Fritz Underground Winery
2006 Ruxton Chardonnay
Chardonnay •Ruxton Vineyards
California: Russian River Valley
What we say
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 Fritz Winery.
SUMMER REFRESHER ALERT!
We declare this bright, delicious and fresh Estate Chardonnay to be the perfect summertime refreshment!
Clever Operatives will receive FREE Ground Shipping on 6 bottles or more – when they enter this coupon code at checkout: SPYSONOMA (discount will be shown before you complete your order)
Mission Codename: Life in the Underground
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Return to Operative favorite, Fritz Winery – this time to retrieve their fantastic 2006 Ruxton Chardonnay
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Fritz Winery
Wine Subject: 2006 Fritz Ruxton Chardonnay – Russian River Valley
Winemaker: Christina Pällmann
Backgrounder: When The Wine Spies first infiltrated Fritz Winery, we were blown away by the quality of their wines. The Fritz Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon that we showed here recently were among the most popular wines we have featured here. Today, Agent White gets a chance to visit Fritz – and he returns, victorious, with a limited quantity of their wonderfully refreshing Ruxton Chardonnay! Read his tasting notes and mission report below for the full scoop on this great wine.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Golden straw yellow – like a Champagne without bubbles, with perfect clarity, glittering edges, a fast and bouncy surface that, when swirled, leaves behind skinny legs that streak down the glass
Smell – Sweet an inviting, with instant tropical notes that are followed by more subtle apricot, butterscotch, acacia flowers, peach and pineapple
Feel – Round and light at first, then slightly creamy with a hint of acidity. The wine is fast across the tongue, then soft tannins grip the edges of the tongue and the roof of the mouth
Taste – Delicious and juicy, with tropical, peach and apricot flavors that echo the nose, but also present here are wonderful hints of soft coconut and banana, with the softest lemon curd
Finish – Begins sweet and light and fruity, then is followed by a mineral softness as flavors tail off slowly while a supple dryness gradually takes over
Conclusion – Our previously stated opinion that “There is a special something about Fritz wines”, is reinforced by today’s terrific offering. The perfect summertime sipper, this wine is one to be enjoyed as easily on its own as with more interesting and even challenging pairings. We enjoyed ours with a gourmet bevvy of fine cheeses, crackers and crispbreads. Delicious through and through. Of note: We stuck a sealed bottle in our cave overnight and tasted it again in the morning. The flavors, while more pronounced, became more balanced and exciting as well. We recommend decanting this wine for best enjoyment.
Longer-term Operatives know that we have placed Fritz Underground Winery under surveillance in the past. You also know that once we recruit a winery into the Wine Spies Nexus, well, that winery is happily in for life.
When our mole at the winery fed us some intel on their new 2006 Ruxton Chardonnay, I immediately flew (in our Spy Plane, of course) to the winery to secure samples.
My counterpart, Agent Red, was the first Wine Spies agent to review wines from Fritz, but since this was a special white wine, I got my chance. Thank goodness, too, for today’s wine turned out to be great.
Once I had my samples in hand, I conducted a detailed analysis. The wine not only passed with flying colors, it refreshed and left me feeling happy to have tasted a Chardonnay, a varietal that is sometimes difficult for me to enjoy.
Chardonnay, especially those from California, can tend to be overly bland and buttery, like a slice of Wonderbread slathered with soft butter. Usually, yuck!, but this wine is wonderfully fresh, flavorful and even refined.
This wine is rife with juicy flavors and aromas that seems perfectly natural. If you enjoy fresh, bright and very tasty white wines – even if Chardonnay is not your favorite – this wine is likely to please you. It pleased even me.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Fritz Winry Estate Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Awards & Accolades:
92 POINTS – Wine Enthusiast – A generous Chardonnay whose spicy taste leads to a crisp, dry finish. The wine is wonderfully ripe, showing pineapple, golden kiwi, Key lime pie and oaky vanilla flavors. — S.H. (2/1/2008)
About This Wine:
Golden straw in color with a distinctive minerality this wine speaks of terroir. Stone fruit, pear and spice on the palate balance the rich body of this Chardonnay.
About The Winery:
Pretend that you are far away in the Northern California wine country tucked away in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County. High upon a hill nestled into the side of a hill is our subterranean winery. Jay and Barbara Fritz purchased this pristine property in 1970. After spending get away weekends from San Francisco at this rich Sonoma property for many years, the Fritz family decided to build a winery in 1979.
Today our credo is to approach winemaking as an art form. Art, in its truest sense, inspires a shift in consciousness. Our mission is to create wines of genuine artistry, capable of transforming the way we think about the potential of Sonoma County’s premier appellations.
The new generation of Fritz wines began with a commitment to unequivocal quality. Since 1996, changes at Fritz Winery have been swift and dramatic: Volume has been slashed by two-thirds to only 12,000 cases per vintage. New winemaking equipment is both esoteric and state-of-the-art. An underground cave ages all red wines. The vast majority of wines are vinified on native yeast. All white wines are currently single-vineyard designates, with red wines now in barrel soon to follow suit.
The result? Cognoscenti now rank Fritz wines among California’s top tier producers. Our limited edition wines now command a following among serious collectors. One hundred per cent of Fritz wines are sold on allocation. And the best is yet to come.
Keep in mind that our vineyards are our greatest asset. Like the most celebrated wines of France, our limited edition single-vineyard wines showcase the singular expression of each superb viticultural site.
From the perfect microclimate of the Dry Creek Valley, we produce Sauvignon Blanc, Old Vine Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Since we have the best of both worlds, we also have property in the very cool growing region of the Russian River Valley where we produce world class single vineyard Chardonnays.
Appellation: Russian River Valley
Sub-Appellation: Russian River Valley
Special Designation: Ruxton Vineyards