2019 Chalk Hill Chardonnay Estate
2019 Chalk Hill Chardonnay Estate Subtle gold tones shine through in this 2019 vintage Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. Aromas of red apple and ripe pear meld with hints of honeysuckle and orange-peel and a bit of toasty marshmallow. A bright entry gives way to a creamy, rich texture with extended notes of caramel and Macintosh apple, and a long, clean, juicy finish.
Perhaps no other winery captures the casual luxury of Sonoma County better than Chalk Hill Estate. Founded nearly four decades ago, this spectacular 1300-acre property features 300 acres of vineyards, wilderness areas, winery, hospitality center, culinary garden, residence, stables, and equestrian pavilion.
The winery’s vineyards are thoughtfully woven through the native foliage and contoured to fit the intricate terrain. More than two-thirds of the Chalk Hill Estate remains uncultivated. The higher elevations offer stunning views of the Russian River Valley to the west and the Mayacamas Mountains to the east.
Chardonnay is the world’s most famous white-wine grape and also one of the most widely planted. Although the most highly regarded expressions of the variety are those from Burgundy and California, many high-quality examples are made in Italy, Australia, New Zealand and parts of South America. Describing the flavors of Chardonnay is not easy. While many Chardonnay wines have high aromatic complexity, this is usually due to winemaking techniques (particularly the use of oak) rather than the variety’s intrinsic qualities.
Malolactic fermentation gives distinctive buttery aromas. Fermentation and/or maturation in oak barrels contributes notes of vanilla, smoke and hints of sweet spices such as clove and cinnamon. Extended lees contact while in barrel imparts biscuity, doughy flavors. Because of this high level of winemaker involvement, Chardonnay has become known as the “”winemaker’s wine””. The variety itself (although often said to be relatively flavor-neutral) is responsible for most of the fruity flavors found in Chardonnay wines. T
hese range from the tropical (banana, melon, pineapple and guava) to stonefruits (peach, nectarine and apricot), citrus and apples. Climate plays a major role in dictating which fruit flavors a Chardonnay will have. Broadly speaking, warm regions such as California, Chile and much of Australia tend to give more tropical styles. Temperate zones such as southern Burgundy or northern New Zealand create wines marked out by stonefruit notes. The very coolest Chardonnay vineyards (those in Chablis, Champagne and Germany) lean towards green-apple aromas. Mineral descriptors such as chalk, wet stones and crushed seashells also find their way into Chardonnay tasting notes.