What We Say 2006 Coast View Vineyard Chardonnay
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from De Tierra.
Mission Codename: But I don’t drink white wine…
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Red, Wine Spies resident Red wine lover, on a mission to taste De Tierra’s stellar Chardonnay – and see if he can be swayed to the white side
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: De Tierra
Wine Subject: 2006 Coast View Vineyards Chardonnay
Winemaker: David Coventry
Some wine drinkers tend to stick to drinking only red or white wines exclusively. Sometimes they even stick to a particular varietal, shunning others. Experienced and open-minded wine drinkers know, however, that a great wine can transcend color or varietal boundaries and be incredible no matter what. Today we send Agent Red on a mission to meet with winemaker David Coventry, where Red is expecting to be sampling Dave’s world-renowned red wines. See what happens when Agent Red is held captive, his only means of escape to sample Dave’s perfect Monterey County Chardonnay. Read his mission report below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Pale straw and golden, with brilliant highlights, a bouncy surface and medium legs that march steadily down the glass
Smell – Wonderful, fruity and deeply aromatic, this wine delivers a dazzling but not at all overpowering array of star fruit, subtle pineapple, acacia, honeysuckle, white peach with minerals and just a tiny hint of vanilla and baking spices
Feel – Exceptionally round and velvet smooth, this wine is an absolute joy on the palate. It glides across the tongue where its soft tannins take gentle hold
Taste – Delicious layers of flavor, with prominent green apple, white peach, pear, subtle apricot and, yes, red apple. Also present vanilla, subtle spice, mildest butter and gentle minerals
Finish – long, lingering with flavors and soft tannins that fall off gradually, moving from tart to sweet and back again
Conclusion – Lover’s of white and reds alike, prepare to be blown away by this wine. Winemaker David Coventry nails it with this wine and I am officially a convert. We have all heard the cliché, “Its a white wine for red wine drinkers”. Well, sometimes clichés can ring true. This wine has made even me a believer, with its incredible depth, wonderful mouthfeel and layers of flavors. I have certainly tried whites that I really enjoyed, but never one that I liked as much as I like this wine. If you love white wines or not, I encourage you to try this wonderful Chardonnay!
Sometimes our meetings with winemakers are instigated by the winemakers themselves. When they seek out The Wine Spies, we make it our top priority to meet up with them as quickly as possible.
When Central Command gave me the directive to rendezvous with De Tierra’s winemaking front-man, David Coventry, I was quick to set a meeting.
I rang David’s cellphone and he answered, “This is what’s left of Dave”. Good, a winemaker with a sense of humor. Not uncommon in this business, I assure you, and I am happy that our meeting is likely to be a fun one.
All too soon, my assumption was shattered. It all started innocently enough with the good natured shaking of hands and casual banter, but things turned uncomfortable when Dave set me down at a table – and poured me a glass of
GASP White Wine!
I tried my best to keep my cool and, attempting to seem at ease, asked, “What’s this? I thought that we were going to be tasting your Pinot today.”
Dave just sat there, silently smiling at me, waiting. Waiting.
After several minutes of this, I felt a bead of sweat trickling down my forehead. Dave continued to smile, eventually looking down at the glass and then, meeting my gaze, nodding slowly.
“Look Dave,” I said. “I don’t want to seem rude, here, but I’m Agent Red. I specialize in Red wines. Whites are not my thing.”
More silence and grinning from Dave.
Finally, the pressure too great, I asked, “Okay, if I try the wine can we move on to your reds?”
He nodded in happy assent.
I reached down for the glass and note that Dave’s gaze does not leave my face for a second. Odd, I think, how happy he looks.
I lift the glass to my nose and take a tentative sniff – and suddenly feel awash in sensations I had not expected at all. This was a wine – a white wine – with real substance. I could tell before I even tasted it that, despite myself, I would enjoy.
Inhaling deeply, I take in the aromatics, reveling in how many smells I can identify. Then, slowly, I tip the glass and take my first sip, Dave beaming now. The wine is exceptionally round and smooth and its flavors dance in my mouth.
I spend the next 15 minutes with my glass, swirling, sipping, sniffing, analyzing and – enjoying. Miracle of miracles, I have found a white wine that I actually love.
Whether its cliché to say this or not, this is a white wine for those that don’t like white wine. Be warned, though, after tasting this particular white wine, you might just become a convert!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Chalone region, high atop Monterey County, vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
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The Coast View Vineyard is above the town of Chular on the Gavilin mountain range. The fruit for this wine is sourced from the highest vineyard in Monterey County and this mountainous and chalky site gives a stunning expression of the chardonnay grape. The flavors show the benefit of the wine’s mountainous origins.
the 2006 vintage brought us Chardonnay fruit of exceptional quality and detailed character. The long, cools season saw this Chardonnay vineyard being picked four times from October 10th to November 10th. the weather allowed of intense flavor development that was accentuated by a bein of monerality and a ripe acid profile.
Vinification and Aging
Our Coast View Vineyard Chardonnay is cold barrel fermented in 100% French oak barrels to retain the beautiful high toned qualities of Chardonnay while still producing classic barrel fermented character. The wine is aged nine months in 40% new oak barrels with lees stirring used to heighten the lush mouth-feel and compliment the unusual minerality from the site. Full malolactic fermentation allows for development of a rich and flavorful wine that has richness to compliment the hight natural acidity.
The bouquet of lush and ripe tropical fruits mingle with a cross section of hard spices and brioche to create an unusually complex nose. The red apple, stone fruit and spicy flavors balance subtle hints of vanilla and butter. These play against clean acidity and minerality to produce and intriguing tension the keeps the flavors moving over your palette and engaging your mind. A blush of botrytis added even more weight and complexity to this already unctuous wine. While drinking well now, this is an example of a structured white wine with fine tannins that would indicate mid-term cellaring would reward the patient.
Release Date: August 1, 2007
Production: 585 cases
David Coventry is a native of Monterey, California. He left briefly to explore the east coast during his high school years, but regained his sanity and returned home for the college years and beyond. David graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz with a degree in Biology and soon started work as a Protein Chemist.
After 4 years of making drugs for a living (therapeutic, of course), David turned his attentions to managing the San Francisco rock band Box Set. During these years, David gained great experience in logistics, people skills, and (most importantly) general good times. Naturally, these two previous careers gave David the perfect skill sets to become a winemaker.
David’s first job was as an Enologist at Chalone Vineyards in the beautiful Gavilan mountain range above Soledad. During his time there, David advanced to Assistant Winemaker and had much fun as well as success (be sure to ask him about the notorious times at the shareholder’s parties).
David’s first job as Winemaker was for Cloninger Vineyards in Gonzales. A fruitful year was spent there learning the responsibilities for all aspects of the winemaking process. The next step was to Morgan Winery in Salinas. The move to a larger winery provided exciting and valuable insights into the marketing and production of fine wine. David cemented his reputation as a fine winemaker when two of his wines on the 2005 top 10 wines of the year lists in Wine and Spirits magazine. He was also the only Monterey winemaker to make the 2005 top 100 wines list in Wine Spectator magazine.
After three years of rewarding time, David has become a partner in De Tierra Vineyards in Salinas, Ca where he is also the head Winemaker. De Tierra Vineyards focuses on small lot production of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Syrah from the finest vineyards around Monterey County. For David, this is an opportunity to make wines without compromise. David’s partner Tom Russell has as much passion for wine and committent to success as David: A formidable pairing! The winery specializes in good times, so when you are in the area, be sure to call for a tasting. Everyone will tell you that David is one of the best wine educators in the county.
Being a Monterey native, David has a keen and driving interest in bringing Monterey County onto the world stage as a great wine region. He has dedicated his career to proving that Monterey produces some of the finest wines in the world. Although large wineries can bring attention to an area, it is the small wineries that bring greatness.