Charles Creek Vineyards
2008 Las Patolitas Sonoma County Chardonnay
California: Sonoma County
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s wine is an exciting, delicious and beautifully balanced Chardonnay that we recommend with all our heart!
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Mission Codename: Rico Suave
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Revisit our old friends at Charles Creek Vineyard and acquire their brightly delicious Las Patolitas Chardonnay
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Charles Creek Vineyard
Wine Subject: 2008 Las Patolitas Chardonnay – Sonoma County
Winemaker: Kerry G. Damskey
We love Charles Creek wines. The first time we featured their excellent wines here, our Operatives snapped up our entire allocation before the one-day sale was over. Today, we return to Charles Creek to bring you our first white wine offering from this Wine Spies-prized winery.
The Sonoma County region is heavily influenced by a cooler ocean climate, increased rainfall and fog that lingers long on its coastal mountains. The specific climate here suits the demanding Burgundian varietals of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir very well.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Golden yellow with pale straw yellow hues at its edges. When swirled, the wine leaves behind short columns of chubby legs that take a long time to emerge, before running slowly down the glass.
Smell – Sweet and softly spiced, on the nose, with a balanced mix of sweet fruit, soft spice and softly toasted oak. With sweet lemon curd, green apple and white peach up front, soft spice follows close behind. Just beneath, soft oak, orange blossom and a hint of pineapple really round out the nose.
Feel – Soft and very smooth, with just a tiny hint of zesty zing at the tip of the tongue. After a few moments, the wine settles onto the palate and gains a little bit of weight and softly coats the mouth. After swallowing, the lips and cheeks dry very slightly.
Taste – Delicious and complex, with bright, sweet fruit balanced beautifully by soft oak. Leading with citrus, green apple, pineapple and a hint of tangerine peel, white flowers and flint soon follow. As the wine opens, subtle start fruit and a hint of green mango emerge.
Finish – Long and flavorful, leading with sweet fruit and then going softly spiced, with a hint of white pepper and toasty oak. As the wine dries the palate, a hint of flint persists, long after the fruit flavors subside.
Conclusion – The 2008 Las Patolitas Chardonnay is a delicious wine with excellent balance and beautiful fruit. This wine was literally built for balance, with a portion fermented in stainless steel, and a portion in oak. Blended, after the fact, the winemaker was able to achieve perfect balance. This wine is neither overly-oaked, nor is it lacking in complexity. Kerry Damskey gets it really right with this wine, delivering an utterly approachable and delightfully delicious wine. According to the winery, this wine is tasting better than it has since its release, and they tell us that it will only continue to progress. We’re buying some to enjoy during this final warm weather, but we’re also stocking up – to have some on our Holiday tables. This wine gets our heartiest recommendation, Operative. Enjoy!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The approximate location of the Charles Creek Vineyard tasting room can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
GOLD MEDAL & 94 Points – 2010 California State Fair Wine Competition
GOLD MEDAL – 2011 International Wine Competition Houston
About This Wine:
The latest edition of the popular Las Patolitas Chardonnay continues to emphasize fruit over oak. Bright aromas of pear, peach and Muscat are touched by a hint of spice. In the mouth delicious tree fruits, such as honeycrisp apple, citrus and pear emerge with a hint of the vanillin, toast and pie spice derived from good French Oak. The texture is smooth with a generous mouthfeel and crisp finish.
The Vintage: A problematic vintage for much of California, 2008 offered yields reduced by as much as 30% (in some areas) from the previous year. The frosts that hit the state between February and April coupled with abnormal summer heat spikes also resulted in a somewhat earlier harvest in many areas but as the weather cooled in the early fall full favor ripeness was realized and the harvest of 2008, though small in quantity, was considered a successful one.
The Appellation & Blend: 93% Sonoma Valley/Carneros -Sangiacomo Vineyard; (Green Acres & Kiser blocks), 7% Russian River Valley (Herrick Vineyard).
Serve with: As an aperitif or with flavorful poultry, pork or seafood, this Chardonnay is a pleasure to drink.
About The Winery:
Bill and Gerry Brinton founded Charles Creek Vineyard in 2002 with the goal of creating outstanding wines at an exceptional value. Specializing in high quality Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon from great vineyard sources in the Sonoma and Napa valleys, Charles Creek produces wines that are food friendly, fruit driven, and easily paired with the courses of a meal. Since its inception, Charles Creek has garnered numerous awards for its groundbreaking approach to crafting wines. A descendant of John Deere, Bill Brinton operates Charles Creek according to the principles of value, integrity, and quality.
Bill Brinton, Proprietor – Bill Brinton resides in Sonoma, but his roots are deep in the Midwest. Midwesterners are known for strong American values, respect for family and institutions, and the ability to create and recognize value in products.
Bill is a direct descendent of a true pioneer, John Deere. His direct family was at the helm of Deere until its recent transition to a public company. Deere created the self-scouring steel plow, an invention that revolutionized the agricultural world. It is this spirit of innovation and tradition that Bill brings to the company he founded, Charles Creek Vineyard. Charles Creek is named after his son Charley and his grandfather, Charles Deere Wiman.
Ten years prior to the start of Charles Creek Vineyard, Bill used this same dedication to create new and innovative beverages. In 1993, Bill, a graduate of the Columbia University MBA program, established a natural products and nutritional beverage firm, The Wiman Beverage Company. This company was sold to a larger firm in 2000.
Bill enjoys vineyard selection and development, as well as the critical evaluation and blending of the juice from grapes into wine. The wines are styled to pair wonderfully with a wide variety of fresh foods, and his vision is to create wines that could be sold for $30 to $75 per bottle, but that provide an exceptional value in the $20 to $25 price range. Value and integrity are the cornerstone of Midwestern values, and the basis upon which Charles Creek Vineyard was founded.
Gerry Brinton, Proprietor – Gerry has always had a very strong connection with the land.
Born and raised in Dubuque, Iowa, Gerry spent many mornings picking raspberries outside her kitchen door, and many afternoons helping her grandmother weed the vegetable garden, picking currants, gooseberries, apples and even grapes as they ripened into the fall.
Gerry was educated in North Carolina at Duke University and Boston and settled in San Francisco with her husband, Bill. However, the lure of a more rural lifestyle brought them to Sonoma County to set up as an alternative location in which to foster the same respect and love for the land, and the values it promotes, in their two young sons. Over the years, their garden in Sonoma provided more and more harvests for their table. As their boys grew up and moved away, Gerry & Bill found they could shift their primary focus to their Sonoma home. That same garden is the basis of many a delicious and healthful meal that is complemented by the wines of Charles Creek Vineyard.
Somewhere along the way it occurred to them to follow the lead of many others, and plant their property to vine. The success of early harvests spurred them on to expand that part of their dream to produce exceptional wine at a reasonable price. Gerry has worked in many capacities over the years, CPA, management consultant, property manager, principal in a fresh juice company, and volunteer director for a major medical center. Her goal has always been to work on projects that she believes in: ones that she can ethically and whole-heartedly support. The latest of these, Charles Creek Vineyard, meets these criteria. The best fruit from the best land, well cared for and handled properly, can yield wonderful wines, and that is the goal of this part of the adventure.
Kerry Damskey, Consulting Winemaker – With 25 years of winemaking experience on four continents, Kerry Damskey brings both expertise and perspective to Charles Creek Vineyard. Damskey has spent his career gaining a better understanding of the entire ecology of wine, including the impact of climate, soil, sun exposure, and temperature on the grape growing and winemaking process. This concept, which the French call terroir, is the name of his consulting company.
Damskey holds a B.S. in fermentation sciences from the University of California, Davis, is a graduate of the intensive program for small business at the Stanford University School of Business, and is a candidate of the Institute of the Masters of Wine. Damskey is a two-time winner of the Sonoma County Wine Sweepstakes award, the highest award at one of the most competitive events, and has received numerous other gold awards for his wines.
The Blend: 100% Chardonnay, 100% Barrel fermented, French Oak, 20% new; 50% Malolactic fermentation
Winemaker: Kerry G. Damskey
Total Acidity: 0.59 mg/100mls
Residual Sugar: 0.20%