California: Sonoma Valley
Today’s 2009 Parmelee-Hill Chardonnay is extraordinary! And very highly recommended.
You could spend up to $130 for a Chardonnay made from the same grapes as today’s stunning wine. Kistler Vineyards’ vineyard designate Parmalee-Hill Chardonnay is wonderful, yes, but at a fraction of the Kistler price, today’s wine is an obvious value.
Unfortunately, Parmalee-Hill made just 185 cases of today’s stunning Chardonnay. The wine, made for lovers of a more hearty style of Chardonnay, is a true delight for all of the senses. On the nose, the wine presents a big California style that is all vibrant fruit and minerals.
On the palate, the wine is rich and bold with bright, vibrant fruit. Very food-friendly, we’d also serve this wine as an exceptional cocktail wine to enjoy without food.
Pair with a grilled brie sandwitch, salmon with a rich cream sauce. Chicken Picatta would also be a delicious companion to this very delicious wine.
Dense and thick-looking with liquid golden hues, concentrated from core to edge. As the wine catches the light it glints with golden yellow highlights. After a good swirl, thick legs move slowly down the glass.
Warm and lush with baked apple pie, caramel, vanilla, hazelnut, lemon curd, and grapefruit peel. Big oak, but still very fresh and inviting. Deep inside, a toasted cedar aroma emerges. As the wine warms, it also reveals a light honeysuckle aroma.
Tart and vibrant with bright favors of ripe apricot, citrus zest, and hazelnut. As the wine opens, flavors of lemon/orange citrus sherbert, under ripe yellow pear, toasty oak, red toffee apple, and butterscotch emerge.
Long and vibrant with sustained fruit. As the fruit begins to fade the palate is left with baked apple and clove.
What the Winery Says
Aroma Vanilla, custard, golden delicious apple, ripe melon and pear.
Flavor Ripe pear, apple, stone fruit, and brown spices.
Finish Rich texture, toasty, long citrus finish. Some tasters proclaim this is the finest Chardonnay they have ever had.
About the Winery
Experienced hands nurture experienced grapes. Steve Hill grew the world renowned Durell Vineyards grapes for over 35 years. Since 1994, Steve and his son Ned have also been growing grapes on their family owned Parmelee-Hill Vineyards. This hand crafted wine is a result of their total commitment to grape growing excellence.
Winemaker Don Van Staaveren
Parmelee-Hill Vineyards decided in 2001 to begin making a limited amount of high-end Syrah under our own label. To make the type of wine we wanted meant sourcing a winemaker of the highest caliber to make it. We found him in Don Van Staaveren of Chateau St. Jean fame and Don continues to help and advise in the making of every Parmelee-Hill wine.
Coming from a broad farming background in California’s Central Valley Don never imagined becoming a winemaker. After graduating from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, in 1969, Don briefly worked in the Napa Valley before moving to Sonoma to manage vineyards. Don’s fascination with Pinot Noir began with tasting a 1947 Chambertin at a post-harvest celebration in the early 70’s.
In 1976 Don took a crush temp job at Chateau St Jean. He worked his way up through the ranks in the cellar and in 1985 became winemaker.
The “tinkerer” in Don led him to seek gentler ways of handling grapes, ultimately not crushing the grapes. Instead fermenting and/or pressing whole berries. Shortly thereafter Chateau St Jean became the first winery to have five of its’ wines featured in the Wine Spectator Top 100 for 1996. Later his 1996 Chateau St Jean Cinq Cepages became the first Sonoma wine to receive the Wine Spectator “#1 Wine of the Year” award.
More recently, Don’s work with Chardonnay was recognized by Wine Spectator as one of California’s top “30 producers who set the standard for quality.”
Don now consults for a select group of small-producer wineries. He prefers a patient style of winemaking with minimal intervention that allows the grapes to display their natural varietal flavors and the characteristics of their vineyard origins. He shares our vision to produce small quantities of meticulously made wines.
The heart of the Parmelee-Hill property sits on a knoll that faces the Sonoma Valley to the East and San Pablo Bay to the South. The climate is typical of coastal influenced areas. Morning fog retreats during warming midday hours. The warmth is commonly broken however by intense afternoon ocean winds that quickly drop the temperature.
The fog sometimes retreats only as far as the Western hills until it blows back overhead fairly early in the afternoon. This type of climate tends to be self-restricting, resulting in naturally low-yielding vines producing fruit with intense flavor.
The unique Parmelee-Hill site allows the propagation of Syrah and Zinfandel on southwest and eastern facing slopes and Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Roussanne on the exposed rock and clay flats.
Grapes from Parmelee-Hill Vineyards are sold to such notable wineries as Armida, Orin Swift, Patz and Hall, Ram’s Gate, Glen Lyon, Loring and Steele. Many of these wineries make a vineyard designate from the ranch.