Deep gold color; green apple, mango, melon, Meyer lemon, orange zest on the nose; tropical fruit, green apple, honeydew melon, pear, apricot, peach, vanilla, buttered toast on the palate.
Dry; voluptuously full bodied; nice oiliness texture that makes it sensationally smooth and mouth-coating on the swallow. Decently long finish; strident acid line throughout (3.65 pH, seems seems more acidic), plus a touch of salt and vanilla. The wine is dense, full-bodied, concentrated, likely because of the low-yielding 2015 vintage. Nicely managed oak.
Chalk Hill has particular focus on superior chardonnay. Led by Mark Lingenfelder, they spent more than 35 years conducting one of the largest clonal trials in California, mapping and replanting Chalk Hill’s complex terroir “to ensure the best site/clonal growing combination, ensuring that each vineyard block produces outstanding fruit.” Chalk Hill consistently achieves their vision, with vintage after vintage scoring in the 90s among the vino illuminati who deign to share number scores with the hoi polloi.
Chalk Hill began in 1972 when Fred Furth flew his plane over the Russian River Valley and viewed a natural amphitheater carved in the hills of eastern Sonoma. He recognized it as an ideal site for a world-class vineyard.
Bill Foley is the vintner today after purchasing the property in 2010. He also is the owner of the National Hockey League Vegas Golden Knights. He is an attorney, graduate of West Point, captain in the U.S. Air Force, and chairman or board member of major financial and insurance companies. Today, Foley and his wife Carol live in Northern California part-time and are active philanthropists for many causes, especially those in support of veterans and children’s education.
Courtney Foley, youngest daughter of Bill and Carol Foley, is the head of winemaking. Like her father, she is an attorney, but she also studied enology and viticulture at both Napa Valley College and Fresno State University. Chosing vineyards over courtrooms, Courtney worked under winemaker Leslie Renaud at Lincourt and Foley Estates in Santa Barbara County and Roth Estate in Healdsburg before taking her position with Chalk Hill.
Chalk Hill Estate is a destination. From the website: “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, equestrian pavilion, sports fields, fishing and swimming ponds, and guest houses. 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.”
Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay, Chalk Hill Appellation 2015 is a quality chard with the proper amount of oak and butter. Elegant with exciting beam of acidity start to finish. Pair with rotisserie chicken; pasta with cream sauce; risotto; seafood, lobster, crayfish, boiled shrimp, mahi mahi stuffed with crab; baked salmon; maybe even tuna. Can work with lighter meats, but this seems seafood star to me. $37-42