Peters Family Winery

2006 'Sonoma Stage Vineyard' Chardonnay

Chardonnay •Sonoma Stage Vineyard

California: Sonoma County: Sonoma Coast

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We always hand pick the best wines we can find for you, and we dislike boring Chardonnay. Today we bring you another exceptional and complex Chard from a Wine Spies’ favorite, Peters Family Winery.

Mission Codename: The Great White Burgundy

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Return to Peters Family Winery. This time retrieve an exclusive allocation of Doug’s single vineyard Sonoma Stage Vineyard 2006 Chardonnay, an Operative favorite, in prior showings.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Peters Family Winery

Wine Subject: 2006 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. Our Operatives scooped up the 2007 (his most recent) vintage in record numbers. When we learned that Doug’s age-worthy 2006 was available, exclusively for our Operatives, we jumped at the chance to sample it.

Today’s 2006, from the famous Sonoma Stage vineyard, is proof positive that Chardonnay can age. And actually improve with age!

The prestigious Sonoma Stage 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 – Golden yellow with perfect color concentration, from the core out to the very edge of the glass. Chubby, closely spaced legs start high on the glass, and then move very slowly downward, giving a clue to the feel of the wine.

Smell – Rich and fragrant with complex aromas that come to life as the wine warms slightly. Right out of the cooler, the wine expresses rich lemon curd, lemon pastry, toasty vanilla, zest and white pear. As the wine warms, follow-on aromas emerge, showing earthy minerals, dried white flowers and the intriguing aroma of burnt paper match head.

Feel – Soft and round across the front-palate, the slightly grippy across the mid-palate. Integrated tannins and a soft acidity add texture and character. After a moment, a soft dryness that begins at the center of the palate and spreads outward to the lips and cheeks.

Taste – Bold dark lemon, sweetwood, zest, apricot and toasted oak take the lead. These are quickly followed by earthy dried white flower petals infused with a hint of flinty minerals and smoked pear.

Finish – Exceptionally long and flavorful, with complex flavors that start off strong and then, very gradually, tail off to a flint and smoky pear as an easy dryness spreads across the palate.

Conclusion – This wine drinks like a complex white Burgundy, which is just what we would expect from winemaker, Doug Peters, and his superb vineyard sourcing skills. Doug builds his Chardonnay with character and agability in mind. Today’s 2006 Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Stage Vineyard is no wimpy Chardonnay. Rather, the wine is deep and packed with flavor. The wine drinks darker than you might expect from a Chardonnay, but this is what we really love about it. This is a great summer sipping wine, but we would not hesitate to pair with with richer, more complex foods. Enjoy now, and be sure to hold a few bottles back for your Fall and Winter celebrations.

Mission Report:

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.

Bravo, Doug!

What the Winery Says

Awards & Accolades:

Silver Medal2010 Sommelier Wine Challenge

Silver Medal2009 Orange County Wine Competition

Bronze Medal2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Bronze Medal2008 North of the Gate Wine Competition

About This Wine:

This delicious, golden blonde Chardonnay reflects its hand-crafted Burgundian vinification, Dijon clone heritage, and its Sonoma Coast single vineyard terroir. On the nose the wine exhibits an opulent array of fragrant floral, mango, pineapple, tangerine, honey and crème brulee notes. On the palate, focused meyer lemon, mango, honeydew, peach, vanilla, fig, and sweet spice notes are all seamlessly intermingled. This chardonnay’s beautiful balance and rich flavors make it smooth and wonderfully drinkable now in its youth, as well as a wine which will be enjoyable to consume over the coming decade.

Winemakers Notes: As with the 2005 vintage, Sonoma Stage Vineyard’s cool climate, and cool temperatures in September and October slowed ripening of this Dijon clone. The grapes were carefully hand-picked at peak ripeness on October 19th. After meticulous sorting both in the vineyard, and later at the winery, the grapes were whole cluster pressed. After cold-settling, 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 14 months. After completing this extended barrel aging on the lees to enhance color, complexity, texture and flavor, the finest lots were meticulously selected and bottled 100% unfiltered in June 2008.

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!

Technical Analysis:

Vintage: 2006

Appellation: Sonoma Coast

Vineyards: Sonoma Stage Vineyard

Case Production: 392

Release Date: March 2009

Alcohol: 13.9%

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