2008 Los Carneros Chardonnay
Chardonnay •Catherine Bonneau
California: Carneros (Sonoma & Napa)
What We Say
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Mission Codename: The end of the Rainbow
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Bonneau Wines, in the Pinot and Chardonnay locus of Carneros. Secure their multi award-winning Chardonnay, a delicious single vineyard delight from their Carneros estate vineyard.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Bonneau Wines
Wine Subject: 2008 Los Carneros Chardonnay – Catherine’s Vineyard
Winemaker: John Bambury
Backgrounder: The Carneros region, established in 1983 was the first AVA to be designated by climate as opposed to political boundaries. Straddling both Napa and Sonoma counties, the Carneros region is heavily influenced by the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean and San Pablo Bay. Moderately cool temperatures and summer time fog coupled with dense clay soils that inhibit root development make this region ideal for Burgundian varietals such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Light stray yellow that, when viewed from the top, looks more like yellow gold. Color is maintained, right out to the edge of the glass. When swirled, the wine is a fast-mover in the glass. When it settles, clusters of chubby legs move swiftly down the glass.
Smell – Fresh and clean, the wine shows off fresh white peach, pineapple, vanilla, zest and vanilla. As the wine warms up a bit, soft spice, Crème brûlée and a hint of nuttiness.
Feel – smooth and very silky, this wine enters the palate with a round and voluptuous feel. Once it glides across the mid-palate, it takes on a medium-bodied feel. It is at the mid, that a bold and bright acidity reveals itself, along with a fine white minerality that adds a bit of dryness that spreads all around the palate.
Taste – Oak and Crème brûlée, with vanilla and a subtle hint of brandy, frame tropical fruit or pineapple, star fruit and zesty citrus. As the wine warms a bit, additional flavors emerge, including green (skinless) apple, acacia flower and white minerals.
Finish – Long, bright and very flavorful, with tropical notes that slowly give way to citrus, soft spice and chalky minerals.
Conclusion – Complex, rich and very flavorable this is no wimpy Chardonnay! With a super silky feel and deep flavors, this wine is a true delight on the palate. While rich and complex, the wine is also very approachable. Our tasting panel marveled at its balance; From its bright acidity, to the complexity of its flavors, this wine delivers a big experience that is tempered by its soft feel. If you love velvet-smooth Chardonnay with plenty of great flavor, then this wine will be a sure hit. For a real pairing treat, serve with cheese tortellini with Italian sausage, fennel and fresh spinach.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: John Bambury, Vintner
WINE EDUCATION: OTJ. Learn as I grow, invest & produce.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: I’ve been a Salesman, Entrepreneur & Grower all my business career. Winemaking is a relatively new departure.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Make it easy to enjoy right now & worth having for any special occasion.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: Seek & you’ll discover.
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: Our 2002 Catherine’s Vineyard Estate Grown Chardonnay was officially released January 2004.
AGENT RED: Greetings, John. We are thrilled to be showing your 2008 Catherine’s Vineyard Estate Grown Chardonnay today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
JOHN BAMBURY: It’s a pleasure to be here again. It’s been over a couple of years since we last met.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
JOHN: I’ve always been interested in cooking & making recipes better. I took that philosophy to my winemaking endeavors. I’m meticulous about growing grapes, optimizing harvest & sorting fruit for superior quality. The rest of the program involves doting over the soak, fermention & aging process to make sure the best qualities of the fruit is emphasized.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
JOHN: I’ve had tutelage from three wine masters Phillip Titus at Chappellet; Randle Johnson at Hess Collection & Rick Tracy Great Grand Wine Guru.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
JOHN: I make wine the way I like to drink it — as the best compliment to food.
RED: In your opinion, what makes Los Carneros so special?
JOHN: Established in 1985, the Los Carneros appellation continues to grow in prestige. The warm days, breezy afternoons & cool evenings, influence by the proximity to the bay, throughout the growing season, is ideal growing spectacular Pinot Noir & Chardonnay grapes in particular. Relatively shallow clay soils add just the right amount of stress to the vines to naturally limit crop production and intensify flavors.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
JOHN: They’re ready drink. So try them & enjoy them now. If you really like your selection put 6-10 bottles away & try them every six months to see how it’s developing. Our wines are made as reward for a great discovery.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
JOHN: Fine wine is loaded with nuances. Look for interesting characteristics in our wines. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Bonneau winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
This exquisite Chardonnay is bright translucent gold in color. It displays aromas of ripe pineapple, pear, white peach & vanilla on the nose. Tropical fruit flavors, hazelnut & vanilla custard fill the palate and are nicely framed by a heavy dose of high quality, new French Burgundian oak. The texture is elegant, silky and full. The finish has tangy citrus, crèpe suzzete mingled with baking spices that lingers on the palate. This well balanced wine has layers of complexity that demonstrates the care and attention to detail in its making.
Bonneau Chardonnay pairs well with Brie cheese and fruit as well as light pasta, spicy seafood, poultry & veal. This wine can be enjoyed now but it will also continue to gain depth and richness for at least 5 years.
All the grapes for our flagship Chardonnay wine were hand harvested from the Catherine Bonneau Vineyard and carefully transported to the winery. After gently pressing whole clusters, the juice was fermented in 100% French oak barrels.
About The Winery:
Bonneau Winery is operated by the third generation of Bonneaus with family history dating back to the early 1920s in the Sonoma side of the Los Carneros appellation. The Bonneau’s originally came to America from France, near the vineyard lands of Bordeaux, and began farming a 70 acre parcel of land just south of the town of Sonoma. After growing and providing Chardonnay grapes to several well known wineries in both Sonoma & Napa, the family launched its own label in 2002.
In 1921 August and Catherine Bonneau purchased 70 acres of land in Schellville, about 8 miles south of the town of Sonoma, California. This was a very remote area at the time, requiring a full day’s travel time from San Francisco. This area reminded the Bonneaus of the Bordeaux region of France near the area where they were born.
The Bonneaus farmed the land, had a dairy and ran a small country store/deli. Although the vineyard has long since replaced the dairy, the members of the family still operate businesses that the Bonneaus started.
In 1989 their daughter, Yvonne, fulfilled Catherine’s vision of having a vineyard. She planted 30 acres of Chardonnay grapes on premium rootstock. Yvonne, as matriarch of the family farm, began supplying some of the best known wineries in Sonoma and Napa. The vineyard consistently received high praise for the quality of the fruit. Yvonne looked forward to the day the family could produce their own wines.
In 2001, her son, John Bambury, began spearheading the wine making operations on behalf of Yvonne’s four children by introducing Bonneau Wines with the 2002 Los Carneros, Chardonnay. Since then Bonneau Wines has produced Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The family’s commitment to making fine wines has already been recognized by wine aficionados, critics and everyday wine lovers alike.
About the Winery:
Bonneau Winery is operated by the third generation of Bonneaus with family history dating back to the early 1920s in the Sonoma – Los Carneros appellation. The Bonneaus originally came to America from the vineyard lands of Bordeaux, France and began farming a 70 acre parcel of land just south of the town of Sonoma. After growing and providing Chardonnay grapes to several well known wineries in both Sonoma & Napa, the family launched its own label in 2002.
Bonneau sources its red varietal grapes from top vineyards in Sonoma, Napa, & Amador counties. Winery operations take place in Kenwood. Barrels are aged in caves sunk deep in the foothills located on the west side of the Sonoma Valley.
John Bambury is the Director of Winemaking and handles all the winemaking responsibilities.
Composition: 100% Chardonnay
Appellation: 100% Los Carneros
Vineyard: 100% Catherine Bonneau
Harvested: October 4, 2008
Aged: 10 months in 100% French oak
Production: 900 cases
Vintner: John Bambury