Frei Brothers Russian River Valley Reserve Chardonnay 2014

Pale yellow-gold color; apple, some oak on the nose; green apple, apple pie, lemon, citrus, nutty flavors on the palate.

Very smooth, lively, crisp, good acidity (3.43 pH), medium body, some complexity from sur lie aging, full malolactic fermentation delivers plush mouthfeel, judicious use of oak provides hint of butter and caramel. Nice expression of Sonoma County Russian River Valley chardonnay.

Frei Brothers traces its history to 1890 in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley when Swiss immigrant Andrew Frei established the property and winery, later turning it over to his sons, Walter and Louis. The brothers adopted the name “Frei Brothers” and successfully operated the winery for more than 70 years. After the repeal of Prohibition, the Frei Vineyard caught the eye of Julio Gallo, winemaker for the rapidly expanding E. & J. Gallo Winery. When Andrew Frei’s descendants retired in the late 1970s, the Gallo family purchased Frei Ranch and further developed the vineyard.

Winegrower Scott Johnsen emphasizes sustainable agriculture. “Being ‘green’ is not about a popularity contest; it is about doing the right thing for future generations,” he says. For every acre of vineyards they own, Frei sets aside a second acre for conservation. Frei calls it “quality with a conscience.” $16-20

Frei Brothers website

Second photo: Frei Brothers vineyard
Frei Brothers Russian River Valley Reserve Chardonnay 2014
Frei Brothers vineyard 2