Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out. For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2011 Flowers Chardonnay Sonoma Coast.
Flowers Vineyard and Winery was founded by Walt and Joan Flowers who were nursery owners in Pennsylvania before heading West to pursue dream of making wine from their favorite grapes varieties, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
In 1989, they purchased 321 acres, including a ridge top, high above the Pacific Ocean (only 2 miles away) on the northern Sonoma Coast in Cazadero. In 1991 they established their first estate vineyard, the Camp Meeting Ridge Vineyard. In 1997, a gravity-flow winery was built on the property specifically for vinifying Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They purchased a second purchased a second 327 acre property in close proximity to the winery in 1998, and named it Flowers Ranch. That’s the location of their second estate vineyard, the Sea View Ridge Vineyard.
Producing distinctive Chardonnay & Pinot Noir from the Extreme Sonoma Coast
The winery produces Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and a red blend, called Perennial from its two estate properties, as well as select vineyards in the coolest regions of the Sonoma Coast AVA. Flowers wines are sold almost exclusively through a mailing list with decent retail distribution of the Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (both are available at BevMo). Annual case production is about 3,000.
In 2009 a substantial interest in Flowers was sold to Huneeus Vintners, and Walt and Joan Flowers retired from their project.
Fruit for this wine is sourced from some of the finest small and family owned vineyards within the extreme Sonoma Coast appellation including Flowers’ Camp Meeting Ridge Vineyard. The grapes are hand sorted, and whole cluster pressed. Fermentation is on native yeast in small stainless steel tanks (20%), and French Oak barrels (80%).
The barrel age used for fermentation varied – new (18%) 1-2 year old French oak barrels (67%), and neutral 3-year-old barrels (16%). The wine was allowed to go through the natural secondary malolactic fermentation. It was aged 14 months in French Oak (18% new) for 14 months.
My tasting notes follow:
Pale golden-yellow color with promising white flower, pear and a kiss of tropical aromas. On the palate it’s charming, well structured, judiciously oaked, and medium-bodied with a creamy mouth feel and medium-acidity. It shows ample pear, pineapple, mineral and a bit of brown spice flavors and wonderful length.
Rating: A- : This is an outstanding example of a Sonoma Coast Chardonnay! Will buy more!
Pair with: Lobster Fideos, Stuffed Whole Salmon, creamy pastas with chicken, pork or seafood.
(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
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