2018 Rodney Strong Chalk Farm ChardonnayThe Wine Twit
92% fermented in French oak barrels, 92% malolactic, aged 9 months. In 1965, founder Rod Strong was the first to plant Chardonnay in what would later be recognized as the Chalk Hill American Viticultural Area (AVA), established officially in 1983. He recognized the region as distinct from the rest of Russian River Valley for its unique chalky white soils, which impart a subtle mineral character to wines grown there. Barrel fermentation in new and seasoned French oak adds toasty vanilla and spice complexities, and during 9 months of barrel ageing, the lees were regularly stirred, adding a creamy texture and increasing richness on the palate. Encouraging secondary fermentation adds additional complexity, and in the glass the wine is both creamy and crisp, with ripe apple, Meyer lemon, wet stone, and spiced vanilla flavours.