2009 Stonestreet "Upper Barn" Alexander Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1086673 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 All the Chardonnays are 100% Chardonnay aged in anywhere from 50% to 100% new French oak for nearly 11 months prior to being bottled. The Alexander Mountain Estate is a superb high elevation vineyard source and the Upper Barn (made famous by Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer in the decade of the nineties) is a true grand cru site for Chardonnay. The other blocks, which vary from 900 feet to a whopping 1,800 feet elevation, producing stunning Chardonnays that have abundant characteristics in common. As the scores indicate, my favorite is the 2009 Chardonnay Upper Barn simply because there is always a little more to this offering. From an 1,800 foot elevation, it reveals lots of honeyed pear, tropical fruit, brioche, nectarine and marmalade notes along with terrific acidity as well as richness. Moreover, little oak can be detected despite the fact that it (as well as its siblings) sees 50% new oak.  (2/2011)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (14.6% alcohol, from an altitude of 1,800 feet): Very pale yellow. Captivating nose combines exotic apricot, white plum, crushed rock, brown spices and a lavender high note. Intense and tactile on entry, then tightly coiled and penetrating in the middle, a step up over the foregoing wines in its impression of acid spine. Very powerful, youthfully aggressive, palate-staining wine that will need time in bottle to open and expand. Less thick and sweet at the same stage than the 2008, but at the same time more glyceral than the 2009 Gravel Bench. A great example of a California chardonnay, by which I mean that I would not mistake it for Burgundy in a blind tasting. 94(+?)  (6/2011)

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Price: $49.99
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- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Alexander Valley/Russian River

- Among Sonoma County's northernmost appellations, the Alexander Valley AVA acts as a gateway to neighboring Napa to the east and Mendocino to the north. It is a sprawling appellation, with pockets of distinct microclimates and soils, and as such, is home to a variety of wine grapes and styles. Nearly everything grows in the Alexander Valley, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most widely planted grapes. The Russian River Valley lies to the south of Alexander Valley, and is marked by much cooler temperatures and frequently heavy fog. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown here are some of the state's finest and most sought-after. Aromatic whites like Gew├╝rztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.