy and vital, delicious tang and cherry flesh and juiciness, finishing with a kirsch like intensity but lovely balance and energy. OK, not the layering of the other Pinots perhaps, but delightful.
(2018) A blend of two vineyards, the Occidental Road Vineyard, a 1990 planting of a Massal selection, plus their own sandy vineyard, O'Connel. Andy describes it as "A crafted wine, rather than a grown wine," with some whole bunches in the ferment, very few punch downs, more gentle remontage, and a long fermentation. It sees 45% new French oak. Fantastic glossy, deep black nose, almost cassis ripeness, Some char and coffee richness, graphite too. Delicious balance again, with the ripe plushness and just a touch of briar character, again texturally rich and dense, but the cherry freshness of the acidity cleanses beautifully. This tastes very youthful, but has such obvious quality.