What We Say 2007 'Sonoma Stage Vineyard' Chardonnay
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OUTSTANDING CHARDONNAY ALERT!
We always hand-select the best wines we can find for you, and we hate boring Chardonnay. Today we bring you another exceptional and elegant Chard from a Wine Spies’ favorite, Peters Family Winery
Mission Codename: The World is his Stage
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Peters Family Winery. This time retrieve the newest vintage of Doug’s single vineyard Sonoma Stage Vineyard Chardonnay, an Operative favorite, in previous vintages.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Peters Family Winery
Wine Subject: 2007 Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Stage Vineyard
Winemaker: Douglas Peters
Backgrounder: The Wine Spies have always been huge fans of Peters Family wines. We have always enjoyed Doug’s Chardonnay, one of his signature varietals, and we were excited to have the opportunity to showcases his latest 2007, from the famous Sonoma Stage vineyard. This prestigious vineyard was planted in 1999 by the Hyde family, and located at the southern end of the Sonoma Coast Appellation. The vineyard sits between Petaluma and Carneros, a cool site with substantial marine influences that keeps yields low, and flavors intense. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Clear but concentrated color, showing light golden hues, from center to edge. When swirled, this wine shows a bouncy surface that settles quickly. After settling, the wine leaves behind tall and skinny legs that move swiftly down the glass.
Smell – Fragrant and fresh, with sweet lemon curd, fresh orange peel, soft white flower petals, Meyer lemon and a hint of pear. As the wine opens up, it reveals vanilla custard, a hint of spice and the subtle aroma of fresh cookie dough.
Feel – On opening, the wine has a wet and slightly thin feel. At it opens up, it becomes ultra-soft and voluptuous on entry and across the mid-palate. Bright acidity makes the mouth water slightly. As the wine settles at the back-palate, soft tannins gradually emerge, spreading a soft dryness from the edges, inward.
Taste – Shy with its flavors, on opening, this wine really opens up with a little decanting or some hearty swirling. Once coaxed a little, bright lemon, navel orange, lemon curd and fresh lemongrass mingle on the palate with white flowers, green apple, soft oak, mild spice and bread dough.
Finish – Medium-long, bright and very flavorful, with an initial roundness that goes softly lean and the palate dries and flavors tail off. At the very end, a flinty minerality lingers on.
Conclusion – This is a wonderful Chardonnay, with plenty of character. Different from the previous vintages that we have shown, this wine has its own unique profile. Where the 2005 that we showed, here, was a robust wine, this vintage shows more elegance and restraint. Plenty flavorful, this wine just seems more lighthearted. On opening, the wine is very shy, holding back flavors and aromatics that emerge with some decanting or a good swirling. Not only does the wine improve in these way, but it also becomes more full and round on the palate. Be sure to let the wine open up – and even warm up – before enjoying. You’ll be rewarded with a fuller, more tasty experience.
We’re going old-school, today, by presenting you with one of our old style Mission Reports, rather than our regular Winemaker Interview. What follows is our original mission report, in which Agent Red hunts harder than usual for a great wine:
One of my most valued Assets, Codename: Valley Girl, alerted me to Peters Family Winery recently. After an undercover visit to the winery tasting room, I needed no convincing that this wine was a wonderful treat that our Operatives needed to be brought up to speed on.
Not to boast, too much here, but you know that when I have my sights set on a wine, procuring it is not usually a problem. Our reputation often proceeds us and wineries make their wonderful wines immediately available to us.
The mission to procure this wine, however, was somewhat more difficult; Peters Family winemaker and head honcho, Douglas Peters was secreted away in an undisclosed location – but I was determined to track him down so that we could negotiate a small procurement for our Operatives.
A flurry of email and telephonic subterfuge ensued and I tracked Doug to his secret lair south of the border. Because his wines are that good, I spared no expense and called on our resident pilot, Agent White, to fuel up the Wine Spies Spy Plane. Reluctant to spend the money for a long flight like this one, Agent White did take a bit of persuasion but, in the end, complied with my request; He was easily convinced after one small taste of this wine.
While I didn’t have an exact location on Doug, I did have the name of the village. After a harrowing landing on a small dirt strip in high crosswinds (an Agent White favorite!), we were able to convince the local constabulary to help us locate Doug. It only too a few cases of wine to do the trick.
We found Doug on the beach, recognizing him from his photo on his website. A glass of wine in hand, Doug seems to be enjoying the sunset.
Wasting no time with subterfuge, I got right to the point.
“I’m sorry to bother you on your vacation, Mr. Peters. I’m Agent Red, Wine Spy, and I am here to ask you for a your wine.”
“Sorry, I don’t link to share glasses with strangers. You know, germs”
Then a smile spreads across his face and he claps me on the shoulder (a feat that, at a head and a half taller than me, requires that Doug stoop slightly to reach me). “I’m just having fun with you,” He says. “Come on, have a seat, I’ll pour you a glass of my wine.”
I explained that is was because of this same wine that I made this expedition.
“It’s gooooood, isn’t it?” he asks.
My turn to smile.
We enjoyed the rest of the bottle, chatting about his wines and his approach to winemaking. Doug creates wines that are certainly of California, but also in a more Bordeaux style, giving the wines a great balance between old world and new. This, in my opinion, is a great way to approach winemaking as it delivers the best qualities of these two winemaking styles – without being at odds with each other.
After some deft negotiations, I had secured a small allotment for you, Operative, and then Doug excused himself.
“Here’s another bottle for you,” he offered. I’m off to watch the lunar eclipse tonight. It’ll be 3 years until we see another one. See you back in the States!"
With that, he left me there to further ponder his wine. Doug’s love for his craft shines through in this wine, which exhibits balance, brilliance and a depth of character that I find uncommon.
What the Winery Says
Peters Family Winery
Awards & Accolades:
91 Points – Wine Enthusiast
About This Wine:
Our 2007 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay from Sonoma Stage Vineyard reflects the wonderful 2007 growing season, its single vineyard Sonoma Coast terroir, and handcrafted Burgundian vinification.
In 2007 we selected a different block within Sonoma Stage Vineyard as the source for our chardonnay. The new vineyard block’s greater clonal complexity produced a more lavish, opulent aroma and flavor profile than previous vintages from this vineyard.
During the growing season, light winter rains reduced cluster size, but produced highly concentrated fruit. Sunny and warm, but not overly hot weather throughout the growing season allowed the grapes to evenly ripen both sugars and flavors. After a cool finish to the wonderful 2007 growing season, the grapes were carefully hand-picked at peak ripeness on October 25th. After meticulous sorting both in the vineyard, and later at the winery, the grapes were whole cluster pressed.
Both indigenous and burgundy yeast strains were employed during barrel fermentation to enhance complexity of the individual lots. Malolactic fermentation was initiated, and completed in barrels. The wines were barrel aged sur lies, with frequent batonnage, for a period of 12-14 months. After the first rack off the lees, barrel aging continued for an additional 10-12 months to further enhance color, complexity, texture and balance.
The wine was bottled 100% unfined and unfiltered to deliver maximum flavor and complexity. On the nose the wine exhibits a flamboyant array of fragrant lemon, honey, orange peel, and crème brulee notes. On the palate, focused tangerine, mango, honeydew, peach, vanilla, fig, and cinnamon spice notes are all wonderfully balanced, and seamlessly intermingled.
About The Winery:
Peters Family Winery is dedicated to producing compelling, extraordinary wines which reflect their single vineyard terroir and meticulous vinification. Our partnerships with world-class vineyards, and our commitment to intensive hand-crafted production, have produced wines which showcase great flavors, exceptional complexity, and superb balance. All of our wine operations are conducted with great care at our winery, located in the town of Sebastopol, California, in the heart of Sonoma county. Our continuing goal is to spare no effort to produce truly great wines. Cheers!
Appellation: Sonoma Coast
Vineyards: Sonoma Stage Vineyard