Three Sticks Origin Durell Vineyard Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast 2021

Pale gold color; melon, peach, pear, grapefruit, lime, honeysuckle, minerality on the nose and palate.

Three Sticks Origin Durell Vineyard Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast 2021

Dry; no tannins, oak, or malolactic. Bright, fresh acidity (3.40 pH). The grapes come from some of the oldest blocks of the Durell Vineyard. Minerality and a trace of salinity reflect the rocky riverbed soils of Three Sticks’s first estate vineyard. Grapes fermented 25 days in concrete amphora eggs and stainless steel to provide a pure expression of chardonnay. Aged nine months. Impressive complexity, vibrancy, and length. 14% ABV

The 2021 vintage began with an extremely dry winter, forcing Three Sticks to irrigate early. The weather was cool around budbreak and flowering, creating significant fluctuation in grape development. That, in turn, led to highly variable yields and meticulous hand-harvesting, which began at the end of August and continued through September. The discriminating harvesting paid off with this effort.

Three Sticks Durell vineyard

Three Sticks owns, farms, and produces every grape and every drop of wine from its own estate vineyards. Durell was their first vineyard. The vineyard lies at the intersection of the Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Valley, and Carneros AVAs. The operation specializes in chardonnay and pinot noir. Ryan Prichard is the director of winemaking. Rob Harris is vice president in charge of vineyards. Prema Kerollis is the co-founder and general manager. Bill Price III is the proprietor, which reflects his ownership interests in Three Sticks Wines, Kistler Vineyards, Gary Farrell Winery, and Head High. The “three sticks” name comes from the nickname Price’s surfing buddies gave him when he was growing up in Hawaii—referring to the III at the end of his name.

Three Sticks proprietor Bill Price III

Three Sticks Heritage vineyards—Durell, Gap’s Crown, and Walala—are all properties of Price Family Vineyards and Estates. They all hold long-time certifications with California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and Fish Friendly Farming—independent, third-party certifications that rely on constant improvement and annual recertification. Rob Harris sums his approach: “I prefer that we work with the land and not against it.”

This wine is estate bottled which is not a common thing. Three Sticks does so in order to control the entire process. According to the U.S. Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau: “Estate bottled means that 100 percent of the wine came from grapes grown on land owned or controlled by the winery, and both the winery and the vineyard must be located within the boundaries of the labeled viticultural area.” The majority of U.S. wineries are not allowed to put “estate bottled” on their labels.

Three Sticks co-founder and general manager Prema Kerollis

Three Sticks Origin Durell Vineyard Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast 2021 is rich, complex, vibrant expression of chardonnay from high-quality vineyard. Mouthwatering, fresh. A stunning wine that eschews oak and malolactic to deliver a pure experience of highest quality chardonnay. This compares with chablis rather than oak-and-butter California chard. Pair with fish and seafood—flaky white fish, rainbow trout; sushi; shellfish—mussels, clams, scallops; shrimp scampi; lighter meats—pork, chicken; vegetarian fare. Cheese—unoaked chards are very flexible with cheese as long a you avoid salty, tangy, assertive cheeses. Go with milder, semi-soft cheese; sheep’s milk cheese; high-quality fresh goat cheese; feta, mozzarella, burrata, gruyère, camembert; brie if you want contrast fuller cheese body with this wine’s zippy acidity. $70-73

Three Sticks Wines website

Three Sticks director of winemaking Ryan Prichard
Three Sticks vice president in charge of vineyards Rob Harris
Three Sticks Rob Harris and Ryan Prichard in vineyard
Three Sticks vineyard