Peters Family Winery
2004 Chardonnay, Carneros
Chardonnay •Sangiacomo Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Carneros
What We Say
HUGE CHARDONNAY ALERT!: We always hand pick the best wines we can find for you, and we hate boring Chardonnay. Today we bring you an excellent and big Chard from a Wine Spies favorite winery
SAVINGS ALERT!: Today’s superb wine is available, today only, at 25% off the regular retail price. Save even more by enjoying Free Ground Shipping when you buy six or more bottles. Just enter savings code SUPERSONOMA at checkout.
Mission Codename: All signs point to great
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Send Agent White to Peters Family Winery – to retrieve their single vineyard Carneros Chardonnay
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Peters Family Winery
Wine Subject: 2004 Chardonnay Carneros, Sangiacomo Vineyard
Winemaker: Douglas Peters
Backgrounder: The Wine Spies love Peters Family wines. With three reds under our belts, we felt that it was time to featured one of Doug’s white wines. This time around we send Agent White to visit with Doug Peters. The two discuss the details of Doug’s recent days in the vineyards, the effects of the 2008 frost on future vintages and, of course, today’s superb Chardonnay. Read White’s tasting notes and mission report below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Yellow-gold and glinting with brilliant golden highlights, perfect clarity with a tight surface and medium legs that march steadily down the glass at varying speeds.
Smell – Big and powerful with a wonderful fruity, floral and deeply aromatic nose of pineapple, star fruit, and acacia with dry shale (mineral) and oaky vanilla.
Feel – Right at the tip of the tongue, the wine is very round and velvety, then wine grips in at the mid-tongue with medium tannins. Around the edges of the tongue and extending to the cheeks and the roof of the mouth, the wine is slightly dry and grippy.
Taste – Delicious layers of flavor, with authentic green apple, lemon curd, honeydew, mineral and pineapple. This wine also delivers mild oak, citrus and tart lemon with sweet white flowers.
Finish – long, lingering with flavors and soft tannins that fall off gradually, moving from sweet to tart, as the left-behind coating is replaced by mouthwatering flavors of citrus, pineapple and soft oak.
Conclusion – When it comes to Chardonnay, I am notoriously difficult to please. I find most Chards to be overly buttered or over-oaked to the point of undrinkability. This wine certainly is smooth and very big, which makes it non-boring, but it is also refined and well-balanced. The Carneros region, which straddles Sonoma and Napa counties, is most famous for its Pinot Noir. The Chardonnay from this region take a close second, and have the reputation for being made from fruit that is superior even to Napa or more Northern Sonoma fruit. The ‘secret’ to Carneros fruit lay in the regions cool evening fog. This fog, which arrives from the neighboring San Francisco bay, cools the fruit after long, hot days. This evening cooling allows the grapes to maintain their natural acidity while preventing overripeness that plagues Chard fruit in neighboring regions. Better fruit also allows the winemaker to keep oak under control. In today’s great wine, the fruit really shines through and the oak is in check. The result is a really rich and delicious Chardonnay, in a more Burgundian style.
Douglas Peters is one of our favorite winemaker friends, always making his great wines available to you, our Operatives. 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.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
91 Points – Wine Enthusiast Magazine
Highly Recommended – Appellation America, November 2006
About This Wine:
This delicious, beautifully balanced chardonnay reflects both its Burgundian vinification and its Carneros single vineyard terroir. On the nose the wine exhibits fragrant floral and tropical fruit aromas. On the palate, the wine showcases creamy meyer lemon, honeydew, pineapple, and vanilla notes, followed by light mineral, caramel and butterscotch notes on the seamless finish. This sumptuous golden blonde chardonnay is drinking beautifully now in its youth, and will continue to mature throughout the course of the decade.
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, Califonia, in the heart of Sonoma county. Our continuing goal is to spare no effort to produce truly great wines. Cheers!