2014 Stonestreet Chardonnay Upper Barn Vineyard

Year: 2014
Appellation: Alexander Valley
Country: USA - California
Wine Advocate: 96
Vinous Media: 90
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.4%
Price :

100% barrel fermented and 100% malolactic fermentation

"From a site made famous by Helen Turley when she was buying its fruit, the 2014 Chardonnay Upper Barn is at an 1,800-foot elevation and spent 11 months in 52% new French oak. A killer Chardonnay (as it always has been), the wine offers up notes of wet gravel, citrus oil, apple blossom, orange marmalade, honeysuckle, and a hint of almond paste. Fabulous fruit on the attack, mid-palate and finish characterizes this dry, gorgeous, compelling Chardonnay that should age effortlessly for a decade or more.

Over the last half-dozen or so years, the Jackson family have dramatically and consistently upgraded the quality of Stonestreet Estate Vineyards. All of these wines come from their huge Alexander Valley mountain estate, and the winemaker of recent vintages has been Lisa Valtenbergs. She and her predecessor began decreasing the amount of new oak on the wines, and it has been a perfect marriage with the great fruit they get from their diverse terroirs spread over this mountain vineyard, ranging from 800 to over 2,400 feet in elevation in the case of some of the Cabernet Sauvignons. There are seven separate cuvées of Chardonnay, all of them exceptional, as well as a very limited production (280 cases) 100% Sauvignon Blanc.

To reiterate, all seven Chardonnays emerge from various vineyards at different elevations, and all are fermented with indigenous yeasts. For the most part, every one of them is aged 11 months after being fermented with native yeast. The percentage of new oak varies, most of them in the 38 to 50% range, and they use only French oak. There are some great Chardonnays here, with production ranging from a high of 2,860 cases for the Estate Chardonnay, and the single vineyard wines ranging from a low of 259 cases for the Red Point to 939 cases for the Upper Barn. The red wines all range in quantity levels from a low of 205 cases for the Monolith Vineyard to 11,339 cases for the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Vineyard elevations range from a low of 400 feet to as high as 2,400 feet. The wines are all aged in French oak with varying percentages of new oak, indicated in the following tasting notes. Of course, all of these come from the massive Alexander Mountain estate vineyard, which is divided into 300 blocks, with nearly 800 acres planted. This is a small percentage, given the fact that the entire estate encompasses 6,000 acres! If my recollection is correct, the late Jess Jackson considered this estate one of the true jewels in his extensive vineyard holdings." (WA)

"The 2014 Chardonnay Upper Barn is one of the most aromatic, lifted wines in the range. White flowers, orchard fruit, mint, spice and cantaloupe form an attractive fabric of aromas, flavors and textures. The 2014 is a bit closed today, perhaps because it has the lowest pH of these Chardonnays. Still, there is plenty of intrigue." (VM)

Winery Notes:
The Upper Barn is our most transporting Chardonnay, and the 2014 vintage is no exception. Stargazer lily, baked pear, custard and a quiet spice note flood the nose, while the palate mirrors those qualities alongside a savory underpinning. The texture is filigreed, exhibiting the delicacy of fruit and a quartz-like transparency that only age and a superb site situated at 1,800 feet can bring to a wine.