lunes, 4 de marzo de 2013

Schug Carneros Chardonnay, Schug Carneros Estate Winery 2009


SCHUG CARNEROS CHARDONNAY, SCHUG CARNEROS ESTATE WINERY 2009

"A wine with the powerful elegance of the finest white Burgundy. It has a ripe, spicy tropical bouquet with flavors that suggest citrus, pear and apple-butter. Well-balanced acidity gives it a crisp, clean finish, making it an excellent wine with food". farehamwinecellar

“An outstanding example of Chardonnay with its bright golden colour, clean aromas of intense acacia honey and pear fruit. It had dry taste and a remarkable body, lively acidity and refreshing mix of honeysuckle and wild yellow flower flavours. It has depth and richness at the end.” Best in Class, International Wine & Spirit Competition 2011

- Winery: Founded in 1980, Schug Carneros Estate Winery is the showcase and life-long dream of one of California's most celebrated winemakers. Walter Schug's reputation blossomed during his tenure as Founding Winemaker for Joseph Phelps Vineyards in the 1970s, where he made California’s first proprietary Bordeaux-Style blend (Insignia) and legendary vineyard designated Cabernets (Backus and Eisele Vineyards). Drawing on his long experience in the production of fine wines in both Europe and California, Walter set up his own winery with his wife Gertrud in the cool, marine climate of the Carneros Appellation. Here he could focus on the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varietals that had always been close to his heart. In 1995 Sonoma-born winemaker Michael Cox came on board at Schug. Trained in Enology at UC Davis, Mike worked in several Californian wineries before he was lured from Napa Valley to Carneros - Sonoma, to work with Walter Schug as his assistant winemaker. One year later he was promoted to Winemaker and placed in charge of the day-to-day winemaking duties, where he remains today. The grapes for Schug Carneros Chardonnay are grown on the cool-climate Carneros Estate vineyard and undergo traditional European winemaking practices of barrel fermentation and aging on the lees (aged “sur-lie” for 8 months; 16% new medium toast French “Allier” oak barrels). Additional complexity was contributed by Chardonnay grown on the Sangiacomo, Ricci, Iund, Hi-Vista, and Cornerstones Vineyards.

- Food & Wine match: Try it with cream soups, seafood, fowl, veal and pasta dishes.

- Price £24

CHARDONNAY

Chardonnay is the world's most famous white wine grape and is behind the finest white Burgundies. It is also one of the most widely planted varieties, although it is generally acknowledged that the best expressions of the grape are found in France, the USA and Australia.

There are myriad descriptors for the aromas and flavors of Chardonnay. Common aromas range from butter and toast through to tropical notes of banana, pineapple and guava. It is also often described as having mineral properties, such as crushed seashells or metal. Its flavor profiles are equally diverse and include grilled nuts, creamy apples, peach, marzipan, mango and even wet stones.

In Canada. Chardonnay is produced as a dry white wine, but also as a viscous and sweet icewine. Certain regions of Australia and New Zealand are noted for the butterscotch and golden syrup flavors of their botrytis Chardonnays.

While Chardonnay has its own intrinsic flavors, it is perhaps more appreciated as a vehicle for other influences, particularly the oak in which it is fermented or matured. Chardonnay that has been both fermented and matured in barrels, particularly when left on its lees, tends to show more finesse and more aromatic integration. It is also likely to have greater stability and therefore better ageing potential, making such wines suitable for cellaring and as an investment.

Chardonnay sold without the influence of oak is often specifically labelled as 'unoaked/unwooded Chardonnay', which indicates just how common the oaked style is. The obvious exception to this is the steely, zingy, mineral-fresh Chablis. But even Chablis is increasingly being made with an oak influence, as demand for the toasted brioche flavor increases.

There is huge variation between the different types of Chardonnay produced. Those from the cooler climates of Chablis and the lower Loire Valley tend to be elegant and refined, and are often associated with aromas of grilled nuts and a mineral palate. The 'blockbuster' Chardonnays from the warm vineyards of California and Australia, however, are high in alcohol, body and flavor - usually with aromas of tropical fruit and sweet vanilla. The grape is also used for sparkling wines in both Champagne and Alsace. Paired with its parent grape, Pinot Noir. it is employed in the majority of sparkling wines in every comer of the winemaking world.

Chardonnay is popular with both wine producers and consumers. It produces high yields, will grow in a broad spectrum of climates and can be made into wine of acceptable quality with relative ease. As a variety, it presents few viticultural problems of any great significance, although in overly warm conditions it can lose its natural add/sugar balance, resulting in flat, overblown wines.

Also, Chardonnay buds and flowers early, so more severe spring frosts have been known to destroy entire crops. Vignerons in Burgundy (particularly in Chablis) have traditionally mititgated this by using braziers to warm the air between vines; the phenomenal potential of Chardonnay grown in cooler climates means that Burgundians are likely to find novel ways to address any environmental challenge.

Synonyms include: Morillon, Pinot Chardonnay, Feiner Weisser Burgunder.

Popular blends include: Champagne Blend, Chardonnay-Pinot Noir, Chardonnay-Chenin Blanc, Chardonnav-Viognier, Chardonnav-Semillon, Chardonnay-Sauvianon Blanc.

Related grape varieties include: Pinot Noir, Gouais Blanc, Chardonnay Rose, Chardonnay Blanc Musaue.

CARNEROS

Carneros (or Los Cameras) is one of the United States' oldest and most celebrated viticultural areas. The area, which covers 90 square miles (230 square km) on the low foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains, was first planted with wine grapes in the late 1830s. It was awarded AVA status in 1983, and has maintained an enviable reputation since then.

Situated at the southern tip of the Sonoma Mountains, at the meeting point of the Napa and Sonoma valleys, the AVA is divided between America's two most famous wine-producing regions. The western half of the AVA lies in Sonoma County, the eastern half in Napa County. In addition to their own Carneros AVA, Carneros vineyards may claim either the Sonoma Valley or Napa Valley appellations depending on which side of the county line they are located.

The Sonoma Mountains sink into the valley floor at the western edge of Sonoma township, depriving Cameras of any shelter from the winds which blow in from the Pacific coast. This, and the afternoon fog from San Pablo Bay (a northern extension of San Francisco Bay), makes the Carneros terroir decidedly cooler than its northern neighbors. Rainfall here is low, however, and only the slow-moving fog provides refreshment on hot summer afternoons.

Thanks to the cool conditions, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay thrive on these plains, free Springtime fog in a Carneros vineyard from the sweltering haze and sunburn encountered on the valley floor further north. They encounter strong, drying winds, but with good vineyard management this can be turned into a disease-reducing bonus rather than a viticultural challenge. These two noble varieties (famed as the king and queen of Burgundy's vineyards) enjoy equal favor in Carneros. They share their realm only with a small quantity of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvianon and Merlot, planted mostly in warmer, more sheltered spots on the Napa side of the AVA.

Although the topography within the AVA limits rises as high as 750ft (230m), very few Carneros vineyards are planted at anywhere near this altitude. Those on the Napa side are generally a little more elevated than those in Sonoma, particularly in the northern section where the land rises up into the Mount Veeder AVA. Lean, free-draining, infertile soils with shallow day are a feature of Cameros, slowing the growth of the vines and resulting in high-quality fruit with concentrated flavors.

Carnero is the Spanish word for ram, a male sheep. Although there is little documentation around this etymology, the Cameros Wine Alliance holds that the name refers back to the days when the area was home to 'sheepherders, dairy farms, fruit orchards and hayfields'.

References: farehamwinecellar and wine-searcher 

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