2014 Patz & Hall Chardonnay Alder Springs Vineyard

Year: 2014
Appellation: Mendocino County
Country: USA - California
Wine Advocate: 94
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.2%
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"The 2014 Chardonnay Alder Springs Vineyard emerges from a high-elevation, 2,600-foot-altitude vineyard in Mendocino. Patz & Hall were one of the first vignerons to exploit this sensational site, which is clearly one of the great vineyards of Mendocino. This wine sees slightly more new oak at 60% new French oak, and offers gorgeously pure citrus oil, poached pear, cinnamon, clove and hints of white peach and pineapple. There is a lot going on in the aromatics as well as the flavor profile of this full-bodied wine, which has dazzling fruit purity, texture and length. The acidity gives it focus and grip. Drink it over the next 5-6 years.

Both James Hall and Donald Patz are high on 2014 for both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Their largest cuvée of Chardonnay (13,500 cases) is the 2014 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast which, like most of their Chardonnays, goes through 100% malolactic fermentation, is aged sur lie and fermented with indigenous vineyard yeasts. Their usage of new French oak varies somewhat, but generally is 35%-45% on the Chardonnays and 50%-65% or more on the Pinot Noirs. No filtration takes place at bottling.

The Pinot Noirs tend to range from 40% to 60% new French oak and make use of indigenous yeast fermentations for the most part and, depending on the cuvée, small percentages of whole-clusters (stems).

The Dutton family is among the most highly respected grape growers in Northern California, so, this interesting vertical of Dutton Ranch/Russian River Chardonnays, starting with the 1999 and proceeding to the more recent vintages, was fascinating. I was thinking, based on the performance of the 1999 and 2002, that the wines could age incredibly well, but then there were the somewhat lackluster showings of the 2003, 2005 and 2006. Vintages do make a difference, because the 2007 performed strongly, as did all of the subsequent vintages, so the aging potential of these wines really is vintage-related. The winemaking was virtually identical throughout all of the wines, with about 45%-50% new French oak used, 100% sur lie aging, indigenous yeast fermentation and bottling without filtration.

I was generally surprised at just how well Patz & Hall Pinot Noirs age. Most of us tend to drink Pinot Noir in its first seven to ten years of life, and that goes for red Burgundy as well. These wines certainly can go well past that, as the following notes indicate." (WA)