RustRidge Winery

2007 Estate Chardonnay

Chardonnay •Chiles Valley

California: Napa Valley: St. Helena

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Mission Codename: Rancho Catacula

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Send Agent Red back to RustRidge Ranch and Winery, from our field agents have spied a fantastic red blend. If the wine is as good as our Operatives say it is, procure an ample quantity.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: RustRidge Winery

Wine Subject: 2007 Estate Chardonnay – Napa Valley – Chiles Valley

Winemaker: Susan Meyer

Backgrounder:The Chiles Valley AVA is a very distinctive grape growing region the northeastern part of the Napa Valley with a history that dates back to the 1840s with a Mexican land grant called Rancho Catacula. It is a small, narrow and very steep growing region that sits between St. Helena to the west and Lake Berryessa to the east. The region’s generally warmer, more continental climate and well drained soils provide great growing conditions for Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon as well as exceptional Chardonnay.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deep golden yellow with orangish tints that pales along the edges. When swirled, this slightly viscous wine leaves pencil thin legs widely spaced around the side of the glass.

Smell – Bright aromas of citrus and tropical fruit blend with toasted oak and spice. A touch of biscuit and dried nuts and fruit along with mineral notes invites a sip. Soft notes of orange blossoms, honey and smoke also emerge as you explore this wine.

Feel – A balanced mouth-feel that blends a creamy expansive and fuller-bodied texture with crisp mineral and vibrant acidity that stays clean and crisp into the finish.

Taste – Tart citrus including grapefruit and lemon blend with more subtle tropical fruit and a touch of tart green tree fruit. Creamy yeast, toasted oak, soft butter and a hint of honey lies just underneath this wine’s crisp and fresh tart acidity and mouth drying minerality.

Finish – Long and clean, with its crisp tart fruit fading leaving notes of spice, flinty minerals and acidity to dry the palate and invite another sip.

Conclusion – The 2007 RustRidge Winery Estate Chardonnay is a classic Chardonnay that does an exceptional job balancing its weighty creamy and fuller-bodied texture with its lively acidity and mineral notes. Fresh citrus, tropical and tree fruit along with toasted oak and other complex flavors blend and mingle as you enjoy this fresh wine. We paired this wine for a perfect lunch with grilled fish tacos and homemade pico-de-gallo. Enjoy this wine right now!

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Susan Meyer

WINE EDUCATION: On the job while I took on RustRidge from Merry Edwards and Ken Rosemblum

CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Always here at RustRidge

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Handle the grapes as little as possible and let the fruit shine through the wine.

WINEMAKER QUOTE: “Wine with the spirit of a thoroughbred.”



AGENT RED: Greetings, Susan. We are thrilled to be showing your delicious 2007 Estate Chardonnay today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

SUSAN MEYER: Hello to you – Agent Red.

RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

SUSAN: Wine has always been a part of my life and RustRidge specifically since 1972

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

SUSAN: Kent Rosemblum

RED: Who do you make wine for?

SUSAN: The people – our fans

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

SUSAN: Our 2007 Estate Chardonnay is an incredibly versatile wine, drinking well as a cocktail wine on its own, or paired with food.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

SUSAN: on risotto with rock shrimp and grilled asparagus.

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Napa Valley sub-appellation of Chiles Valley so special?

SUSAN: This is a distinct microclimate that isolated from traffic and other pollutants. Our vines thrive here with the right amount of winter rain, summer sun, cool evenings and healthy soil.

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

SUSAN: I’m finishing up the barrel selection and blending for our 2008 Racehorse Red Cabernet Sauvignon-Zinfandel Blend and Racehorse White Chardonnay.

RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

SUSAN: With good company, good food and a warm heart.

RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

SUSAN: The real passion here at RustRidge begins in our vineyards: by committing to both dry and organic farming, we’re allowing the most honest and true characteristics to shine through in each of our wines from the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnays to varietal Cabernet Sauvignons and Zinfandels.

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 approximate location of the RustRidge Ranch and Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

About This Wine:

Our RustRidge 2007 Estate Chardonnay is 100% barrel fermented sur lie for 14 months. We use different yeasts in each barrel to add complexity to the final blend. Each barrel has been individually selected for inclusion in our Estate Chardonnay.

The RustRidge 2007 Estate Chardonnay features ripe tropical fruit flavors balanced with vibrant acidity and flinty minerality. Aromas and flavors of pineapple, pear and crème brûlée abound, followed by a long and complex finish.

About The Winery:

The secluded property, once a large thoroughbred horse ranch, was purchased by Susan Meyer’s family in 1972. Now it reflects Jim & Susan’s two passions: wine and horses. They continue to breed and race thoroughbreds and each spring; just about the time new buds form on the grape vines, new foals are born.

The grape vines were planted in the mid 70’s to Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The winery was founded by Stan and Grant Meyer in 1985. It is housed in a renovated cattle barn. Winemaker Susan Meyer and her husband, Jim Fresquez, took over the reins of the operation in 1990.

Helping Susan handcraft the estate-bottled wines produced by RustRidge is distinguished consultant winemaker Kent Rosenblum. Vines are organically grown and dry farmed. The grapes are used by Susan and Kent to create RustRidge’s spectrum of award-winning wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel.

The region’s special microclimate is integral to the character of RustRidge wines. The Chiles Valley lies approximately 1,000 feet above the Napa Valley floor.

The day time climate here is similar to that of the Oakville and Rutherford areas; however, the temperature is several degrees cooler at night. The cooler nights and the higher elevation delay bud-break which occurs two to three weeks later than the rest of Napa Valley. As a result, the grapes are harvested later than most other grapes from Napa Valley which, in part, lends distinctive flavor and quality to the wines. The reds are redolent of black cherry, raspberry and spice, while the white wines show distinct flavors and aromas of green apple, ripe pear, pineapple and citrus.

Technical Analysis:

Composition: 100% Dry Farmed Estate Chardonnay
Alcohol: 14.7% by volume
pH: 3.6

TA: .6 g/100 ml

Date Harvested: September 21-22, 2007

Brix at Harvest: 24 degrees

Date Bottled: April 9, 2009

Date Released: December 2009

Barrel Type: 25% New / 75% 2-year-old French Oak

Barrel Aging: 14 months

Production: 299 cases

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