Wine Spotlight: 2018 Martaella Vineyard Chardonnay
After several vintages sourcing beautiful Pinot Noir grapes from the Martaella Vineyard in the heart of Russian River Valley, we were thrilled to be offered an incredible selection of heirloom Chardonnay clones. This inaugural release of Martaella Vineyard Chardonnay is bright and expressive with luscious fruit notes balanced with an undercurrent of minerality. The inclusion of the Montrachet selection drives the aromatic intensity and unique flinty flavors. A Grand Crew Member exclusive release that is available only while supplies last. Learn more about our Grand Crew membership here.
After several years of drought, heat and early harvests, 2018 was a breath of fresh air and a return to a more normal harvest onset. The season began with a cold, wet winter, which set the pace in that it delayed vine development by 3-4 weeks. Budbreak began mid to late March, followed by a mild, sunny spring. When bloom ensued in mid to late May, the weather was just right, with very little wind and no rain to damage the delicate flowers. When growers saw the generous potential cluster count after flowering, they knew it was going to be an ample crop. The nearly perfect weather throughout the summer months led to a very large, yet excellent quality crop. The month of August yielded typical, foggy mornings, with sun finally breaking through late morning and vanishing again late afternoon. Harvest commenced on August 30th and we were finished by September 29th, just before the rain came. Despite the quantity of clusters per vine, flavor, concentration and tannin levels were quite excellent. Canopy management was extremely important in that fruit thinning was necessary at multiple stages of vine development.
Wafting scents of citrus flowers and airy perfume introduce our first Chardonnay offering from the beautiful Martaella Vineyard. White peaches, golden nectarines, and dried apricots are married with an array of freshly baked biscuits and honeycomb. Tangerine oils and Meyer lemon zest caress the palate while an undercurrent of crushed seashells lend weight and mystique to this delicious wine.
Martaella Vineyard is located in the heart of Russian River Valley in an area known as Laguna de Santa Rosa. The 58-acre property was initially planted in 2005 before being expanded in 2008, and currently has 42 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The climate in this beautiful neighborhood of the Russian River Valley is heavily influenced by the intrusion of fog from the Pacific Ocean, which cools the region down by as much as 40 degrees. The vineyard was planted with a very high vine density, similar to the way vines are planted in Burgundy, France. High density planting yields smaller berries, smaller clusters and better overall concentration and balance. Four heirloom selections of Chardonnay were planted to express the uniqueness of the site and the beauty of the varietal. The Montrachet selection produces small clusters with incredible concentration and intensity.
Journey to a winemaking region just hours north of San Francisco rich in diversity and distinctive terroir, a well-kept secret tucked amongst the towering redwoods and influenced by the Pacific Ocean: the Russian River Valley. Over half a century ago, pioneering growers recognized this region as a place that just might produce Pinot Noir that rivaled the villages of Burgundy. After decades of winemaking and selective planting, our valley has become internationally known for producing pinot that is distinctly American and reflects the natural influences of our terroir.
Intro to Gary Farrell Winery
Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery is a 39-year pioneer of cool climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley. Winemaker Theresa Heredia joined us in 2012, carrying on our legacy of crafting Burgundian-styled, varietally expressive small-lot artisan wines capturing the balance and stylistic elegance of some of the finest vineyards in the Russian River Valley AVA and beyond; including Rochioli, Allen, Bacigalupi, Hallberg, Ritchie, Olivet Lane, Durell, Gap’s Crown, Fort Ross and Bien Nacido. Theresa works closely with our growers to showcase the exceptional fruit from their vineyards in each of her wines.