Appellation: Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County
Rated 96 points by the Wine Advocate: "Year in and year out, the Chardonnay Marcassin Estate is one of the two or three most profound Chardonnays made in California, and a wine that could dominate any tasting of white Burgundies. The 2009 offers up notes of honeysuckle, citrus oil, tangerines, white peach and wet gravel followed by a wine with a full-bodied mouthfeel and zesty acidity. It should evolve for 10-15 years. Both 2009 and 2010 were cool years, and both were eclipsed in coldness by 2011. I still have their vintages from the nineties, both the first Estate bottlings and of course wines they made from vineyards such as the Upper Barn-Gauer (now owned by Kendall-Jackson) and the Lorenzo Vineyard from the mid-nineties that are still in fabulous conditions. So there is an argument to be made that Marcassin along with Mt. Eden and the old Chalones from the seventies and early eighties are examples of the longest-lived Chardonnays ever produced in California.?" -- Robert Parker in Issue #210 of the Wine AdvocateMore information about this producer: "The visionary husband and wife team of John Wetlaufer and Helen Turley have created a largely unprecedented legacy of extraordinary quality that is unsurpassed by anyone else in Northern California. They have built a winery in Windsor, California in Sonoma Valley with 20 acres of vines situated high above the fog line, on the Sonoma Coast. They were among the first to recognize the extraordinary potential for world-class quality wine production on the Sonoma Coast. Their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines are planted at elevations between 800 and 1,400 feet. The plantings are either 5 x 8 or 3 x 6.5. The Chardonnay clonal material is dominated by Old Wente, but there are also selections from the Hyde, Mt. Eden, Dijon 95 and Dijon 76 clones. The Pinot Noir clonal material is dominated by the Calera selection, with some Old Swan that came via the old Martin Ray clone that came via Dehlinger and Kistler. The second part of their 20-acre vineyard was planted, at least for the Pinot Noir, largely with the Calera selection as well as the newer Dijon clones 777 and 667.The winemaking techniques are clearly artisanal and very Burgundian, although these Chardonnays tend to age better than most white Burgundies made since 1996. I tasted two vintages, the Three Sisters, which is a Martinelli-farmed vineyard from which they will no longer be using fruit, in addition to their profound estate vineyard. 2010 produced just over two tons of fruit per acre and was a vintage that appears to be slightly more intense and have a higher ceiling than 2009."