Anderson Valley winegrowers are cool-climate specialists. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer are the most-planted varieties in this northern California appellation. If you are a fan of sparkling wine, Anderson Valley has you covered. However, in today’s Cellar Note our focus is FEL Anderson Valley Chardonnay, which we received as a tasting sample.
The Anderson Valley AVA is located about 100 miles north of San Francisco and stretches inland from Navarro to Boonville, a distance of about 20 miles. Proximity to the cool Pacific Ocean and varied topography offer a variety of growing conditions characterized by wide swings in diurnal temperatures, fog and sunshine. The Anderson Valley AVA is part of the larger Mendocino AVA.
2016 FEL Anderson Valley Chardonnay — light golden in the glass with aromas of stone fruit and hints of grapefruit. Flavors are citrusy along with white peach and subtle notes of toast and baking spices. A slate minerality weaves itself through the background of flavors. Juicy acidity and a medium body make for a delicious Chardonnay with a very long finish. 13.9% abv. SRP $32
This is one enjoyable Chardonnay. Aromas, flavors and texture are brilliantly layered to produce a complex wine with excellent fruit expression. It is easy to sip and loves food. Our pairing with creamy bow-tie pasta and ground pistachios was spot on.
Notable winemaking details include whole cluster press followed by fermentation in neutral French oak and only limited malolactic fermentation. Aging on the lees without stirring for 9 months followed.
The 2016 FEL Anderson Valley Chardonnay is a blend of Dijon and other clones sourced from two Anderson Valley vineyards, the Savoy Vineyard (an estate vineyard located near Philo) and the Ferrington Vineyard north of Boonville.
The story of FEL wines is as interesting as the wine itself. FEL is part of Lede Family Wines. In 2002 Canadian-born Cliff Lede (pronounced lady) purchased S. Anderson Winery in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley and changed the name to Cliff Lede Vineyards. Not long after, he purchased additional property and built the Poetry Inn, which opened in 2005.
In 2009 Lede purchased Breggo Cellars in Anderson Valley and subsequently the Savoy Vineyard near Philo in the valley. FEL Wines was established in 2014 and FEL is a tribute to Cliff Lede’s mother, Florence Elsie Lede, herself a home winemaker.
In addition to FEL Anderson Valley Chardonnay look for their vineyard-designate (Savoy Vineyard) Chardonnay, Pinot Gris sourced from Anderson Valley and quite a long list of Pinot Noir.