"From a panoramic ridge top parcel west of the village of Occidental, the 2012 Chardonnay Seascape Vineyard reveals the lowest alcohol at 14%. It possesses great balance, a burgeoning complexity, good freshness and lots of honeyed tropical fruits intermixed with notions of wet gravel, spice and oak. With fabulous fruit, a full-bodied mouthfeel and a long finish, it should drink well for 6-7 years.
One of the most impressively run wineries in the Russian River AVA is the Hartford Family Winery, where proprietor Don Hartford is backed up by winemaker Jeff Stewart as well as all the resources of the Jackson Family Vineyards. These are Burgundian-styled Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, and their Zinfandels are All-American, full-throttle, pedal-to-the metal efforts that are consistently at the top of their class. The Chardonnay sites tend to be cool climate, to the point that in some harvests there is a risk of not being able to bring in ripe fruit. Production levels for these beautiful Chardonnays range from a low of 268 cases for the Four Hearts to over 700 cases for the Stone Cote. The Pinot Noirs experience the same upbringing, being aged around 16 months in French oak, with the percentage of new barrels ranging from the mid-40% to just over 50%. The wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered, and even in a challenging vintage such as 2011, the alcohols can range from the high 14% to 15.2%. Production varies from a low of 200 cases to a high of 2,500 cases for the Lands Edge Vineyard Pinot. Hartford has always made incredible Zinfandels. It’s a credit to the Jackson family, and Jess Jackson’s son-in-law, Don Hartford, that although a number of brilliant winemakers have worked at Hartford, the consistency of these wines has been sensational. Every one of them comes from vines planted by Italian immigrants in 1905 and 1906, and most of the vineyards have a portion planted with what the Californians call mixed blacks, such as Alicante, Petite Sirah, Carignan and other red grapes." (WA)
"Apricot, spice, tangerine, sweet spices inform Hartford's 2012 Chardonnay Seascape Vineyard. A rich, layered Chardonnay, the Seascape is deeply marked by the thick-skinned grapes that emerge from this inhospitably cool site. There is a real phenolic quality to the Seascape that adds breadth and pure weight, not to mention considerable personality." (VM)
The Seascape Vineyard Chardonnay shows keen acidity with Meyer lemon and exotic floral aromas backed by subtle sea salt nuances. These complex aromatics are complemented by Mandarin orange flavors, and a lingering finish of grilled pineapple, with underlying mineral flavors. This amazing wine is truly a unique expression of terroir along the western edge of Sonoma County.
2011: "Outstanding" 93-94 points, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
2009: "Outstanding" 93 points, Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
2008: "Outstanding" 93 points, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
2007: "Outstanding" 93+ points, Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
2007: "Outstanding" 94 points, Steve Heimoff, The Wine Enthusiast
2007: "Outstanding" 92 points, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
2006: "Outstanding" 91+ points, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
2005: "Outstanding" 92 points, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
2004: "Outstanding" 91+ points, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
2003: "Extraordinary" 96 points, Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
2002: "Extraordinary" 95+ points, Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
2001: "Outstanding" 92+ points, Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
2000: "Outstanding" 91 points, Steve Heimoff, The Wine Enthusiast
Seascape Vineyard is a six-acre site on a scenic ridge-top west of the town of Occidental in the Sonoma Coast AVA. The vineyard abuts an old redwood grove and faces cascading ridges to Bodega Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The well-known Coastlands Vineyard also borders the property. Because there is no ridge between the ocean and the vineyard, Seascape is in extremely cold spot – so cold that Chardonnay is often picked in November. The vineyard is cropped to about two tons per acre to ensure thorough ripening. Although a challenging spot to farm, the reward at Seascape is Chardonnay grapes brimming with personality and a very distinctive terroir.