I’m a white wine drinker regardless of the season. This time of year I begin adding red wines into the rotation, but my preference is always for white wines. So, needless to say, I was happy to receive a tasting sample of Chalk Hill Sonoma Coast Chardonnay to share with you.
Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards is a 1300-acre property that lies east of Healdsburg and includes a winery, hospitality center, culinary garden, stables, equestrian center and sports fields. There are of course vineyards, covering 300 acres, in addition to a residence, guest houses, fishing and swimming ponds. You might not be surprised to learn the estate is located along Chalk Hill Road in the Chalk Hill AVA. The name of the AVA comes from the volcanic ash soil, which looks chalky, that is found this small Sonoma County AVA.
The winery was established in the early 1970s by Fred Furth and established a reputation for quality Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc in addition to red wines. In 2010, William Foley purchased the estate and Chalk Hill is now part of the portfolio of wineries owed by Foley.
2017 Chalk Hill Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast — brilliant golden in the glass with generous aromas of stone fruit and toasty oak. Stone fruit flavors lead along with ripe pears and gravelly minerality. Toasty notes linger in the background along with a hint of vanilla. Juicy acidity keeps this wine light on its feet with a bit of weight in the mouth providing a nice counterpoint to the fruit and oak flavors. 14.5% abv. SRP $23.99
There is no denying the oak influence on the aromas of this bright Chardonnay. I admit it gave me pause before tasting it. I was hoping not to taste mainly oak. Happily, I was pleasantly surprised once I tasted this Chardonnay. There is plenty of fruit flavor and complexity to carry the oak influence along with nice weight in the mouth.
2011 was the first vintage Chalk Hill produced a Chardonnay not made exclusively from Foley Family estate vineyards. The 2017 Chalk Hill Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is comprised of Chardonnay sourced from the Russian River Valley, Carneros, Chalk Hill AVAs as well as the Foley Family estate vineyards.
Chalk Hill Chardonnay is barrel fermented in a combination of new and used French oak. 100% malolactic fermentation was followed by aging for 8 months on the lees, with regular bâttonage, in 30% new French, American and Hungarian oak.
This Chardonnay is pleasant to sip on its own, but I think pairing it with food will be its best use. My choice would be to pair it with Farfalle with Pistachio Cream Sauce. This is a dish I have made so many times I know the recipe by heart. The flavors of sautéed onion and cream along with ground pistachios will pair beautifully with this bright, complex Chardonnay.
Thanks to Calhoun & Company Communications for sending this wine our way.